Thursday, March 25, 2010

Who's behind the move to turn Oak Cliff wet?

If you think the push to turn Oak Cliff wet is a groundswell of public opinion, think again. True, many Oak Cliff restaurants support the move, but you might be surprised to learn that the group behind the push appears to be a front for Kroger Food Stores, and there are two petitions to sign, with two very different objectives.

Progress Dallas, the group behind the petition drive, lists their address as 5665 Mockingbird Lane, which is the address for a Kroger store. Their treasurer is Gary Huddleston, an executive for Kroger. Of the two petitions, one would allow for alcohol sales in restaurants, and the other would allow selling alcohol in stores. Progress Dallas' website has not released the text of the language used on the petition, but I'm working on getting it. The exact language is important, because while many support the sale of alcohol in restaurants, they don't support a move that could result in a rash of bars and liquor stores opening. Kroger would love the chance to sell alcohol in stores, but many worry it would only contribute to decline in areas of Oak Cliff.

I wonder why petition drives are being pushed so heavily in north Dallas areas, and not in Oak Cliff, who will be directly affected. Anyone who thinks going wet helps a community (besides tax receipts), I have two words: Cockrell Hill. It's turned into Pottersville when it used to be Bedford Falls. Residents say crime and conditions in the area have declined since alcohol came in. More on this as I work on it.