Needless to say, this has a lot of people up in arms. The business community is concerned, because this story (which has of course already traveled far and wide via the Internet) has the potential to scare off some of the high-dollar convention business that the city is hoping to attract:
Dallas restaurateur Al Biernat, who gets as much as 20 percent of his business from convention attendees, said he hasn't had any sting operations in his bar, but worries that news about the actions send a message of intolerance to potential visitors.Legislators are also hearing an earful from their constituents--so much so that the subject will be discussed right after lawmakers return to Austin next month.
"There's a perception throughout the country that Dallas has a witch hunt going on," Mr. Biernat said.
And Mr. Biernat is concerned that it could hurt the progress the city has made in attracting conventions.
"Dallas is at a key point where things are starting to turn around," Mr. Biernat said. "I'd hate to see anything slow it down."
Please understand something: I didn't post this story because I'm the kind of person who likes to go get schnockered in a bar and then hit the road. As a matter of fact, I'm the friend who wrestles car keys away from people and/or makes them spend the night if they've had too much to drink (not that the situation has even come up recently). But I know the mentality of government bureaucrats who are--for lack of a better term--intoxicated with their own power, and I fear that there's just too much potential for abuse here. Besides, it's totally a judgement call on the agents' part, and who's to say that a group of people whom the agents perceive to be drunk and disorderly are in fact engaged only in the typical rowdy camaraderie found in virtually any pub in the world?
I'm also concerned for another reason: Anytime the TABC goes undercover, it creates the potential for club owners to overreact, which makes it even more likely that people under 21 won't get to hear live music. I've written at length on this subject before, and I feel just as strongly about it now as I did then. The last thing that musicians need is one more reason for club owners to make their shows age-restricted.
It'll be interesting to see how the discussion in the Legislature turns out, because, while the TABC's heart (if a bureaucracy can indeed have one) is in the right place, I know of very few people who are in favor of this particular method of achieving the desired outcome.
Updates, get yer updates here: Thanks for all the thoughtful comments on Monday's immigration post (and I would've said that even if you hadn't all agreed with me so far). Evidently, today wasn't quite as crazy in terms of school walkouts, though a few did happen...and I'm happy to see that some school districts are finally cracking down on the protestors by offering in-school suspensions in addition to the slap-on-the-wrist unexcused absences that had been given out for the first few days.
Also, check out what Ernie Brown had to say on the subject yesterday morning; he sums up the whole thing beautifully in a mere sixty seconds.