SMU President Against Alcohol Propositions

We just received a letter from SMU President R. Gerald Turner to University Park Mayor Dick Davis, but, due to printing deadlines, we won’t be able to run it in this week’s edition of Park Cities People.

After previously stating that the university will not take sides regarding the two propositions, Turner wrote:

“I think it would be best for the proposed changes to be rejected to preserve the character of the community near the campus.”

In the letter, Turner claims over-the-counter alcohol sales “would encourage greater underage consumption through easier individual alcohol purchases or bulk purchases facilitated by those 2l and older.”

For the entire letter, click here.

Pick up this week’s Park Cities People for an in-depth look at the liquor propositions, and where former UP mayors stand on the proposed changes.

24 thoughts on “SMU President Against Alcohol Propositions

  • October 20, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    The Good Doctor is sure not against alcohol on SMU Campus, go to the the Bishop Blvd on game day.

  • October 20, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    From the SMU Student Handbook:

    Approved Locations for Alcohol Service
    Collins Executive Education Center (Common Area and Dining Room)
    Cox School of Business (Dean’s Parlor, Ernst and Young Gallery)
    Crescent Club
    DeGolyer Library (Stanley Marcus Reading Room, Texana Room)
    Embrey Engineering Building (Huitt Zollars Pavilion)
    Founder’s Room and South Lobby
    Gates Restaurant
    Fincher Building (JP Morgan Parlor)
    Karcher Auditorium
    Legacy Campus (Office Suites, Auditorium)
    Letterman’s Hall
    Meadows School of the Arts (Dean’s Suite Lobby)
    Meadows Museum (Red Room, Jones Great Hall)
    Permanent Collection Galleries
    Smith Auditorium
    SMU Faculty Club
    Umphrey Lee Ballroom

    Oh yeah and lets not forget the MASSIVE BACCHANAL known affectionately as the Boulevard. Students pounding beers in the street. Thank you Dr. Turner for bringing that fine example of student behavior to our city.

  • October 20, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Wonder if the Dr got ” a call” and was told that the city might not be as coopertive on things in the future if he did not go there way?? It’s funny how he stated that SMU would not take sides, but now he takes a stand! I wonder how many former mayors called him?

  • October 20, 2010 at 6:58 pm


    Dr. Turner is certainly entitled to his opinion (despite, as he puts it, “SMU’s practice to refrain from taking official positions on issues before University Park’s voters”), but the last paragraph of the letter is outrageous in its mendacity and bad faith. Here is that paragraph, in its entirety:

    “A series of package or convenience stores or restaurants with “happy hours” promoting daily access to alcohol would forever change the nature of the businesses along Hillcrest across from campus, with an adverse impact on the surrounding neighborhood. Therefore, I think it would be best for the proposed changes to be rejected to preserve the character of the community near the campus.” [Emphasis added]

    If one of Dr. Turner’s students turned in work like this, he would be brought before the honor council.

    First, as stated many times before and as the ballot measures make clear, the change in law would not allow package stores.

    Second, I can think of a dozen restaurants in Snider Plaza and on Hillcrest that serve alcohol every day they are open (Hotel Lumen, Half Shells, Banditos, Olivellas, Penne Pomodoro, Cisco Grill, Amore and Club Peggy Sue or whatever it’s called all come to mind). Sushi Kyoto regularly has “Sake Night”. These restaurants periodically have drink specials, and may have happy hours. In what way would eliminating the private club requirement change this?

    Dr. Turner, you are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts. But I know you are a university president and clearly much smarter than I, so please explain how you reached the conclusions in your letter. Because as I see it, one of three things has happened: you have made an embarrassing error, you are lying, or someone has lied to you about the content of the ballot initiatives. Which is it? Regardless of how it happened, you have just embarrassed yourself and your school in spectacular fashion.

  • October 20, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Now that I’ve calmed down a little bit…

    Dr. Turner’s concerns are legitimate and can be addressed with a local City of UP ordinance forbidding the sale of alcohol within a certain distance from schools. Highland Park has had exactly this type of local ordinance on their books for years.

    Two weeks ago, I asked our city attorney Rob Dillard if UP had any local ordinances governing the sale of alcohol to supplement those of the TABC. He responded that we do not. I immediately asked our city council and Mayor Davis to make this a top priority for the Commercial and Retail Advisory committee, which I am currently chairman of, so that we can study the facts and put forth a plan. I have yet to hear back from them.

    SMU is an asset to this community and Dr. Turner has done a great job as president. We need to work closely with the school on issues exactly like this. However, we do not have to deny thousands UP citizens the right to purchase a legal product in their city in order to address the needs of the university.

  • Pingback:Turner Sends Letter Opposing University Park Alcohol Propositions | Hilltop Politics

  • October 20, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    SMU alum here…

    Yeah, Turner’s sure doing a great job of “preserving” the area around campus. It’s not like it’s hard to get booze at SMU… look at all the kids who get MIPs their first semester there.

  • October 20, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Max – I’m still undecided on this matter but I am curious about something. You are clearly for the proposal and probably its most vocal proponent. If passed, will your health food store in Snider Plaza sell alcohol and, if so, what is your expected increase in sales from alcohol?

  • October 20, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    We received a letter in the mail from the university park mayor yesterday. It encouraged us to vote no because it would “liberalize” the community. When does removing government restrictions on small business equate to liberalism? If people want to buy booze, then let them. I say government and academia get out of the way of freedom for citizens and consumers alike. Don’t tread on university park residents!!!

  • October 20, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    We received a letter from several former Mayors of University Park yesterday. They asked that we vote no on the two proposals intended to change and liberalize University Park’s alcohol sales laws. The letter said nothing about “liberalizing the community” – a truly absurd notion.

