By Alex Lloyd Gross
Democratic Councilwoman Cindy Bass, represents the 8th Council District in Philadelphia. Bass, reports to work everyday in a heavily secured building and gets armed police with walk=through metal detectors manning each entry to the floor when bills are debated .
She has introduced that bill called the “Stop and Go” bill. The bill does not apply to banks and convenience stores or hot food takeout places. This bill makes barrier glass illegal in Stop and Go stores in the city. While it is unfortunate that our society has dictated that this glass is necessary, putting up the glass in the city by choice. In richer neighborhoods where stop and go stores are non existent, jewelry shops and coins stores can have them.
If the glass goes, the merchants will demand police be detailed to the corner or block where the store is located, which is impractical. Te other alternative is to employ heavily armed and specially train security. That solution is cost prohibitive. The $8.75 food order just became $17.50. People will not pay that so the last option is for the store to close. Now there will be multiple vacant properties on the block. Layla Jones, a spokes person for Councilwoman Bass reiterated that these stores do not sell food as they were supposed to when they were licensed. Quite often, the kitchen is closed or the chef is sick. The chef has been sick for quite a while.
The Korean Merchants Association thinks this is a horrible idea and has put together over $100,000 to see it defeated. Multiple police officers have called this bill “harebrained”. However, according to Layla Jones, she said there are multiple stores set up in low income areas that have little to no food. “You can walk in and get a shot of alcohol and standing behind you is a child wanting to buy candy”. She said they skirt the spirit of the law by not having a place to sit down and eat. These places exist purely as a conduit for cheap alcohol into poor neighborhoods. Jones adds that bars and restaurants as well as State Stores do not have these barriers.
Stores that legitimately sell hot take out do not have to remove their barrier. Convenience stores do not have to remove the barrier. Many of the “Stop and Go” stores are run by immigrants who see this as a huge impediment to their safety. Out front of these stores, people congregate which causes loud noise late at night. Council Woman Bass could run into a problem if this is challenged in court, as it targets one specific type of business. Those operators of the targeted Stop and Go stores have aligned themselves to see this bill defeated.