Time to Regulate All Those Antique Stores

by on June 17, 2011 · 31 comments

in Ocean Beach, Popular, San Diego, Satire

By Jack Hamlin/ Special to the OB Rag

With the proliferation of Antique Stores in the Ocean Beach business district and in the greater San Diego area, I believe it is high time the City Council formed a task force to create regulations for these types of businesses. After all, they are popping up all over and as a homegrown problem the police need tools to oversee the manner in which these places do business.

If in fact this is not the first robbery of Antique’s Mall, clearly there is a danger of increased criminal activity in the neighborhood, and it is clearly a result of the presence of antiques. And this is something we, as a community must do something about.

I have some suggestions:

First, have these sorts of businesses restricted to only commercial areas off the beaten track…at least 600 feet from any school, playground or church, and at least 100o feet between each store .

Second, have them go through a very stringent and expensive licensing process. In that way we can weed out these fly by night ne’er do wells who are taking advantage of the current lax climate without regulation.

Third, all of them should have full time security personnel. All employees must go through a thorough background check, and no criminal history will be allowed.

Fourth, no “antiquing” should be allowed on site, and certainly no expert consultation should be allowed either.

Fifth, strict regulations for the packaging and transportation of antiques, including licensing which will help recoup the cost of regulation.

Finally, all the antique stores should be operated as non-profits.

I was thinking of sending these ideas to the City’s Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee and Land Use and Housing Committee. Thoughts?

Editor: If you have trouble understanding this post, please see the listed categories.

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar annagrace June 17, 2011 at 11:01 am

Antique stores are just asking for it, aren’t they? Showing off their wares like that. Nice stores wouldn’t do something like that.

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avatar thinking out loud June 17, 2011 at 11:15 am

is this humor?

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avatar Frank Gormlie June 17, 2011 at 11:18 am

TOL – see article’s description right underneath the headline.

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avatar Gary Gilmore June 19, 2011 at 11:50 am

Jack, when I first started reading your post I was ready to jump down your throat. after a few paragraphs I started to snicker. By the time I finished reading it I was laughing out loud.

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avatar R.B. June 17, 2011 at 11:17 am

Sounds to me like you have a crime problem, not an antique shop problem.

Antique Shops are only targeted because they often deal in high-dollar items and robbers know that they have a better chance at getting a good take from robbing these, instead of the mandantory hourly-cash-drop convenience store on the corner.

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avatar thinking out loud June 17, 2011 at 11:28 am

Not very funny….the owner had a shotgun in his face and the face of his daughter…He was bound with gray tape and feared for his life !!
The owner was visibly shaken and sheet white 3 hours after the robbery.
This is one of the OB local merchants you staunchly protect in all your editorials now you make light of his experience ?
I am sure Ken Freeman would not think it is very funny.
just my thoughts.

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avatar Molly June 17, 2011 at 11:37 am

thinking… how many pot dispensaries have been robbed? Robbery is never a joke if it happens to you. Have you been as upset about those? This appears to be a little levity offered up for us – and I thought it was terribly funny. BTW , who is Ken Freeman?

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avatar Seth June 19, 2011 at 12:55 am

+1

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avatar Gary Gilmore June 19, 2011 at 11:45 am

Ken Freeman is the guy who had the shotgun in his face.

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avatar Seth June 19, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Thank, Gary. I was agreeing with thinking out loud’s post, not Molly’s. The site format is a bit confusing there. I don’t really see this as funny or an appropriate opportunity to grind a political axe. Pot dispensaries are not the only businesses that get robbed, but they definitely, definitely do. What is actually being argued here is that pot dispensaries should have been allowed to move into OB en masse and without much regulation. That could end up meaning a lot of things, and quite possibly gentrification via pot tourists IMO, but this was not a very considerate way to make a point on it. Glad that Ken and his daughter are OK.

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avatar Shane Finneran June 19, 2011 at 2:40 pm

When I smile as I read the article, it’s because the satire is brilliant. Two of the main arguments against dispensaries are (1) they have proliferated and (2) they bring about crime. This article exposes these two arguments for what they are: weak excuses for continuing the senseless, expensive, and violence-engendering prohibition of marijuana.

I suppose I see how some readers could conclude that it makes light of the antique store hold-up. But IMHO the potential for misinterpretation doesn’t mean the author or the publisher should have put the kibosh on the piece.

Might the robbery victims be offended? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, I’m not sure that’s relevant, given the societal importance of this article’s argument. (Similarly, I don’t think photos of KIA soldiers should be kept out of American media … the justification offered for that censorship is something akin to “respect,” but IMHO intangibles like “respect” are way too subjective to get in the way of free speech and the open debate of important issues.)

