In a letter this week, Republican City Councilman David Oh called on Mayor Kenney "to halt the enforecement" of what merchants call the 11 o'clock ordinance — Section 9-627 — "until a proper mechanism is in place" to enforce the law in a "fair and accurate" way.
As the law stands, "Chinese takeout restaurants are unfairly targeted" in police-led enforcement of the law that requires businesses on residential blocks to close by 11 p.m., Oh told the mayor.
Since city government "has not implemented a procedure for accurately identifying commercial establishments that would be subjected to the city ordinance," the police who enforce the law are left without "proper tools to enforce the law," Oh added.
Given Oh's staff research (summarized in my Sunday column) that finds more than 96% of 500+ code violations issued under the law last fiscal year were against Chinese takeout restaurants — and 85%, so far, in the current fiscal year— "our findings strongly support the Chinese American community's claim that the law is discriminatory," as its its enforcement, Oh concluded.
City officials aren't jumping to comply. While a bill to reduce top fines on the ordinance to $300 from $2000 is under consideration in City Council, "any decision on potential changes in enforcement at this time would be premature," said Kenney spokesman Mike Dunn. "We are actively engaged in discussions on the matter" with the police, Licenses and Inspections, the Managing Director's Office and the Law Department, and Kenney is "always willing"'to meet again with Oh, Dunn added.