San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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August 7th, 2008
Bar hours extension may be headed for November referendum

by BRAD ROLLINS
Managing Editor

San Marcos voters could decide in November whether to extend bar hours to 2 a.m. from the current mandatory midnight closing time.

Under the state alcoholic beverage code, bars generally must close at midnight but city governments have the authority to extend that closing time to 2 a.m., either by ordinance or through a citywide referendum.

Downtown bar owner Allen Shy said he asked the city council to put the issue on the ballot in a letter this week. If the council declines a referendum, supporters of the 2 a.m. bar hours can force a city vote by collecting signatures from 10 percent of registered voters. That would be 2,782 this year, City Clerk Sherry Mashurn said.

Narvaiz said the council would schedule a special meeting for Thursday at which time the council may consider putting the question on the Nov. 4 ballot. The mayor said she supports the issue being decided by the city’s voters as a way to settle a recurring issue.

Acknowledging his obvious financial stake in the issue, Shy said extending bar hours is warranted from a public policy perspective. Encouraging university students to drink in a controlled environment would decrease rowdy parties that disturb neighborhoods and spawn other problems, Shy said.

In addition, the later bar closings are necessary to lure large groups and events to the San Marcos convention center, which will open in October along with an adjoining Embassy Suites hotel, Shy said.

“This makes sense on a lot of different levels and I think the community has matured to the point that it something that will be widely supported,” Shy said.

The city council is scheduled to discuss bar hours at a meeting next Thursday when they could vote to add the issue to an already crowded ballot that includes three city council seats and a host of proposed amendments to the city charter. In addition, of course, voters will decide federal, state and county offices including the U.S. president.

The city can chose to make the referendum nonbinding, City Attorney Michael Cosentino said.

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6 thoughts on “Bar hours extension may be headed for November referendum

  1. Personally, I don’t have a problem with bars staying open until 2.

    What I would rather see us spend our time on is a drunk driving problem that is out of control. Maybe changing bar hours would help, by moving the drinking to a controlled environment and maybe it wouldn’t. Many of the parties are going on LONG after 2, so there is nothing to say that people are going to quietly slip off to bed when the bars close.

    San Antonio and Austin were recently ranked the 6th and 7th drunkest cities by Men’s Health in the country and now Austin has been ranked the hardest drinking city in the country by Forbes magazine. It is difficult to argue that San Marcos does not have the same problem.

    http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/08/09/0809drink.html?cxtype=rss&cxsvc=7&cxcat=52

    One only needs to look around at the toppled mailboxes, the destroyed stone walls, the skid marks across lawns, not to mention the car that flew off the end of Tanglewood or the house knocked off its foundation on Holland, or the other houses and apartments that have been hit, beer cans and bottles strewn along the sides of the roads, pedestrians getting run over on the square, and on and on and on. Anyone who thinks we don’t have a serious problem here is a fool or has his head stuck in the sand (or up his ass).

    It would be great to see the same enthusiasm for addressing the drunk driving problem in this city and cleaning up the garbage that gets thrown out the window at 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the morning, as we see for changing the bar hours.

    Yes, maybe changing the hours will help, but if it does, it won’t be the total solution. Let’s see some bar owners step up and support (or even promote) a complete package to make our streets safer for everyone, not just the part of the package that helps their bottom lines.

  2. Wow Ted. Now anyone who doesn’t agree with you has their head up their ass. Thats very insightful. As usual, Ted wants his little opinion heard so there it is everyone. We all know that he lives in the sagewood area and is upset (and rightfully so) about his tanked property value. Ted, I’m shocked at your implication that I have my head up my ass, especially having just met you last week. I like how you turn one issue into another in order to bring the original issue down. That probably fools most, but not me. Maybe instead of blogging nonstop on issues that for the most part you know nothing about maybe you should man-up and run for office yourself. Last I checked there are three seats up in November. Professional bloggers don’t change policy Ted. So get out of your cubical and actually do something. RUN FOR COUNCIL……..

  3. I didn’t say annything about you. I said that it would be nice to see some enthusiasm for addressing the drunk driving issue in this town, which NOBODY seems to want to talk about.

    Since some of those drunks come from bars, this is an opportune time to raise the issue.

    As far as being a professional blogger, I am far from it. I am, however, a neightborhood rep, the chair for the Transportation Advisory Board, the chair for the bike improvements subcommittee for the TAB, a volunteer for the San Marcos Performing Arts association, and the founder of a non-profit explicitly formed to improve relations between the city and university, which will offer its first scholarship in the fall of 2009 (missed the deadline for 2008). I also took part in ACT, volunteered for a day for Pack it up and Pass it on and regularly participate at City Council meetings, Board of Ed debates, etc.

    That, and I was the

  4. Oops.

    That, and I was the #15 fundraiser for the Valero MS150 last year.

    That’s about all I have time to “man up” for, other than working 50 hours a week.

    Rather than get so defensive, why don’t you admit there is a drunk driving problem in this town and offer a solution that goes beyond extending the hours you can do business?

    Of course, if you are saying there is not a drunk driving problem in this town, then my assertion stands. Of course, there were two other options given, other than having one’s head up his ass.

    As for what I do and do not know about, I have been here for almost 20 years. I have worked at and been a patron of many of the bars in town and have known present and former owners and HALF of everything I own comes from a law practice that primarily handles DWI cases, so, I guess I know a little.

  5. Also, as for having my “little opinion” heard, I guess I’ll have to ask for forgiveness for showing an interest in the city I call home, regardless of whether I have something at stake personally.

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