TABC's War

RECEIVED Mon., March 6, 2006

Dear Editor,
    I have watched the TABC take my friends, co-workers, and customers to jail. I have seen and heard the police force's spin on the local TV news and in the other paper enough to make me ill. Any sane person encountering the same "news" would believe my co-workers and I were forcing alcohol into our customers mouths up until the time we helped them into the driver's seat and said goodnight. A bar wouldn't last 26 years in this town operating this way. I wonder if TABC remembers us opening our doors for them to train their new recruits? Or if they remember the meeting our staff had with their agents when they told us they were only going to arrest "obviously" intoxicated patrons? I remember the agents stressing, look for a wet spot in the front of their pants, stumbling, or disarrayed hair or clothing. None of the customers they took to jail displayed any of those signs, but, as our bar used to be busy, I did not have hours to observe each and every individual. Some of the 5-to-10 people TABC arrested in the bar even had designated drivers! I wonder how they were a danger to themselves or others? TABC also arrested my manager over our 69 cents drink special. Did they even look at the specials other bars are running? Had they been running that same special for over 15 years? In the early days it was 69 cents anything! For three hours! Years ago management saw that it might get out of hand so they cut it to two hours and made it just beer and well drinks. More recently, at TABC's request, we went to $1 on longnecks, but obviously they were not appeased. Before their "sting" started last August, the average tenure of our bar staff was well more than 10 years. Since we were singled out (and business dropped to a tenth of what it was), that number has fallen dramatically. I don't think that is a change for the better. I really miss seeing all my friends at work. I could complain about the bills not getting paid also, but, I am one of the lucky few who have not been arrested (yet)!
Steve Brownell
Dallas Nite Club
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