City Councilor Ayanna Pressley is seeking four years of punishment records from the Boston Licensing Board to see whether minority owners of bars and restaurants receive harsher penalties for infractions than their white counterparts.
At a City Council meeting today, the at-large councilor said she has heard repeatedly from minority holders of liquor licenses that this is what's going on. The answer, she said, will lie in the data.
In addition to information about penalties, Pressley also wants the board to answer these questions:
At what point are reports of discrimination elevated to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination? How many reports of discrimination at restaurants, lounges, clubs or bars are reported annually?
The board has been chaired by Nicole Murati-Ferrer, who is latina, since 2010. In 2011, Gov. Patrick appointed retired judge Milton Wright, who is black, to the board. The third member, Suzanne Ianella, is white.