Pubdate: Sat, 07 Jul 2007
Source: Courier-Post (Cherry Hill, NJ)
Copyright: 2007 Courier-Post
Author: Frank Fulbrook


In Camden, we don't have a food problem, we have a murder problem.
With its irrational 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. food curfew ordinance, the city
council is attacking the food business owners and employers, while
doing nothing to attack the criminals who are destroying our city.

Economic freedom, for both the food business and their customers, is
worth fighting for. That's why I joined with eight Camden food
business owners to challenge this unfair ordinance in court. The trial
date is Tuesday.

To strengthen our position, Rutgers-Camden criminal justice professor
J'ona Meyer analyzed 2006 Camden Police Department crime data. Her
study found the vast majority of late-night Camden crimes are
occurring in residential areas, not near food businesses that would be
affected by the curfew ordinance.

Since fighting crime was the only stated purpose of the food curfew
ordinance, it would appear to be on a weak legal footing. It's really
just "feel-good government."

The ordinance was hastily introduced in June 2006 after teenager
Shelly Harmon was killed by stray bullets in a late-night Mount
Ephraim Avenue shootout between two alleged rival drug dealers.

Camden has had more than 150 open-air drug markets for the past 20
years. Most of our murders are a direct result of the failed
government policy of drug prohibition for all ages. Has the city
council done anything to solve this problem? No.

There may also be an element of racism behind the food curfew
ordinance. Nearly every affected business owner is Asian.


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