Cons of a Wet County - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

10/24/06 - Angelina County

Cons of a Wet County

by Ramonica R. Jones

The Angelina County Citizens for a Better Community said its fight against alcohol sales is not about morals, but common sense. Members Lee Miller and Jack Williams believe not only will underage drinking increase if Angelina County goes wet, but also, the more alcohol there is in a community, the more there is in the home.

"The less accessible that it is, I think the less people are going to drink," Williams said. "It's certainly not going to help by flooding our county with more alcohol when we already have a problem anyway."

Williams knows about that problem firsthand.

"When I was a 12-year-old boy, my seven-year-old brother was struck and killed by a drunk driver, and that had a profound effect on my life," said Williams. "I am 54 years old today, and I still miss my little seven-year-old brother."

The ACCBC has a long list of many disadvantages members believe retail alcohol sales would bring; a higher rate of school dropouts, more cases of public intoxication, and decreased property values, to name a few.

"Increased DUIs, increased danger to our residents, to our children, our pedestrians, our cyclists, increased burglaries, more vandalism -- especially by underage drinkers," Miller said. "Additional speeding, reckless driving, decreased property values as our communities become less safe."

Miller believes the issue made it onto the November ballot because the 2003 legislature lowered the requirements for ballot initiatives to be petitioned, not because East Texans want alcohol in their communities.

"If someone would just go out and Google alcohol outlets, they'll see the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of research pieces that have been done on the increase of alcohol in a community, what it does to the community," Miller said. "We have yet to find anything good economically or otherwise about increasing alcohol outlets in a community."

Angelina County residents have two weeks to do their own research. One proposition is to allow beer and wine sales at stores. A second proposition deals with allowing mixed drinks to be sold at restaurants without requiring a membership.

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