The Democrat & Chronicle’s most recent piece on the certificate of use reads more like the propaganda that the city was putting out.
Some business owners are defying the new regulations, which require city businesses to undergo additional inspections, pay a $100 licensing fee and reapply for a certificate of use annually.
Technically true! This is the third most accurate part of the article, which is sad because it misses the whole point. It’s like saying liberals have a problem with the Iraq war because the Iraqi people elected their government. While those things are part of the certificate of use, none of those things are the reason businesses are defying the new regulations. How about having to place your certificate (which has the owner’s photograph on it) in a
conspicuous place immediately visible upon entering the business. Maybe selective enforcement and the ability of the director to revoke a certificate without a hearing.
This small but vocal group has racked up so many fines that Mayor Robert Duffy has suspended enforcement of the program and promised an evaluation.
Actually, he suspended told enforcement to lay off the people that had court cases until the whole thing was worked out. The enforcement than began intimidating businesses — they went out and started ticketing people like crazy or else suffer the consequences. Believing that enforcement was causing more problems, he suspended the enforcement.
The new policy certainly deserves a second look, but Duffy shouldn’t let the complaints of a few people pressure him to undo a policy change that can help clean up illegal activity in the city.
For those of you wondering at home or work (what are you doing reading this at work, slacker), this is the second most accurate part of the article. There is nothing that I disagree with in this portion of the article. True, Duffy shouldn’t eliminate the certificate of use, but he should listen to his citizens and correct problems with the legislature.
Under the old system, City Hall had little power to revoke a business’ certificate of use once it was granted. Now the city has much sharper legal tools. Since the new policy was instituted last year, at least seven troublesome businesses have been shut down. The troubled neighborhoods where they were found are better off.
Under the old system, the certificate of use only applied to restaurants. They were inspected once before their business opened. Of course expanding the program to more businesses and further inspections will result in the city being able to catch more people. There are literally thousands of businesses in the city, and they’ve shut down seven and they think it’s a success? With a percentage that small, these businesses have to be doing something incredibly detrimental to the community for them to have made a noticeable effect. Is it really possible that the city had no avenues to turn to to close down businesses making that much of a problem? Heck, there are more businesses fighting the certificate of use than there are that have been shut down. How is that for perspective.
BTW those seven businesses resided in two neighborhoods (go the Freedom of Information Act for that). Damn those two neighborhoods for causing 99% of all ills that this city has had!
Business owners are wrong to defy this policy, and the Duffy administration shouldn’t let them get away with flouting the law.
How is it flouting when the people that have not gotten their certificate of use are actively trying to get the law overturned. That is civil disobedience.
Critics are right, however, that the city should spread the cost of this increased regulation around. Making the city less hospitable to illegal activity helps everyone. Yet small-business owners alone are being asked to shoulder the costs of the increased inspections and paperwork. That’s unfair.
The city can and should find ways to improve its new business licensing procedure.
And we end with the most accurate part of the article!