Thursday, November 08, 2007

Follow-up on the regulation of convenience stores

I've been writing periodically about actions that are 'not business friendly' and one of the earlier posts on this subject was about our Toledo City Council trying to regulate convenience stores because of the fear of crime around such businesses.

As it turns out, according to today's Blade article, even a judge agrees that fears about increased crime are not a valid reason for denying a permit.

The Spot Mini Mart had been open for two years before government officials realized that they needed a special use permit to operate a convenience store at their location. When they applied for the permit, City Council rejected their application because of complaints from neighbors that the store contributed to an increase in crimes, such as littering and burglaries.

Now, how a convenience store is responsible for burglaries in the neighborhood was a question council members never asked. That aside, the judge said that "evidence of criminal activity and littering was anecdotal, or not reliably linked with The Spot."

"In this case, a review of the entire record in no way supports the decision of city council," the judge ruled. "The opponents of the [permit] expressed many unsubstantiated concerns regarding the carryout, and most of these were in regard to the sale of alcohol."

Perhaps it's time for all city council members to consider the FACTS and not the FEARS when making such decisions, much as the judge did.

But don't expect this latest ruling to stop our council members. They're still debating an ordinance to license convenience stores, under the misguided notion that it is the convenience store - and not the lack of police enforcement of illegal behavior - that needs to be 'regulated.'

I don't think the city is living up to the logo on its homepage - 'a business friendly city of the future.'


Jay Ott said...

How are convenience stores responsible for burglaries in the neighborhood?

If convenience stores are being demonized through no fault of their own, but get shut down anyway based on council's false premise, the next question is: what are the consequences going to be?

I think one will be a false sense of security. It just feels good to do these things to make it look like something is being done.

Apparently, the gov't has found that to be an effective method to exercise control over the "sheeple".

Shutting down these stores is kind of like the mentality of building an arena. "Build it and the people will come, nevermind how it will be paid for".

This ban on convenience stores is that same mentality, only in reverse. "Shut them down and the so-called criminals will go elsewhere, nevermind how much revenue the city and county loses."

It's based on the misguided emotion of fear. But isn't irrational fear a mental disorder?

Which is more fearful, (A) an oppressive and intrusive gov't that actually exists or (B) criminal activity whether it's imagined, merely a potential, or real.

If (B), then why won't the police do what they are supposed to do if those crimes do actually occur --"protect and serve"?

Since the police can't or won't do what they are being paid to do, we end up with (A) -- oppression through bad regulations and intrusion from an overreaching government. The more we allow the gov't to do this to us, the less liberty we will have.

Maggie Thurber said...

well said, Jay!

Frank said...

Here is another reason why Toledo is slowing dying. If we truly follow the logic our government officals, we should just close all the businesses in town and let the state or federal government take care of us. I have worked at convienent store in the past and only once was I robbed (which was during the day) over 8 years.
Because any business can attract crime to the area they are located in. I mean, look at fast food restaurants, malls, shopping plazas, bars and some hotels and the possibility of a crime being committed is likely.
If city council really wants to experience growth and make Toledo business friendly, they need to open their eyes and look at facts, not fear.

Tim Higgins said...

If convenience stores are the focal point of crime a neighborhood, you would think that the city and the police department would welcome them. Having the locations of these stores known would cut down on the time required to find and arrest perpetrators of crimes.
(please note that the previous statements were sarcasm, not to be confused with irony)

Roo said...

OK - following Council's 'logic' it would seem as though:

Check cashing stores = robberies
Gas stations = arson
Rite Aid/Walgreens = drug traffic
Parks = loitering

With the far reach that Council insists on using it stands to reason that these 'assumptions' hold merit.

Oh yeah! I forgot!

Auto repair shops = car theft!

"Oh yes - pleeeeeeeze City Council - rid my city of all these evils so that the nearest employment is 15 miles away and the nearest store is in the next county."


Tim Higgins said...

roo be careful. Someone on the 22nd floor may be reading this, and now has a couple of things that they hadn't thought of previously.

What you describe so accurately however, is that "business friendly" city that is Toledo.

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