Lubbock Chamber files counter protest over alcohol sales - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock


Lubbock Chamber files counter protest over alcohol sales

By Katie Bauer  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Last week we told you the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission decided to accept protests presented by two Lubbock citizens.  The TABC will hold a hearing to determine if the Lubbock County election is valid for each individual city.

Rick Claybrook is the owner of Rick's Place in Wolfforth.  He also owns another packaged alcohol store on 82nd and Iola, but it looks quite different.  It's empty, because he is not able to sell alcohol, despite Lubbock County going wet back in May. "Theatrically we will be paying rent on an empty building that's generating zero income," said Claybrook. 

Claybrook says he is frustrated with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, voicing his main concerns to their legal office in Austin. "They have yet to call me back," said Claybrook.   

Chamber President Eddie McBride says he feels the same way. "Section 11.37 of the Alcoholic Beverage code states specifically that TABC is not the one to decide whether or not a municipality is wet or dry, so we don't think TABC should be slowing up this process at all especially when 65% of the county voted in favor of this and 70% of the folks in the city of Lubbock," said McBride.

He sent a letter last week to the TABC voicing these concerns. "What's really aggravating is that there have already been two applications that have been issued into licenses both in Wolfforth, one in Abernathy, and one in Idalou, so now TABC has stopped the process that they started," said McBride.

"To go through all those steps and spend all that money and then all of sudden you have people stepping in saying oh wait a minute, we don't like the election and how it was held, that's nonsense it's over, it's time to go on," said Claybrook. 

The TABC tells NewsChannel 11 in an email that if the city certifies a location as wet or dry and someone disagrees, then it will go to a hearing, like what is happening currently.

Below is the text of the Chamber's letter to TABC:

August 12, 2009
Mr. Alan Steen
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
PO Box 13127
Austin, Texas 78711
Dear Mr. Steen:
Yesterday the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce obtained copies of eight protests for Lubbock County alcohol permits, both specific and non-specific, filed with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.  On behalf of many of our member retailers, including package stores and grocery stores, we write to express our deep concern that the TABC decision-making process appears to be delayed based in part from the fact that the protests are dated July 22-July 31 and show to be received by TABC as early as July 31.  We certainly hope this delay in the processing of questionable protests will not delay the processing of permits and licenses which are already behind due to an unrelated legal matter earlier this Summer.
Our concerns also stem from a local media report recently that quoted TABC as this week being at Decision Stage Zero in a two-step decision process.  We urge TABC to not delay the decisions on these protests any longer, particularly since we believe TABC will generally find the merits of the protests highly questionable due to SOS Secs 251.51(d), 251.72, & 251.73, as well as the fact the format of at least three of the non-specific protests and one protest against an existing license are not in compliance with the proper TABC protest procedure for new or renewing licenses. 
Further, several Lubbock County licenses and permits have already been issued by TABC based upon what is in effect being protested: the outcome of the Local Option Election on May 9, 2009, the certification of the results, and the subsequent County Attorneys designation of Lubbock Countys status.
We would be happy to visit with your further about our concerns, and I may be reached any time at (806)761.7000.  Thank you in advance for your consideration and your service to the citizens of Texas.
Eddie McBride
President and CEO

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What does 1972 mean to alcohol sales in Lubbock?
NewsChannel 11 asked the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission if the protests apply to the current city limits or the 1972 city limits.
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