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Alcohol petition with 9,000 signatures delivered to city hall

By Glenn Evans
Jan. 7, 2013 at 10 p.m.


The city of Longview has 30 days to verify signatures on a petition it received Monday asking for a May election to allow beer and wine sales for off-premises consumption citywide.

"I feel like this is imperative if we're we're going to do anything to revitalize West Longview," said Longview United for Growth leader Kimberly Fish after turning in some 9,000 signatures gathered largely outside Longview grocery stores since early December.

If 6,000 of those names are verified as registered voters in Longview, the measure will go before voters at May elections.

The ballot issue would regard only beer and wine sales at retail outlets. No change is proposed to current liquor store regulation in Longview.

Longview's liquor laws are a hodgepodge of policies based on post-prohibition elections that allowed alcohol sales in southern and eastern Longview.

Fish said the issue grew out of the grassroots Go West movement seeking to revitalize the Greggton and Pine Tree areas, as well as the rest of West Longview.

"We started investigating why there were entire segments of West Longview that had no grocery store," she said.

One big answer: no grocer could have a beer and wine aisle in that part of town.

A similar measure failed in Longview several years ago, though a companion proposal did pass to allow mixed drink sales at local restaurants.

In the previous instance, a local convenience store chain owner, whose stores were in wet areas and sold beer and wine, teamed up with faith-based groups to defeat the citywide beer and wine sales.

That convenience chain owner has sold his stores, and Fish said she's heard of no organized opposition to the current ballot proposal.

If you can judge by the man on the street, people have been so supportive," she said. "Because, they understand ... in order to get new businesses to come into your area, they're not going to come into a dry area."

The Longview City Council could take up the petition as soon as Feb. 14, according to a prepared statement from Longview United for Growth.

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