Thursday, March 13, 2008
Teetotaling Colleyville surgeon appointed to alcohol commission
Dr. Steven Weinberg "surprised" at appointment -- gee, I would be, too, if I were him.
Normally, we at Capitol Annex don’t pay too much attention to Governor Rick Perry’s appointments to the nine hundred thousand boards and commission that help run the state of Texas–unless someone is being appointed as Chair.
However, this story about a new appointee to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is just too interesting to pass up. Check this out:
Steven Weinberg said he was surprised when a member of Gov. Rick Perry’s staff called to say the governor was offering him a spot on the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
“I told them that I, personally, don’t drink,” said Weinberg, 65, a semiretired surgeon and attorney who lives in Colleyville. “They said that was good, because I’d come to the issues with an open mind.”
What? This is almost unbelievable. It’s not a problem that Dr. Weinberg doesn’t drink, really. But, it is a problem that he seemed surprised the Governor was offering him a spot on the TABC. On the governor’s appointment application, there are spots to list what positions a person would be interested in. We would presume that, had Dr. Weinberg indicated an interest in the position, he wouldn’t have been surprised by his appointment to the post.
And, if the governor’s staff actually told him that his lack of a drinking habit gave him an “open mind” to handle the issues, that is even more unbelievable. Whether or not Weinberg has an “open mind” would no doubt be determined by the reason he doesn’t drink. If he doesn’t like the taste of booze, that’s one thing. If he believes that alcohol is God’s personal damnation upon the world, that’s quite another.
And, there is more:
Weinberg said he thinks his experience both in operating rooms and courtrooms can be of use.
“As a trauma surgeon, a lot of the people I saw had injuries related to underage drinking or drinking and driving,” Weinberg said. “Those are the two biggest issues the commission confronts and, obviously, are two big concerns of mine.”
To be one hundred percent accurate, underage drinking and drinking and driving are not necessarily the “biggest issues” that the commission confronts. While TABC may mandate training for servers and distributors relating to sales to minors and serving too many drinks to a person, or serving to someone who is intoxicated, both of those issues are actually issues that the Legislature and local law enforcement have more of an active role in than the TABC. It is the Legislature’s responsibility to make the laws regulating driving while intoxicated and underage drinking and law enforcement’s job to enforce those on the highways and in public places. Typically, TABC does “spot enforcement” on these things, and local law enforcement has day-to-day responsibilities for making sure that drunks aren’t driving up and down the highway. The TABC’s website “About” page doesn’t even mention drinking and driving when discussing its enforcement division.
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