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Alcohol Sales on Ballot in Galena Park

NEIGHBORHOODS IN GALENA PARK are displaying signs that read Vote Against Cantinas, Beer Joints & Liquor stores. Local election on this issue is November 7, but early voting started Oct. 23.

By Allan Jamail

The Galena Park Mayor and Commissioners, after receiving a citizen petition with 327 voter’s signatures, required them to conduct an election where voters will decide whether or not the city would issue license for the sale and consumption of alcohol in the city. The election dates are October 23rd through November 3rd for Early Voting, and Election Day Tuesday, November 7, 2017 from 7 AM to 7 PM. After three days of voting (October 25th), according to City Secretary and Election Judge Mayra Gonzales, there have only been about 124 votes cast.

The two voting locations for both Early Voting and Election Day are at the Alvin Baggett Community Building located at 1302 Keene Street for voting precinct 081 or at City Hall located at 2000 Clinton Drive for voting precincts 208, 857 and 860.

North Channel Star writer Allan Jamail reached out to each of the elected officials and asked how they’d be voting. Commissioners Eric Broussard, Barry Ponder, and Oscar Silva, Jr. didn’t give their decision.

Mayor Esmeralda Moya said she didn’t want to influence voters either way and she’ll honor the voters’ decision regardless of the outcome. She said, “If the sale of alcohol is approved I’ll make sure all the laws and regulations are being obeyed and the citizens will be safe and their wellbeing will be maintained.”

Commissioner Rodney Chersky said, “I’m highly in favor of the legal sale of alcohol in the city. In the event it passes, we’ve already put laws and zoning regulations in effect to make sure no beer joints, cantinas, night clubs or sexually oriented businesses will be allowed in the city. I will personally vouch for this; rest assured it will not happen.”

Chersky stated if alcohol sales are approved there are only about three places that’ll qualify to apply for a license. If the store or gas station is within 300 feet of a church (religious establishment), school or hospital. they’ll not be eligible. He said restaurants will be allowed to apply but they must be a legitimate restaurant and not a cantina. The majority of their sales must be at least seventy-five (75%) percent derived from food items and not alcohol. Chersky said, “We might get new restaurants and stores, such as HEB and Fiesta, who’s expressed an interest.”

“There’s someone in the city mailing false propaganda and making false statements to create a false fear in people. Those mailings and statements are false and completely wrong,” Chersky said.