4/22/8 - Statement to House Committee on Licensing &
I am Sharon Boyd, 3146 Newcastle, Dallas TX 75220. I am Chair of Bradford
Estates Crime Watch & HOA and Vice President of
Bachman/NW Highway Assn. I serve as the District
6 representative on the City of Dallas Board of Adjustment. I am speaking on
behalf of Bradford and Bachman, and as a concerned citizen, but not as
representative of the city or BDA.
A few years ago, when Kay Copeland still worked for
Rep. Jim Jackson, she called me about a liquor license application coming up for
a business on Forest Lane in a dry area of Northwest Dallas. It was a pool hall
masquerading as a restaurant.
Municipalities must send out notices to property owners within 500 ft of a
zoning case before those cases can be heard by either Plan Commissions or Bd of
Adj panels. Telling citizens we can monitor the TABC
by checking its website is not an acceptable situation. Most of my neighbors do
not have access to the internet.
I called the TABC to find out where I should start to file my
protest/opposition. It was as bad as dealing with the IRS, but finally I got
through to someone who would talk with me.
I asked if she would fax or furnish whatever form of petition was needed. She
said the TABC didn?t have a form, but whatever I submitted would need the
application number of the liquor license. It was good to hear
TABC Director Stein say that 5 years later the TABC
recognizes they have a problem.
Even though the TABC had no form for any letter or petition to protest to a
liquor application, she said there was a time limit for getting it to the TABC
once the application was filed.
I asked how I could learn the date of the filing and the final date for any
opposition response. She couldn?t/wouldn?t tell me.
I asked where I could get that application # and was told the TABC doesn?t
furnish those numbers.
I mentioned the application was for a business in a strip shopping center in a
dry area of Dallas. She said that didn?t matter.
I told her there was a church in the shopping center where the applicant wanted
a liquor license. She asked if I had measured how far it was between the church
and the business. I said I had not, that I thought it was the TABC?s
responsibility to determine if the applicant met local and state restrictions
for a liquor license. She said the TABC doesn?t do that.
Then she said WHEN the applicant gets its liquor license (NOT IF, BUT WHEN),
that I and the community would need to monitor them to be sure they are
following the rules of their license. I asked if that wasn?t the TABC?s
responsibility. She said the TABC doesn?t do that. I told her it would be
impossible for a private citizen to monitor the applicant?s business
operations. She agreed.
After that horrible exchange, I called Rep. Jim Jackson?s office and reported
what I had just learned from the TABC. Rep. Jackson called me back. He pretty
much admitted the TABC works in a vacuum with little or no accountability to
anyone, elected or not.
Northwest Dallas is saturated with strip clubs and pool halls in the WET areas.
We do not need or want more of them in DRY areas. Unfortunately, what the
citizens and decent businesses want matters little or nothing when the TABC is
eager to grant as many liquor licenses as they can.
We recently had a child dancing naked in a strip club, but the TABC did not pull
that club?s liquor license.
We recently had two girls shot outside a nightclub, but the TABC did not pull
that club?s liquor license.
Club DMX remains open after numerous shootings, including the death of a DPD
officer. The TABC did not pull that club?s liquor license.
For all the good the TABC does to law abiding taxpayers and businesses or
assistance to the DPD, there is no reason for it to exist.
Local governments cannot protect their citizens from rogue bars that hold TABC
liquor licenses because the state insists on jurisdiction in all things liquor.
Yet, the TABC does nothing to regulate problem bars.
I don?t think the TABC can be fixed. They seem to think their primary
responsibility is to the liquor industry. It is such an ingrained attitude that
any new rules the Legislature might impose on them would be ignored.
Instead, we could replace it with a new department and commission, whose
membership would include at least 50% who had no connection to alcohol sales.
But ? that is not the best solution.
It should be hard to get a liquor license. Instead it is hard for local
communities and neighborhoods to keep out OR control problem businesses like
pool halls and joints operating under the guise of a restaurant, when little or
no food is prepared or sold on premises.
Some of these places have a microwave for a kitchen, yet they are classified as
Instead of revamping the TABC, I urge you to begin preparing legislation that
removes the liquor licensing process from Austin and the TABC and puts it in the
control of local municipal and/or county government who are closer and more
responsive to the communities they serve.
It would give community leaders and citizens a true opportunity to protest
liquor or beer license for problem operators. My neighborhood is a middle
income community, and most of the residents could not afford to take a day from
their jobs or the travel expense to go to Austin to attend a protest hearing.
Besides, when they do attend a hearing, the cronyism between the TABC
commissioners and the liquor people is quite intimidating.
The TABC needs to be dismantled. Bring the liquor licensing back to the