Councilor seeks data on licensing-board hearings to see if minority-owned establishments are treated more harshly

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.

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Pressley's proposed questions162.9 KB

Comments

good idea

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It's not really who owns it, it's where it is.

Packy Conners's get hammered for anything within a mile while the Lyons Group clubs on Landsdowne Street are buckets of blood and get a pass.

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Landsdowne is a no-mans-land

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To some extent I think that Landsdowne Street exists as a sort of nightlife sacrifice zone for the whole region. It's neighbors are a highway and a sports stadium rather than residences, so I doubt they get a lot of complaints from anyone other than the club-goers themselves and the cops who have to pick up the pieces whenever something happens.

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Well ...

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Packy Connors and Ups and Downs only starte getting hammered after some really brutal incidents - a quadruple shooting outside the former and the muliple stabbing thing at the latter. Both had a long history of police citations that the board never did much about before those incidents.

Packy Connors actually had a fairly clean record for a couple years after the shootings. Then they got offered a lot for their license.

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Packy Connors' owners were white

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So was the owner of the Breezeway down the street, which also disappeared after somebody offered him a ton of money for the license.

The clientele of the two Roxbury places was heavily black, however. So was roughly half that of Ups N Downs (the upstairs part).

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I was going to say..... Is it

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I was going to say..... Is it the establishments with minority owners being treated more harshly, or is it the establishments with minority patrons?

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Patrons

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Establishments frequented by neighborhood thugs see much more serious violence (shootings, stabbings, etc) than average, meaning it costs the owner more to operate the place, and sometimes selling the license makes the most sense. Are you telling everyone bars in poor neighborhoods should be held to lower standards just so they can stay in business?

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What brought you to this

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What brought you to this conclusion?
"Are you telling everyone bars in poor neighborhoods should be held to lower standards just so they can stay in business?"

I am not telling anyone anything about poor neighborhoods, bars or lower standards.
Up's n Down's was shut down, the owner didn't have a choice but to give up license. Up's n' Downs isn't in a poor neighborhood. The trouble causing patrons of Up's n Down's weren't from the neighborhood.
I was suggesting a correlation of harsh treatment based on the patrons, and not on the fact that an establishment is owned by a "minority" which is what the councilor is investigating.

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Why stop at "Minority" owned bars and restaurants?

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I hope Councilor Pressley also studies the differential treatment and huge economic impact of ex-Mayor Menino's closure of mostly (entirely?) white owned bars and restaurants along the St. Patrick's Day parade route, costing the owners hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) on what would be their most lucrative day of the year, while imposing no such ban on the bars near the Caribbean Festival, Gay Rights Parade, Marathon, etc. Talk about discrimination. Perhaps reparations are in order?

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you have got a point, but

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you have got a point, but last time i heard at the carribean fest drunken parade watchers weren't throwing bottles at marchers in the parade. Also the st. patricks parade has notoriously been a drunken brawl / piss fest and anyone who says differently is full of shit. In highschool we used to watch the fights that would break out between different "corners" at M Street park, then wait for the fights between the kids that were just fighting eachother but now they were fighting the cops.
Lots of blood and guts but lots of fun was had by all. I'm glad menino toned things down a bit. Not sure if there are as many bars around blue hill ave as there are on the parade route in Southie.

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I saw there were five new

I saw there were five new comments within 30 minutes of this being posted, and, true to form, the trolls crawl out of the woodworks to deny that
a) racism exists in Boston, or
b) racism exists in Boston because white people gots it so bad.

Data does not exist in these peoples' universes.

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Where are these said trolls?

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Where are these said trolls? Not that I'm a fan of trolls, but none of the commentators above mentioned any of the above.

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Yes

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Because your post is very DATA driven. So who's the one trolling!

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Nice strawman

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Who the hell is denying racism exists in Boston? It obviously does. The sky is also blue, grass is green, and water is wet.

This isn't about people being racist (in Boston or anywhere). Its about whether the licensing board is racist in its rulings. I will be curious to see the data, but based off of adams posts I don't think they are. Wildly unfair, inconsistent and pandering to friends of politicians, absolutely. But if they are unfair to minorities I suspect its a side effect of that, not racism.

What I want to know is if the licensing boards craziness is found to not be discrimitory if anything will be done, or if its all okay as long as its not bigotry.

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"But if they are unfair to

"But if they are unfair to minorities I suspect its a side effect of that, not racism."

I'm sorry, I know this is uncivil, but only racists make distinctions like that when it comes to racism. And yes, that really does mean I'm calling you a racist.

Despite what white people assert civil rights means, the Constitution and federal law are quite clear on the matter: public services cannot discriminate against minorities. If the discrimination is a side effect of "political connections," that does not absolve the crime. It's still unconstitutional. It's still a violation of a decades-old act of Congress. It's still the government perpetuating the systematic oppression of racial minorities, especially black people.

This is freaking high school civics.

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High School Civics?

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I'll raise you elementary school english.

side effect

noun
1. any effect of a substance or action that is in addition to its intended effect, especially an effect that is harmful or unpleasant.
2. any accompanying or consequential and usually detrimental effect: the side effects of air pollution.