    University Park residents can already buy alcohol in restaurants, and in nearby neighborhood grocery stores and package stores. There’s not any “treading” going on.

    We’re voting against the proposed changes, mostly because of our kids. So are most of our neighbors. The last thing University Park needs is more alcohol more accessible to kids.

  • October 21, 2010 at 4:02 am

    I voted early Monday and voted YES to both proposals. Dr Turner should have stayed quiet as he promised and let the voters decide. We don’t need city council members (past or present, as I got “Robo” called by Roy Coffee urging me to vote “no”) micro-managing small businesses.
    I say:
    1. Dump the onerous private club requirements.
    2. Let Tom Thumb sell beer/wine in Snider Plaza.
    3. Collect the additional sales taxes; and
    4. Finish the pump station project at Germany Park (2 years?????).

  • October 21, 2010 at 4:53 am

    B- Plaza Health Foods has no plans to sell anything stronger than our Black Cherry Frozen Yogurt.

    However, the TABC is very clear that the private club rules we have today are so flexible that I could:

    Sec. 32.03. QUALIFICATIONS FOR PERMIT. (a) A private club registration permit may only be issued to a club which meets the requirements of this section.(g) The club must provide regular food service adequate for its members and their guests.

    This means that as long as the club members are happy with the food, be it peanuts, popcorn or frozen yogurt, the private club can sell as much whiskey as it wants and they have still satisfied the requirement. In other words, bars and night clubs with very little food service are allowed in UP today under the private club rules.

    On the other hand, the permit voters are asking for this November has much stricter food requirements:

    Sec. 28.18. FOOD AND BEVERAGE CERTIFICATE. (a) A holder of a mixed beverage permit may be issued a food and beverage certificate by the commission if the gross receipts of mixed beverages sold by the holder are 50 percent or less of the total gross receipts from the premises.
    (b) An applicant or holder of a food and beverage certificate shall have food service facilities for the preparation and service of multiple entrees. The commission shall adopt rules as necessary to assure that the holder of a food and beverage certificate maintains food service on the premises for which a food and beverage certificate has been issued.

    This means you have to be a full scale restaurant. Most voters understand that this a far safer alternative to the private club permit. The new laws will make our city safer.

  • October 21, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Liberalize sales of alcohol? Unless I am remembering incorrectly, you must give your name and address to get a Unicard. Let’s get the government off our backs and let us order a beer without handing over our personal information.

  • October 21, 2010 at 8:36 am

    “We are doing it for our kids” is always one of the funniest things I hear from people fighting against this, that, or the other.

    I seriously doubt that having a wine aisle at Tom Thumb is going to somehow negatively affect your precious children. If so, then there are MUCH bigger issues at work than these propositions.

    And it’s terribly disappointing that Dr. Turner included obviously incorrect statements in his letter (package stores, etc.). Dishonest or misunderstood, I’m not sure. I would assume that he will quickly correct himself with a follow-up statement?

    Dr. Turner? Dr. Turner? We’re waiting…

  • October 21, 2010 at 9:07 am

    This is all very silly. We’re talking beer and wine, not crack. I too share laurie’s libertarian bent.

  • October 21, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Personally, I don’t like laws that are almost-universally disrespected, easy to break, and do little or nothing to better society. The current alcohol sales laws fit that bill. They do not stop, or even really stem, the flow of alcohol, and they are widely held in contempt. All they do is serve as a minor inconvenience for the consumer and an hindrance to business.

  • October 21, 2010 at 10:23 am

    I don’t recall seeing our most recent, and admirable, Mayor Blackie Holmes’ name affixed to the recent letter that came out from Former Mayors opposing the proposition.

    Max, thank you for being factual about the propositions and what they mean for the neighborhood. Your transparency is a breath of fresh air.

  • October 21, 2010 at 10:50 am

    @Chris Murzin

    I spoke with Mayor Holmes for a story about the propositions in this week’s paper. You were right to notice his name is missing.

  • October 21, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Thanks Max – in Sec 28.18 do sections (A) and (B) refer to 2 different permits, or the same permit. If 2 different ones, I do not see a gross receipts from alcohol stipulation in (B). Also, how is ‘multiple entrees’ defined?

    Also, how does “having food service facilities for the preparation and service of multiple entrees” make it a full service restaurant? My home kitchen is fully equipped but that doesn’t mean the equipment is used very often.

    Thanks again – I’m still just trying to understand the reality of the proposals.

  • October 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    We want freedom, not restrictions on our personal lives and small businesses.
    I grew up in UP, and if I wanted alcohol while underage, I would drive to preston center, love field or Greenville. WOW. That was just too far, so I didn’t drink. I was too lazy. So the 2 mile drive kept me sober and clean.
    Come on. The notion that voting “no” maintains a low accessibility for alcohol for minors is just ignorant. That is the same logic of: Well, I won’t allow my child to drive because they can drive across town to buy alcohol which increases their accessibly to beer. UP residents are smarter than this.
    Alcohol is legal in the US, period. It is illegal to sell to someone under 21 and TABC enforces that law vigorously. Groups like MADD are also on the hunt, and they won’t allow the government ease up anytime soon, let me assure you.
    I am voting yes, because I don’t buy this notion of protecting our kids and I believe in personal freedom and responsibility.

  • October 24, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    anyone have the answers to my questions above?? (from Oct 21)

  • October 25, 2010 at 2:45 pm


    Yes, they refer to the same permit. I’ll have a full write-up of what each Prop means in this week’s edition.

    Oh, and “multiple entrees” = eight entrees, per a TABC rep.

  • October 25, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    OK Thanks Bradford. We chose to not renew our subscription about 2 years ago, so I’ll take a peek at a friends paper or read whatever y’all decide to post online after the issue comes out.


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