San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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November 2nd, 2008
Hospitality San Marcos S-PAC Responds to Misleading Article in Local Newspaper

Hospitality San Marcos S-PAC had written approval from the State Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for utilizing their official position with respect to uniform closing times in the PAC’s press release dated October 14, 2008.  Out of deference to the efforts of MADD to protect the lives of Texas citizens, Hospitality San Marcos had extensive correspondence and communication with MADD’s Texas office that included contribution from their National Communication Public Policy Office in Washington, D. C. prior to distribution of the PAC’s press release.

An article in this Sunday’s San Marcos Daily Record reported that MADD was upset with Hospitality San Marcos suggesting that MADD had endorsed the referendum.  This claim is patently wrong.  The San Marcos Daily Record article suggested that Carmen Castro, a bilingual victim advocate, was speaking for MADD as their official representative.  Based upon our extensive communication and the ultimate approval of our message by officials from the Texas Chapter of MADD in Austin for Ms. Castro to suggest that MADD is upset about any misrepresentation by Hospitality San Marcos does not square with the facts.  No attempts were made by the writer of the article, Anita Miller, to reach anyone from Hospitality San Marcos to confirm the Record’s story.  The language in the press release was commented upon and ultimately approved by the MADD organization prior to its distribution and the language used in the article and all subsequent literature is consistent with their organization’s official position.

Hospitality San Marcos’ October 14th press release stated, “Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) advocates setting uniform statewide cut off limits on the sale of alcoholic beverages in order to end the practice of ‘barhopping’ to find establishments with later closing hours for ‘one last drink’ with the likelihood of impaired driving as a result. The PAC shares this concern and asks each responsible person to vote in favor of this referendum.”

This article in no way suggested that MADD had endorsed the bar hour extension but did accurately state the organization’s official policy on this issue with their approval.  On October 30, 2008 in an article published in the University Star Toni Logan with MADD communications suggests that “MADD’s stance on uniform bar hours is consistent with Hospitality San Marcos S-PAC’s initiative.”

No materials produced by Hospitality San Marcos, including the website, suggest anything other than MADD’s official position noted above.  We applaud the logic of MADD’s position on the issue of uniform closing times for bars in our area in an effort to promote safety on our roads and highways.

Hospitality San Marcos

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21 thoughts on “Hospitality San Marcos S-PAC Responds to Misleading Article in Local Newspaper

  1. Uniform closing times for bars in Central Texas will improve public safety and provide a boost to our local economic development. I would also like to see the local establishments that sell and/or serve liquor, along with Texas State University, the City of San Marcos, the local Chambers of Commerce, and other community oriented groups, participate in a comprehensive program to address drunk driving.

  2. I’ll second that.

    If the push for the change in bar hours is for safety reasons, then there NEEDS to be a comprehensive plan beyond simply extending bar hours.

    Austin has had 2:00 hours for as long as I can remember and the misguided (IMO) mandatory blood draw program they instituted for the weekend is pretty strong evidence that they feel like there is a significant problem up there.

    Let’s see some real efforts to get the drunk driving under control, regardless of the outcome of the 2:00 hours issue.

  3. I’m with both of the above.
    On a second note, The “reporter” mentioned above seems to have a habit of going off half cocked when preparing her stories. I just want to say that I read inaccuracies in numerous articles written by this woman, and even contacted the paper regarding her misinformation. It is largely ignored, and her ignorance and carelessness greatly influences my consistent choice not to purchase or resort to the SM Daily Record for any of my information.

  4. Anita Miller is a joke as far as reporters go. She very seldom gets all of the information and only presents whatever is handed to her on a plate. She does not do any further digging. Don’t even start talking about all the grammatical errors in her stories! When I see an article by her, I just skip over it. Then again, she was one reason I quite taking the San Marcos Daily Wrecker.

  5. If they had done research before publishing an incorrect article then they might have found out that S-PAC had writen premision. This is the exact reason that I can’t depend on the San Marcos “ALMOST” Daily Record as a reliable source of news in San Marcos.

  6. DWI is a serious problem with all residents and not only with university students. Extending bar hours in SM will only postpone drunk driving incidents. Perhaps local drinking establishments could woo their patrons to stay after midnight by offering discounted food and nonalcoholic beverages, entertainment and maybe even a free ride home. I don’t see how extending drinking time by 2 hours can be safer. It just gives you more time to get drunker.

  7. Peggy,
    Austin already has bar hours until 2am. So instead of poeple leaving SM when the bars close to go to Austin (driving drunk on I-35), they’ll be closed everywhere and they might as well go home.

    People are going to drink and people are going to drive drunk. But I would rather have them just drive back home instead of to Austin and back.

  8. DWI is a serious problem. It is one that I hope the city council addresses as the bar hours change. Unfortunately, it is one that as a nation we need to address. Our problems with it are not unique. We need an expansion of late night transportation alternatives, safer routes for people to ride their bikes to the bars, and encouragement from the bars for people to use alternatives. That said, once bars stop serving alcohol, people are going to go away. Cheap food and n-a drinks will not keep people from moving to the next party.

