Jim Ward is a founding member of two influential and acclaimed rock bands: Sparta and At the Drive In. He’s also an El Paso businessman who has owned clubs, venues and currently the restaurant Eloise in west El Paso. We interviewed him on the BAMS this morning about an Op-ed he wrote titled “Gov. Abbott Punts Public Health Decisions to Texas Restaurant Owners”. In the piece, Jim says he is “angry”. In the interview (which you can watch in its entirety, below) he explains that he’s angry because our elected officials on the state and local levels have decided to leave it up to restaurant owners whether they will remain closed or open, with certain restrictions. Here’s part of his frustration that he wrote about on El Paso Matters:

“I will not open my dining room or patio. I will not put my employee’s health at risk. I will not put my customers at risk. The idea that we will open up 25% capacity for a couple of weeks and see how it goes is not just absurd but dangerous.”

In the interview, I play the part of the other side of the argument. I take on the persona of a restaurant owner who thinks it IS time to re-open and why should my opinion matter less because I wasn’t in 2 successful rock bands?!?! Then, I play the role of a state politician who has to factor in not only the opinions of doctors and scientists but ALSO the economic realities of keeping businesses closed.

It’s a good interview. It generated a lot of diverse opinions: from people who thought Jim Ward was a courageous civic leader to those who thought he was almost LITERALLY throwing the U.S. Constitution onto an open bonfire. So…you know…impassioned debate from both sides.

Give it a listen.