Wednesday, April 01, 2009

MADD in Utah is Drunk with Power

--Keeping a record of everyone who enters a bar.
--Mandating surveillance video and requiring bars to keep tapes for 180 days.
--Keeping hotel bars out of public view in lobbies
--Banning bars from restaurants.
--Selling beer, wine and liquor in state liquor stores only at room temperature.

Each of these was laid out in a position paper that MADD's Utah chapter circulated to lawmakers during the legislative session that ended March 12 as the only way to change the state's unique liquor laws without endangering public safety.

The Utah chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving advocated for those changes and more as lawmakers debated "normalizing" the state's notoriously quirky liquor laws earlier this month so that customers wouldn't have to fill out an application and pay a fee for the right to enter a bar.

But an Associated Press review of national MADD policies shows nearly every proposal on a list of the Utah chapter's "must haves" for the liquor law overhaul are not endorsed by the national MADD organization and never should have had MADD's name attached to them.

"We try to give some reasonable flexibility, but on matters of key issues, obviously, anything that would portray MADD inaccurately as a prohibitionist organization we have to be pretty clear on and we have to speak with one voice." said Chuck Hurley, MADD's national executive director.

Hurley sent chapter president Art Brown an e-mail on March 10 reminding him that local chapters must adhere to national policies. The e-mail followed an AP article that mentioned Brown suggested electronically tracking all bar customers, not just those who appear younger than 35.

In the 1990s, MADD founder Candace Lightner became critical of MADD for taking positions on reducing alcohol consumption that she said strayed from the organization's mission. Since then, she said MADD is back on track putting the focus on stopping drinking and driving, not drinking in and of itself.

She laughed out loud when told of some of the positions taken by Art Brown.

"This is not at all in line with MADD's philosophy," said Lightner, who says she and most of the people she know occasionally drink. "His heart is in the right place and at least he's active in doing something, but I'm not sure this is the best way to go about it."

It's probably time for MADD to cut ties with Art Brown and let him form his own neo-prohibitionary group. The Utah chapter has obviously gone rogue and is just using MADD for it's political clout to suit it's own narrow agenda.

Sadly, no April Fools stuff here.

Cheers... i think.

1 comment:

Douglas said...

About time somebody said it; MADD is a bunch of stuck up losers. If you don't like beer, don't drink it! Having groups like these pressure the already questionable legislature is not helpful at all. I'm having a beer tonight in honor of all of the teetotalers.