    I don’t have any empirical evidence, but my hunch is that the later bar hours won’t actually encourage people to get much more drunk. In most towns with a 2am closing time, people don’t go out until 10pm. Here, people go out at 8-9pm and are in a hurry to get their drinking done at the bar, so that they can get to the house party or the bar in Austin and get the last couple of drinks in. Will drunk driving still be a problems, yes, but on a miles driven while drunk basis, getting people off the highway could be a big safety improvement.

  9. Actually, people don’t all just go away when the drinks stop flowing. A lot of them go away when the drinks get picked up, the lights come on and they are told to leave. Not only that, a lot of them pound down their last drinks just before they go out the door.

    I’d love to see some sort of after-hours options for San Marcos.

  10. A case could probably be made for either. It would probably help if people were given a little more time to finish their drinks, but then you are asking a business to stay open when they aren’t pulling in money (I may be wrong, but I think that’s state regulated also.) Late night venues make money on alcohol. The few after-hours clubs I knew about in Austin had problems attracting customers, and were under very strict scrutiny by TABC. (Some of which they brought upon themselves, some was just TABC being pricks.) Maybe we could get some late night eateries. I know Magnolias, Kerbey Lane, and Star Seeds are packed on Friday and Saturday nights, but that is a different business model, and only a small minority of bar patrons are going out to eat afterwards. I still think the biggest improvement to be made is in transportation alternatives.

  11. I think both need to be addressed.

    If some people hung around after hours and some people used alternate transportation, that would be a start toward getting drunks off the road.

    The city could certainly take steps to enable/encourage both.

    The fact of the matter is that there are drunks on the road before the bars close and there are drunks on the road who never even go to bars. We need a comprehensive plan and both of these are viable pieces of a complete solution.

  12. You are both right. People like to drink. The problem is transportation from one social venue to another. Policing the roads helps, but it does’t eleminate the danger. Local bar owners want to attract more business. How can San Marcos compete with Austin? There must be a solution, but it hasn’t been proposed yet.

  13. I’ve got it! A Party Bus! Instead of competing, merchants should collaborate. A Party Bus will make the rounds of participating merchants to pick up patrons for another destination. The Bus Fare will be a receipt from a participating merchant. The merchants will have to work out the economic details.

  14. How about getting the San Marcos Police Department to do their job and arrest every drunk that stumbles into their car/SUV/truck and throw their ass in jail.

    Drinking is a responsibility. Driving is a responsibility. There is absolutely no excuse for adults to go out to the Square, get drunk, and drive home.

    If the issue here is safety, then the SMPD should start cracking down.

  15. Unfortunately, DWI arrests are VERY time-consuming (several hours) and Chief Williams has indicated that without approval for overtime, strategic DWI enforcement is not an option.

    I’m hoping to find time to lobby City Council for that strategic enforcement soon, but I’m already over committed.

  16. Drinking and driving drunk are going to continue to be a part of resident’s habits no matter what time the bars close and no matter how much police enforcement there is. I think the solution is some sort of public/university/bar/apartment complex funded mass transportation project (similar to SWAT).

    Basically, there would be a small fleet of busses or vans that make a few rounds between bars and designated stops (not just the square but around the Den/Tavern and other areas) between 9pm and 3am. If the late night busses were free, efficient and stopped at a lot of places around town, I think people wouldn’t have any problems riding them.

    Funding is the key issue; the city should look into the logistics of a late night bus system. The University and major apartment complexes should also participate (you understand if you have ever seen the masses of vehicles returning to the Exchange, Outpost and Cabana etc. beach after the bars close). Also, someone mentioned the idea of bars/restaurants offering cheaper food items late night. I like this idea; besides driving home, I believe the main reason people drive after drinking is to get food.

  17. I recently followed a drunk swerving all over the road while on the phone to SMPD giving location updates. While doing this I thought of a possible solution…give the person that provides information leading to the arrest and conviciton of a DWI suspect 1/2 of the fine assessed. This might get more people involved and get more drunks off the road.

  18. Ok. so like I’ve read all the above and it seems everyone has the solution. It seems the real issue is $! The bars are the only thing(s) that will generate cash from this. And will the bar(s) pay for any service other than serving alcohol? Yeah right. Why does this ‘Little City’ need to wear ‘Big City ‘pants? Because the students want it? Because the bar owners want it? Be careful what you ask for……..oh and yes I ‘am a drinker, just know when to say enough. And enough already!

  19. Is it true that in order for the exteneded bar hours San Marcos bars will have to become ‘Non Smoking’ establishments?

  20. In this past election citizens were asked to vote for or against the extension of hours for the consumption of alcohol. There was no mention in the wording of the referendum regarding smoking. Additionally, there is no requirement to make establishments ‘non-smoking’ in order to implement this change.

  21. yeah that is what I thought. It was just something a bar tender had mentioned to me. I just wanted to make sure. thanks

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