Once again, I am most pleased with the intelligence of my readers. Remember, two people can review the same facts, and reach different conclusions. Your thoughts should be unique with you. That's the American way.
Good grief this got long so you may want to take it in small doses.
I've been trying to find something on the May 9, 2015 Bond issue that wasn't the typical "sales and marketing" we get inundated with. So I was happy to find your take on things since it at least approaches reason over hype. And your having served on the council gives you some unique insight and influence most of us would pale at. So here's a bit on my concern and it's a stunner.
One person on your comments was replaying the usual pro alcohol sales pitch with all the "laws and oversight" that protect us. I know for a fact that is blatantly not so, and right here in Rowlett and with the Texas TABC. Care to comb though details?
Last May 6, 2014 the city council approved a variance so a future convenience store could sell beer and wine across from Keeley Elementary, our highest rated school. It came out in the meeting that the city had not contacted the school. Instead they took the word of the Waterview Plaza Developer that he and the store owner had contacted the principal and "she was fine with it". Turns out they didn't contact her and she wasn't fine with it. There is a school and two churches in that close proximity and yet the city only got written approval from one church pastor. Despite that they unanimously approved the variance for the store's alcohol permit.
And in that meeting the city presented what were supposed to be pertinent laws regarding granting an alcohol license. However what was left out was that any public school within 1,000 feet had to be notified in writing. And that law is in the same subsection as what the city did present.
Also in that meeting the city staff presented evidence the store's corporation owned two other stores selling beer and wine. Turns out that corporation didn't and doesn't own those stores. City staff said they had contacted the TABC and there were no problems with those stores TABC license. True except one of those doesn't even have a TABC license. And there is no way for the city to check without not finding one. On the other store it clearly states the owner and it isn't the one the city said it was.
Not only that but the slides presented by the city staff were in this odd blue fuzzy representation for both the stores and measurements of distance. Why the fuzzies with today's tech. When I pulled up the stores on Google Maps Street View, what they were wasn't quite so appealing. One had bars on the windows and doors and a huge "Beer Wine" sign. The other had those "Checks Cashed" etc., all over it. And both were what I doubt anyone would want in Rowlett if they'd seen a clear picture.
As to the measurements, when a council member asked about exact distance he was given a very nonspecific answer by city staff. The city has exact measurements down to the 100th of an inch on properties and buildings. Yet city staff gave a weird answer that didn't even make sense. And when I went out with a range finder to check distances, my numbers were very different from what the mayor pro tem believed them to be..
After becoming suspicious about so many things and finding so many discrepancies, I got a copy of the store's TABC "Pre-Application" for a license though an FOI inquiry with the city. This is a copy of a sworn document signed by the store owner. It is signed and stamped by the city secretary, the city comptroller enforcement officer, and a notary public. And a warning on the document explicitly says a false statement or representation is punishable by not less than 2 years imprisonment. Pretty stiff so who would dare do that? Well the store owner apparently did. The copy I got had checked in two places that it was not near a school. It's dated June, 2014, one month after the owner had gone before the city to get a variance for being within 300 feet. On one place on the form it was first marked yes for "within 300 feet" but then X'd out and the no box checked. And the x'd out yes is initialed by the city secretary. And they city secretary was presenting measurements in the variance meeting.
So based on the TABC Pre-Qualification Packet, the TABC issued the store a permit to sell beer/wine. All they had to do was look on a map and they would have clearly seen the store was across the street from a school. So much for laws with stiff penalties protecting us.
So now to March 2015 when I and another citizen started looking into this. The mayor was notified around the 18th that the school principal had not been contacted. Instead of making sure by talking to the principal he maintained the school had been notified. About that same time I began giving information to a council member who said they would investigate. And they gave me almost the exact spiel of your commenter about protections. But one month after first being informed and later being told explicitly the principal did not give consent, neither he nor the mayor had ever contacted the school to see if there was a problem. Why? Unles