Apr 19, 2009
Crimes of Pizza
Having a business in Allentown can be exasperating. Unless you're one of the chosen few, blessed with political /photo opportunity and bestowed with grants, you're besieged with zoning and bureaucratic regulation. The touted one stop City Hall expediency process, paid for by the taxpayers with a remodeled City Hall, never materialized, and confusing headaches still prevail. But it can be much worse, witness the hapless pizza shop owner at 15th and Turner Sts. The police have cited him for serving pizza to minors. The citation says, DEFENDANT DID ALLOW JUVENILES THAT WERE SCHOOL AGE, TO STAY ON PREMISE, IN VIOLATION OF DAYTIME CURFEW ORDINANCE.
The daytime curfew, ordinance 729.03 goes back to the Reign of Arrogance.* This dragoon measure states
1. IT SHALL BE UNLAWFUL FOR ANY MINOR OF COMPULSORY SCHOOL AGE....REMAIN IN OR UPON ANY PUBLIC PLACE OR ON THE PREMISES OF ANY ESTABLISHMENT...ON ANY DAY IN WHICH SCHOOL IS IN SESSION.....
2.CUSTODIAN'S RESPONSIBILITY:IT SHALL BE UNLAWFUL...TO KNOWINGLY PERMIT SUCH MINOR TO BE OR REMAIN.....
3.ACCOMPLICE: IT SHALL BE UNLAWFUL....ACT AS AN ACCOMPLICE..FACILITATING THE COMMISSION OF THE OFFENSE
I've been told by a teacher at Allen High that it would be difficult to impossible for a shop owner to know who belongs in school. Some days there are late starts, early dismissal, and partial dismissal. These variables often apply only to one grade at a time. In essence the shop owner must act as a truant officer to comply with this ordinance. The cited shop is within the West Park Neighborhood, where their civil organization acts as a watchdog for the area. Much like spot zoning, this is definitely a case of spot ordinance enforcement. Would a pizza shop owner further downtown receive the same scrutiny?
*Reign of Arrogance:There was a time in Allentown's past, during the Heydt Administrations, when neighborhood groups had great influence. Special parochial interests prevailed; the neighbors of muhlenberg college got the city to past special restrictive zoning against student renting(unconstitutional,shame on the college for laying down, in essence creating two classes of renters), west park historic district, against the majority of homeowners wishes) etc... yes it was an effective machine which even resulted in the election of two members to city council, Pam Varkony and Tom Burke., everyone was happy, the mayor got support and the neighborhood associations got special considerations., there was only one fly in the ointment, the one and the only EMMA TROPIANO. Preliminary research indicates The Daytime Curfew was introduced by Pam Varkony and passed during the reign.