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
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?
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.