The Business of the City: Miscellaneous

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Radical Change is Needed in Plainfield: MENACE TO SOCIETY

Earlier today, I offered a response to a post about the Clinton Deli and Liquors license hearing that Bernice Paglia published on her PlainTalker II blog (see her stories here and here and here). I am putting some of my commentary here, on my own blog. I sincerely believe that the liquor license (which is a privilege, not a right!) for Clinton Deli and Liquors must be denied by the governing body at the Monday, August 19th meeting.

As I stated at the council agenda meeting, I feel that the owners of this liquor store are a MENACE to our city--a menace to our youth, and they are a menace to the folks in the 4th Ward who want a decent place to live. Mr. Naicken argues that he owns other businesses in this city and pays taxes on them, but I don't know what the amount of properties he owns has to do with giving him yet "another chance" to break the law some more--the fact is that a denial of the liquor license doesn't mean that his business would close--the establishment will remain open--it just means that it cannot sell alcoholic beverages. It would remain open to sell the groceries, cigarettes, deli foods, and other sundries.

These folks had scores of violations in 2011, when I first came on the council and attended my first ABC meeting. By 2012, the violations were even more serious and egregious. 

According to Bernice's story, which can be verified by the Police Division, "Police reported 254 calls to the premises in the 2011-12 term for incidents including sale of alcohol to minors, drug possession, fights, assaults weapons offenses and sale of loose cigarettes. The most disturbing report to city officials and police was that drugs were found on several occasions 'beneath the ice cream freezer' within the store, where ice cream and candy were sold to children." Imagine the amount of police resources that are being poured into this single establishment with 254 calls! 

Since that term, there have been over 100 more--we placed stringent conditions on this store--many of which the owner has ignored. Three of our sworn officers from the Plainfield Police Division provided alarming testimony regarding this store--are we to disregard our own public safety servants, who have urged that this business not be allowed to sell alcohol?

The owner has shown contempt and disregard for the law here in Plainfield, and the fact that BOTH THE OWNER AND HIS DAUGHTER WERE RECENTLY ARRESTED AT THE STORE FOR SELLING ALCOHOL TO A MINOR AND DRUGS (!!!), respectively, shows that they feel they can do whatever they want.It is OUTRAGEOUS to even consider allowing these individuals to continue to endanger our kids and our community!

We are ethically bound to uphold the laws of Plainfield and the administration is bound to implement them--what are we saying to the police and to the folks in that neighborhood who are struggling to keep their kids and other young people safe? Right before I came on the council, 16 year-old Spencer Cadogan was murdered not too far from this place--I am not suggesting a direct connection, but the environment fostered by the owners permitting drugs to be sold in and out of Clinton Deli & Liquors definitely contributes to the sense of lawlessness in the area. 

What are we to tell the brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, and other residents who have to walk past this menace, who risk their lives going into a place where drugs are sold? What are we to tell the police who are smacked down for trying to do their job? What happens the next time (because there WILL be a next time--given the 100+ calls to this place) drugs or a gun are used in this place and the offender decides to SHOOT the cop rather than get arrested? What happens if a child is shot? This is serious business. 

I do not feel any sympathy for a business owner who willfully breaks the law. This was his THIRD chance--he shrugged it off contemptuously! These  violations (selling alcohol to minors and selling drugs in their store) are not minor--they are extremely serious, which is why they resulted in the arrest of the owner and his daughter. They cannot claim that they "didn't know" that these criminal activities were against the law--THEY WERE ACTUALLY PERPETRATING THEM!. 

I hope that residents will come out to the meeting on Monday to make their voices heard on this. A denial of the liquor license is the only way we can protect our defenseless residents and youngsters in that neighborhood from the greed and lawlessness of the owners of that establishment--who don't care about the illegal guns, the illegal drugs, selling alcohol to the children in the community--they show contempt for the lives and safety of Plainfield youth. They have shown contempt for the residents, their children, our police, and the city council.

We need to sincerely and honestly consider what kind of city we want to be: one that puts our children and other residents in harm's way, that allows this business to recklessly disregard the safety of our citizens?  

Although we only need 4 votes, it is my sincere hope that when this comes up at the council meeting on Monday, we have a 7-0 vote in favor of the denial.



  1. I agree about the 7-0 vote. If it is not, I am forced to believe that there is something underhanded going on.

    No one in their right mind would let this through.

  2. How ironic that the Trayvon Martin rally was outside City Hall at the same time as the hearing. At the time, I thought it had a sort of Star Chamber feel to it, with Corporation Counsel Minchello presenting damning evidence, and the accused Naicken flying solo, without rebuttal or comment. Even that is leaky.

  3. Keep it up, Rebecca. You are right? Keep up the good work.

  4. What about the families of the victims that were murdered at red towers, the chicken spot across from red towers. Do you shut them down also. There were many many many murders there. What is your interest in the liquor license

    1. "Anonymous" at 1:45 pm,

      I came on the city council in 2011. I know of no murders that occurred at Red Tower since I became a councilor in 2011. When you write "many many many murders" you are not specific--did the murders occur in that establishment? I do remember some years back that there were murders in that area of Park Avenue, but my recollection is that some of it happened across the street from that place. I meet with Director Hellwig every month, and we go over all the incidents of crime--there have been no murders there since I came on the council. I know that increased patrolling and more effective policing helped. The Red Tower does not possess a liquor license to revoke, so I don't understand your point. In any case, that has nothing to do with whether Naicken and his daughter deserve to keep a liquor license--which, given their own criminality, should be a definitive "NO." Why would I have any interest in a liquor license?? The issue at hand is the menace that Naicken represents--again, a liquor license is a privilege, not a right. He has abused that privilege--being part and parcel of the criminality that he allows to occur in his store. Since the Monday council meeting, I have heard from 4th Ward residents who expressed that they will be happy if the council denies the menace a liquor license.


    2. I agree ..with what your saying ..I also doubt very seriously that they are the only store bodega etc that are selling drugs. I think the only reason it has drawn so much attention because there's a parking lot a ample space for people to hang out and linger. Plainfield sees what it wants to see and frankly I'm sick of it. Front street well w.front anyway has always been known as a stomping ground for drugs and prostitution..if the city is gonna clean up then clean up!

  5. It should be a 7-0 vote, but don't be surprised if it isn't. If Mr. Naicken is so blatently breaking the laws at the Clinton Avenue location, has anyone looked into the "many" other businesses he has here? They may not have a liquor license, so there are no alcohol violations, but are they selling drugs? Thank you for being so diligent, wish my councilman was.