Wikipedia on satire: “Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satire

LAPD chief on dispensary crime: “”Banks are more likely to get robbed than medical marijuana dispensaries” … In 2009, LosAng had 350 banks and 71 bank robberies, versus more than 800 dispensaries and 47 dispensary robberies.
http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_14206441
(in the spirit of full disclosure, the chief does think the number of dispensaries in LA should be limited to “about 75.”)

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avatar Seth June 19, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Shane, appreciate your thoughts. You make good points, as always. Personally, I find that this pot discussion has a lot of wide-ranging elements to it, but that as far as OB dispensaries are concerned, it is a pretty narrow discussion for me. We are talking about the potential land use impacts of these businesses in our neighborhood, and not about legalization, decriminalization or even whether medicinal marijuana should be available.

For myself, it boils down to a few basic points, all of which I think have some degree of truth to them.

There are people who benefit from these medical services for whom access is an issue, and surely several dispensaries who are willing to go about this the right way — defined in my eyes as a willingness to come before the community and outline how they intend to operate a safe, well-maintained business within OB.

You or I might think pot should be legal, and not classified in the same category as harder drugs like coke or heroin, but since it is not yet legalized in CA and the US, there is in fact an extensive black market for it that has extensive participation from gangs throughout the continent, and particularly in CA and Northern Mexico. I don’t use a broad brush to paint every user, dealer or grower with that label, but let’s also not pretend that this element does not exist. If someone said that legalization would curtail some of this, I’m listening, but as it stands, there is extensive illegal money to be made, and plenty of violence associated with that, in places not too far from OB (to an extent far greater than the antiques industry, I suspect).

I have enough knowledge of these businesses throughout the state to say that not all of them are in it for cancer patients, that many are essentially drug fronts or money laundering operations and that many of them do get robbed frequently.

As to your point about banks and crime rates, I would mention first that banks are in fact pretty regulated in this respect, second that yeah, free cash is a desirable good among criminals and many others, and third, that for the dispensaries who are up to no good, they might not be that inclined to call the police into it when they are the victims of crime. The community having some discretionary ability in terms of “weeding” out the less desirable businesses is a good thing, I think, especially in terms of helping to preserve the community character of OB and the mom-and-pop nature of our local businesses. And again, a couple of safe and well-maintained dispensaries are perfectly welcome in this community, as far as I am concerned.

The big irony to me here, however, is that the pot advocates pretty much won on all of this, given what there was to actually win. Perhaps they are too stoned to realize it (kidding), but in the end, the City backed down from 1,000 foot buffer zones to 600-foot ones, and from a Process 4 permitting process to a Process 3. This is really not that different from what a prospective liquor store is required to do.

Contrast with the more draconian County of SD regulations, or dispensaries being banned in IB jut this past week:

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/jun/16/imperial-beach-bans-medical-marijuana-dispensaries/

In any event, no disrespect to Ken or anyone else, I just feel like this was a pretty traumatic experience for anyone to go through, especially with their child also being threatened, and think there are surely better ways to get one’s point across without making light of that person’s misfortune on the internet.

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avatar Shane Finneran June 20, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Thanks for the smart and civil discourse, Seth (and thanks to the OB Rag for providing a forum for yet another interesting debate).

I’m glad to hear you’re open to well-managed dispensaries, and perhaps outright legalization, as well. I’ve been on the road for the last few weeks, and hadn’t realized that the city took a step back from its initial zone-’em-out-of-existence approach. (Similarly, shame on IB.)

As for treating pot shops like liquor stores, I think a drug-store model would be more appropo. I see pot as far less dangerous than alcohol, both to the consumer and society at large. And weed has several medicinal benefits, not just for cancer sufferers but folks afflicted with chronic pain, with glaucoma, with insomnia, with anxiety, with depression, etc. So why treat it like a booze-type menace?

Actually, this brings another point about “making light” of serious issues to mind: how often do medicinal marijuana users have to put up with smart-ass comments about weed? How often do victims of the gangs you mention have to hear decriminalization debates trivialized by pot jokes?

Pres. Obama, for example, has cracked wise about weed and refused to seriously discuss it. Meanwhile, sick people suffer needlessly and innocents are murdered by black marketeers. To me, that’s offensive.

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avatar Frank Gormlie June 20, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Shane – ! Great to hear from you. Heard you busted a wrist – ouch! Did you have to have a cast? At least now you don’t have to pick the berries, just sell them. Plastic or paper or cast material? Has it hurt your typing?