If I enjoy spending a lot of time in my backyard, I am more likely to trample ant hills. This does not mean that I hate ants, but that a side effect of being back there more often raises the probability that I will step on them.

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Race reassignment?

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The board has been chaired by Nicole Murati-Ferrer, who is latina, since 2010.

What was she before 2010?

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more modifier madness

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In 2011, Gov. Patrick appointed retired judge Milton Wright, who is black, to the board.

What is he to everyone else?

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Grammer is in the details?

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I think that the grammar is okay because the second comma separates the two phrases. If the second comma was missing, such as "who is latina since 2010" then the meaning would be odd.

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PEDANTS UNITE!!

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No shit. But it's like inefficient computer code - it may get the job done and follow the rules, but it's inelegant.

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.

or

Since 2010 the board has been chaired by Nicole Murati-Ferrer, who is latina. In 2011, Gov. Patrick appointed an African-American, retired judge Milton Wright, to the board.

Mainly a style issue, but I think most editors would say go with the sentence that leaves little to no opportunity for misreading.
But whatever. It. was. a. wise. ass. joke.

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grammar dude, grammar

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See how the the two prepositional phrases at the end are separated by commas? That means they are both modifying earlier parts of the sentence - not each other. The adjective prepositional phrase who is latina, modifies the object "Nicole Murati-Ferrer", and the adverb phrase since 2010 modifies the verb phrase "been chaired".

The sentence is grammatically correct.

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You are correct

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A paralegal for a lawyer that was disbarred and his major clients were nightclub owners who are being hammered by her now.

This is why it's so hard to

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This is why it's so hard to elect black politicians to high offices in this country. When you generate support in the black community by making a career of poking whitey in the eye with a sharp stick, you'll always be stuck in your local office. Obama rose by coming from outside the Chicago black machine, and keeping his distance from the dedicated bias-hunters like Pressley. Deval was another outsider, who didn't make his career on the endless search for insult.

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Re: That's a pretty scurillous statement about Pressley

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To say Councillor Pressley built her career on "poking whitey in the eye with a sharp stick" is nonsense. You will not find one credible observer of Boston politics who believes that about her.

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"Poking whitey in the eye

"Poking whitey in the eye with a sharp stick" = "pointing out that the existing racism of white people hurts black people, a truth which white people are highly uncomfortable with." Actually dropping the term "whitey" indicates that this is all about this dude's racial resentment and nothing to do with local politics. This is also true for national politics.

People still say Malcolm X was a radical, a whitey eye-poker, if you will. At worst, he was a bit rude to white people, and, unforgivably, well-versed in history.

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Pressley is onto something. I

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Pressley is onto something. I don't think it is mere "bias-hunting" at all. The whole liquor license racket stinks to high heaven and this is one aspect of the abuse and corruption it is bound to spawn. If there are a limited number of licenses, why wouldn't everyone involved look the other way when black owned bars give the authorities the opportunity to take the license away and sell it to someone who can pay lots of money for it--isn't that the way this works or am I missing something? It's way easier for the public, if they were even paying attention, to believe that a bar full of black people in Roxbury is more dangerous and therefore deserving of having its license stripped than it would be to convince them that a predominantly white establishment in West Roxbury is sordid and violent. Again, that would be assuming that most people even give one crap about this issue, and I can tell you that they do not. But maybe I am talking to the wrong people? Maybe there are people in the black community who are beginning to see that this license business really is stacked in favor of rich, white areas over areas where there are more poor people, many of whom are black. And why the hell shouldn't black people have a place nearby to go and have a drink? Why should that only be for people who live in "nice" places?

Seriously, I want you to tell me what I've got wrong here. Maybe the liquor licenses aren't resold when they are taken away? But they surely don't give them away?

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Didn't view the Public Meeting of Boston City Council ?

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Didn't view the Public Meeting of Boston City Council? Ask for the remarks of the Boston City Councilors, ask for the plain text full Stenographic Record of the Public Meeting of Boston City Council. Read and reply with feedback to your favorite Boston City Councilors' remarks. Plain text full Stenographic Record a more complete document than minutes, a very convenient document for hard of hearing folks, for all folks
http://www.cityofboston.gov/contact/?id=138

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Didn't see the hearing?

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Wait a day or so, then go here and look for the meeting date. Click on it, find the item you're interested in, click on that and you'll get to see/hear that section of the meeting. It's kind of cool.

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Hard of hearing?... plain text full Stenograph Record.

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Hard of hearing?... ask for the plain text full Stenograph Record. Read the remarks of your favorite City Councilor and reply with feedback, comment, suggestions, questions, concerns. Campaigning for a favorite Councilor?... send around the remarks the Councilor. This is how to improve Council Communications. Already budgeted for with public funds, ask for the plain text full Stenographic Record. Stay tuned for a profile of the City Stenographer. An ever more open Boston City Council, more accessible with the public funded Stenograph Record posted online or available via
http://www.cityofboston.gov/contact/?id=138

Nothing wrong with asking for the data

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If Ayanna is getting complaints, she should respond in some way. She should also do a little research on the establishments making the complaints, and any incidents.

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