Thanks to Platypus Club member Brian Geoffroy for sharing this story with me. It falls under the category of things that government has no business what-so-ever doing. The short of it is this, Councilwoman Cindy Bass (Trump would make up a name here for her) has proposed a bill that would specially regulate “stop and go” markets.
The reason she gives is this: “They say that they fit the requirement for a restaurant license and they don’t, which is required seating for up to 30 people, bathrooms that are readily available and accessible and food sales. So most of the requirements that are put forth these establishments do not adhered to. So what we’ve been trying to do is get these so-called restaurants into compliance because what we found is that primarily it’s really a hybrid between a bar and a convenient store. We’re trying to define exactly what is this. It’s not a bar because children aren’t allowed in bars and it’s not a convenient store so exactly what is it? That’s what we’re trying to get down to and that’s the bottom line.”
I suspect however, she has another motive. You see, these stores are primarily in low-income areas. Bad neighborhoods. I suspect there is something about these stores that offends her. What could that be? Bullet proof glass. That’s right, the bill includes a provision that would force them to remove their bullet proof glass. She says, it’s not a safety issue because, “There are thousands, thousands of businesses in the city of Philadelphia that operate in those same neighborhoods that sell the same products and do not have plexiglass.”
My personal opinion is that she finds the bullet proof glass to be offensive. I think it is a symbol that business owners (AKA THE MAN) are not trusting the people in the poor income areas, don’t even want to touch them or be human to them, but instead put up glass in between. How unfriendly! Why, everyone else in the city isn’t doing it, so why do they have to?
The story doesn’t say the difference in robbery rates between a barber shop and a convenience market, but I feel comfortable guessing, stop and go stores get robbed a lot more often.
I couldn’t just leave it at one story, I looked up others. My suspicions about Bass are confirmed in them. In one story she is quoted as saying, ““Nuisance establishments like stop-and-gos harm neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia in several ways,” Bass tells Philly Mag. “First, they contribute to increased crime. On any given day, you can find people in front of these businesses selling ‘loosies,’ or loose cigarettes, and engaging in other nuisance behaviors like loitering, public drunkenness, possible drug sales, and even public urination.” So now they are bringing the neighborhoods down? How would regulating them like a different business change this? How would taking down plexiglass change this?
In another story I read how this Councilwoman held sit-ins at the stores in question. Can you imagine that? An elected representative of the people interfering with the lawful operation of a business by holding a protest inside!
All that aside, this isn’t something government has any business doing and as always it will have unintended consequences if it passes. If these businesses can’t operate safely, or have to spend money to make changes, many of them will close leaving these poor income areas without the resource. If the plexiglass is removed it won’t make people love one another by removing physical barriers to their emotional ones, but rather it will invite robbery where none occurred. Why rob a store you can’t get cash from? Money will be lost as well as lives. Clerks and owners will carry guns, robbers will die as well as citizens. Why? All because some do-gooder in government had to stick her nose into things.
But none of that matters because, to Bass, “Bulletproof glass is a form of indignity”.
Philadelphia City Councilwoman Cindy Bass is proposing what’s now become a controversial bill for what’s classified as “stop and go” stores.