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avatar Shane Finneran June 20, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Wow, Frank, you are well informed! Yes, broke my left wrist in a Robb Field softball game 2 weeks ago. Doc put a screw in it, and I will be sporting a splint for awhile, but no cast necessary… the screw is enough to hold the bone in place.

Hurts a bit, and typing will be a one-hand process for awhile, but the injury has excused me from some farm labors! Still, I’m keeping busy from sun up to sun down… there’s always some work to be done on the farm this time of year.

Will be out of town during the OB Street fair again this year, dang it. Party it up for me!

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avatar Frank Gormlie June 20, 2011 at 7:03 pm

So does the screw set off any metal detectors? Are you now allowed to get a card?

avatar thinking out loud June 17, 2011 at 11:44 am

m: don’t really know

ken was the one robbed…

its just my opinion take it as that.

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avatar annagrace June 17, 2011 at 12:06 pm

The mordant humor expressed in this post and in my own comment have a sharp critical quality rather than the amusing/funny quality of regular humor. As someone who has been both robbed and raped (two different events), I understand the power of the former and the questionable use of the latter on this topic. That being said, the attempt at a biting critical humor is not always successful nor necessarily viewed as appropriate.

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avatar Jack June 17, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I would suggest anyone who takes umbrage to my politically satiric piece, read my editorial form the September/October issue of NUG magazine. The site is below. It is a pdf, and you will need to scroll to page 52.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/31229091/NUG-Magazine-September-October-2009

That said, anyone who knows me would realize I would never make light of such a horrifically violent act. My heart goes out to the family who were terrorized, and it is my hope they will be able to find a healing peace, and we as a community can be a part of the process.

Peace, Jack

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avatar thinking out loud June 18, 2011 at 11:42 am

you did make light of it.
the guy was shaking and damm near in tears 3 hours after the incident ..nuf said on this…

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avatar Shane Finneran June 17, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Thank you to the author for calling out antiques as the societal menace that they are.

As everyone knows, antiques are a “gateway” collectible that too often lead their purchasers into a downward spiral of filling their homes with expensive piles of useless old shit.

Many who decide to just experiment with antiques, but before they know what hit them, they’ve got a serious hoarding problem.

How many of us have to be been harassed at the OB sea wall by young street people asking for “a little antique money” before we stop this madness?!

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avatar annagrace June 17, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Shane- You’ve returned from the heartland with your humor intact! Speak to us of your travels & welcome home!

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avatar Frank Gormlie June 17, 2011 at 8:22 pm

I don’t think he’s back yet, but I think they have electricity in Minnesota. Oh, and the inter-net, eh?

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avatar bob June 17, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Regulations and taxation are signs of a mental disorder! Getting the police, creating another bcratic department is what this country does not need. Bcrats are whats gone wrong with America!!!! Liberalism is a Mental Disorder!!!! Geeezzzussss One anal retentive is scary. Retentive liberals are like 1933 Germany!!!!

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avatar bob June 17, 2011 at 8:25 pm

its high time the City Council formed a task force to look into the progressive anti American movement in our land.

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avatar Bob 3 June 18, 2011 at 11:05 am

Don’t forget the mandatory drug testing. Once a week should be sufficient.

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avatar tj June 18, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Satire you say – we’re so close to the above being a reality scenerio that it certainly isn’t obvious.

And you were warned:
“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.”
Thomas Jefferson

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avatar Citizen Cane June 18, 2011 at 4:39 pm

I wish the city slickers worried as much about gasoline stations as they do about pot stores. We have a gas station right next to Dusty Rhodes Park, another across the street from a health food store, another near Sunset Cliffs Park, and another across the street from an elementary school. That last one is also across the alley from the public library.

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avatar ss June 19, 2011 at 11:52 am

It is not the antique stores I mind so much as the people who frequent them. They take up valuable parking often stroll the streets looking weird, socks with sandals and such. Have there been studies on how they disrupt the local merchants and where else they may frequent, are they really a boon to the local old time atmosphere of OB. And who is to say if that stuff the shops sell is really safe for any one. After all most of it is really old and it may not be safe.
I have directed my children not to frequent those shops.

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avatar lauren shumway matthias June 20, 2011 at 3:03 am

Sorry, I don’t see how more regulation of small business helps out. . . Or that “antiquing” poses some kind of grave danger to the community. Sorry you don’t like socks with sdandals. I personally don’t see the appeal either, but regulation based on this?? come on dude!

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avatar lauren shumway matthias June 20, 2011 at 3:07 am

Oh yeah, satire. . . I forgot. what a concept.

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