Saturday, December 16, 2006

It's ok for your children, but not for mine

Inner city Dallas is just like every other inner city across America. Liquor, wine, and beer stores are everywhere! I remember when I went to San Francisco a few years ago how amazed I was that there were so many Starbucks...often located directly across the street from each other. If you've been to San Francisco, imagine that times 10. In South Dallas, there are certain pockets where there are probably 10 or more liquor stores in a one block area. Many of us who live in South Dallas don't want the concentration of these stores in our neighborhood any more than someone in a wealthier part of Dallas would.

Several years ago a law was passed (the article attached to this blog explains more). The law stated that no beer/wine/liquor stores could be built within a 1000 feet of a school. The law, however, grandfathered in the already established stores. Knowing that children walk by these stores every day on their way to/from school and knowing that the more concentrated alcohol establishments in an area can be directly related to the increase in crime in an area, South Dallas leaders have worked and continue to work hard to do what they can to move these establishments out. It is not an easy battle.

Yesterday I attended a court hearing protesting one of the beer and wine stores by the school. What struck me as I was sitting there was the argument of the beer and wine store's lawyer. As the witnesses gave their testimony about what the beer and wine stores do to the community, the lawyer kept refocusing their statements to ask if this particular store could be proven to create the unsafe atmosphere in the area. I could see where he was going. He was trying to keep the heat off of his client by saying that their one liquor store does nothing bad in the community. They are perfectly legal in what they are selling and, he even went on to argue that they are a "good neighbor" in the community because the owners actually keep crime off of their property.

I realize he's a lawyer and lawyer's are supposed to defend their clients whether they believe them to be innocent or not. But I would be interested to know where his children go to school and whether he would want them walking by liquor stores and the people that frequent them every day. Actually, as he argued that Buy and Save was actually a "good neighbor" that keeps crime away, I wanted to challenge him to walk from Pearl C. Anderson to any one of these kids' homes. I would almost bet my last dollar that he, a grown man, would probably be scared and would refuse.

So why is it ok for our South Dallas children to have to deal with that? Don't our children in South Dallas deserve the same healthy environment as any other kid? Or do we pay no attention to it because it because if we don't live there it doesn't affect us and our children?

It's a frustrating battle. I agree that Buy and Save Discount Beer and Wine is not the sole reason there are drugs, crime, and prostitution in South Dallas. However, it is a contributor. We're working to get those "contributors" out one by one.
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