Deadline to submit petition for alcohol sales draws near

MCT photo: Bill Hogan Committee for Clovis Progress spokesperson Robin Howe said his group has collected about 2,000 signatures from patrons who want the issue of Sunday alcohol sales on the next election ballot.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

The deadline to submit a petition proposing Sunday alcohol sales in restaurants and bars is today. Organizers are confident they have enough valid signatures to submit to the city clerk’s office.

Committee for Clovis Progress spokesperson Robin Howe said his group has collected about 2,000 signatures from patrons of Clovis restaurants. He said more than 800 of those signatures are valid.

“If I was the official counter of signatures, we would have enough, but I do have to leave it up to the clerk,” he said.

The petition circulated Oct. 31.

Restaurant owners, such as Laura Leal of Leal’s Mexican Restaurant, said Sunday alcohol sales will help keep customers in town, who go out of town to patronize retaurants that do serve alcohol on Sundays. Applebee’s General Manager Dustin Barnes said the proposal would bring more tax dollars into the city.

City Clerk Leighann Melancon said the group needs 725 signatures, or 10 percent of the number of voters in last year’s municipal election, from voters registered in Clovis to get the issue on the March 4 municipal election ballot.

Howe said about 20 local restaurants and individuals collected signatures for the petition.

“It was a great grassroots effort,” he said.

Howe said his group has a list of voters registered in Curry County to check against signatures on the petition.

Last year, the group circulated a similar petition and submitted 875 signatures but only 575 were valid.

Howe said his group should know if the its petition qualifies for the ballot next week. If it does, he said the group will begin in February to encourage voters in favor of its proposal.

“I would think there would be a better than usual turn out at the polls with the mayor’s seat up for election,” he said.

Howe said he will collect the last signatures for the petition from restaurants today until noon.