It's been a long while since I addressed this issue last and it's high time to revisit it. Yesterday, there was a meeting held at the Hong Kong Buffet on S. Jackson (Hwy 69) to discuss the upcoming alcohol referendum. Progress Jacksonville (the pro-alcohol group) was invited to speak as well as Family First Jacksonville (the pro-family group). It was intended to be a forum where the public could hear both sides of the story and perhaps make an informed decision. I hope it was a beneficial dialog. George Douglass, co-chairman of Progress Jacksonville, presented his case as did Matt Montgomery for Family First. (FULL DISCLOSURE - I'm a board member for Family First Jville). I've collected some of the articles and news stories about it. They are listed at the end.
Just for the record, let me say this is NOT a strictly moral or religious issue for me. If someone wants to have a beer with their mexican food or a glass of wine with their supper, that's between them and the Lord. I have no gripe there. The Bible speaks often of wine and beer and the only command it offers is not get drunk. No, this is not a strictly religious or moral issue for me. My opposition stems from my past.
I lived in Corsicana in 2004 when this same election was held there. We were assured there would be no cost - only benefit. Now, six years later and far wiser, we know better. While Corsicana is still a great place to live, alcohol sales have decidedly not helped. Yes, it's true that Corsicana's sales revenues increased 41% over the years since that election. But did you know, however, that Jacksonville's increased 39% over that same time period? Or Carthage (no alcohol) 44%? Or Mt. Pleasant (who just voted alcohol down) a whopping 66%?!!?!? (here's the link to check all these numbers and more! https://ourcpa.cpa.state.tx.us/allocation/HistSales.jsp ). Alcohol sales are NOT free money. It's not a model on which you can build the future of a city. If it were, why would ANY city turn it down? While it's true that in the last 7 years 245 cities in Texas have voted this in, there are many, such as Carthage, Mt. Pleasant and Lancaster, who turn it down, not because of the possible revenue, but because of the cost. For that reason (among others!), I implore you to vote NO on May 8th.
In closing, please help us keep this discussion in a kind and generous, Christlike format. The last think we need is to make enemies out of people who live here with us but disagree with us. I had the chance to meet with George Douglass and Mike McEwen before and after the meeting yesteday and would even go so far as to call them friends. Remember that Jesus said people would know we belong to Him because of our love for one another. He called us to love each other, even if we disagree. Pray with me to that end.