I always thought people in government claimed to be OUR servants?
This article makes it sounds like government in Mesa considers itself our royal master, rather then our servant.
Mesa backs tougher rules for convenience stores
Majority overrules police, mayor's option
by Gary Nelson - May. 6, 2011 12:48 AM
The Arizona Republic
A majority of the City Council overruled the Police Department and mayor Thursday in pushing for a tough ordinance to fight crime in Mesa's convenience stores.
The ordinance has been in progress for two years, a response to police concerns that some stores generate far more than their share of crime and calls for service.
Assistant Police Chief John Meza and other police representatives have been meeting with the industry during that time, trying to balance public-safety requirements with what some stores say would be overly burdensome regulations.
Meza offered two proposals to the council Thursday.
The first, which the majority of the council endorsed, would impose a long list of security measures on all stores regardless of their safety record. Some measures, such as height markers to help provide descriptions of suspects, would be relatively inexpensive. Others, including alarm systems, security cameras and outdoor lighting, could cost thousands of dollars. Beer coolers would be locked 2-6 a.m.
Stores that demonstrate hardship would be allowed to opt out of some requirements with police approval. Other stores that continued to have numerous calls for service might be required to install additional security measures.
The second option would involve a tiered approach. Stores with low calls for service over a four-year period would face less-stringent requirements. Stores with 70 or more calls a year - currently about 13 percent of the stores in Mesa - would face the strictest.
Meza said the first option, imposing the same requirements on every store, would be easier to administer. But he favored the second because it evolved from meetings with store owners and struck a reasonable balance between industry requirements and public safety.
Dennis Kavanaugh, who chairs the council's public safety committee, argued for the first option.
"Option 1 really is the option that offers the best opportunity for a safe environment for the public, the people who work in the stores and for officers who respond to those stores," Kavanaugh said.
Kavanaugh also said tying store requirements to the number of calls for service would be a disincentive for stores to call police.
Mayor Scott Smith backed the less-stringent approach, saying the industry's viewpoint should not be ignored.
"We have always used deference in this council to stakeholder input," he said. "I'm reluctant to go against an agreement that the Police Department and the stakeholders now agree to that says this solves the problem."
Smith also said he was puzzled by the idea that a high-crime store could escape stricter regulations just by claiming financial hardship.
Further, he said, it's unlikely stores would refuse to call police just because they were worried about getting bumped into the next-highest level of security requirements.
"You've mitigated that by going to the four-year average," Smith said, "which means there would really have to be a concerted effort by an owner over a long period of time to avoid police calls."
Not only does that fly in the face of human nature, Smith said, it also would violate policies set by corporate owners and insurance companies.
The 4-3 vote for the tougher option, with Smith, Alex Finter and Dave Richins on the losing end, is not the end of the story.
The ordinance will be introduced during an upcoming Monday night City Council meeting, and under the typical timetable it would be voted upon two weeks later, with the public having an opportunity to comment on the night of the vote.