1,200 voters sign anti-dry ordinance petition

By Karina Brisack
Tribune Staff

Tomball restaurant Cisco Salsa Company (CSC) recently completed gathering well over the 1,000 necessary signatures on a petition to repeal the city’s longstanding dry ordinance. The petition’s success will allow a ballot measure on the subject to be put up for consideration during the upcoming November election.

The dry ordinance in question currently bans the sale of hard liquors (anything with an alcohol content over 14%) within the eight block area popularly known as “Old Town” Tomball. That means that businesses like the CSC are unable to sell beverages including popular liquors like vodka, tequila and whiskey in their establishments without the benefit of special, hard to maintain licenses. Meanwhile, Tomball businesses in more recently developed parts of the city operate under much less stringent standards.

When the dry ordinance was initially introduced, explains CSC owner Laura Wilson, it was meant to curtail the violence associated with heavy drinking in saloons. However, times have changed. While strict regulations might have made sense while trying to tame some of the wild-west sensibilities of early twentieth century Texas, those regulations are now getting in the way of best business practices.

The Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce has shown strong support for the CSC’s efforts to repeal this ordinance, claiming that getting rid of it would “level the playing field” for all Tomball businesses.

To that end, CSC began petitioning several weeks ago to have the public reconsider this ordinance in the next election, which is coming up in November. Volunteers began going door to door early this month hoping to get the 1,000 signatures necessary to create the ballot measure. As of July 18 that goal was reached, the final count on the petition having come to over 1,200 signatures.

However, the effort to repeal the 1944 ordinance is not over yet. While widespread support for the change is clearly evident from the number of registered voters who have endorsed the ballot measure, it is not yet certain that the ballot measure will receive majority support come November.

However, those who support repeal have much reason for optimism. The fact that a small grassroots campaign was able to amass the necessary support in such a short period (door to door petitioning only lasted about two weeks) is nothing short of impressive.

For further information about the ordinance, contact CSC at 281-351-7572.