Newark Targets Newsstand After Owner Talks to Newspaper

he's hoping coverage keeps him openreason.comLast week, the Star Ledger’s Barry Carter wrote about the plight faced by a local newsstand owner in Newark, NJ who was having trouble getting the city to renew the license on his nearly 40-year-old business:

[Robert] Vernacchia, 69, doesn’t know how much longer he’ll be in business here because the city hasn’t renewed his license in four years and licensing agents have threatened to shut him down. Vernacchia says his license was renewed every year as long as the business facing his newsstand didn’t have a problem with him being there. All that changed in 2008 when Valu-Plus, a discount store that’s no longer in business, told the city it didn’t want the newsstand in front of its store anymore. As a result, Vernacchia said, the city denied his renewal application for a license when he reapplied.
Vernacchia, however, is still there peddling coffee, tea, snacks and years of friendship, not knowing what’s going to happen. "I feel like I’m on death row," said the Newark native who lives in Warren. The city didn’t have much to say and that’s been the problem. He doesn’t understand why.

Vernacchia told Carter he expected to feel some heat from the city for his comments. In yesterday's Star Ledger, Carter reports he was right:

A day after my column appeared, the 69-year-old vendor got hit with four summonses. None of them, surprisingly, had anything to do with the business license he needs for a newsstand. A detective from the licensing department gave him two tickets for not having an eatery license and another two for not having a food license. Talk about going out of your way to cause a guy trouble. "I knew they were going to come after me," Vernacchia said. "I had that feeling something was going to happen."

Meanwhile, the Institute for Justice has gotten in touch with Vernacchia and his wife, and an attorney from the Institute, Robert Frommer, tells me there’s no reason he can tell why Newark shouldn’t issue Vernacchia the license he’s requested.

shutting down for nowreason.com

In fact, Frommer says, the ordinance that required neighboring businesses’ consent for a license, which was likely unconstitutional, was repealed three years ago. “It’s a bit of a mystery of why they’re refusing to issue him a license,” says Frommer, pointing to a “culture of no” in Newark that often frustrates entrepreneurs. The Institute for Justice is seeking an answer from the city of Newark on where the “no” is coming from this time. Mayor Cory Booker’s office and the Councilman in whose district Vernacchia’s newsstand is located have not responded to requests for comment yet.

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  • Rich||

    All that changed in 2008 when Valu[dash]Plus, a discount store that[apostrophe]s no longer in business, told the city it didn[apostrophe]t want the newsstand in front of its store anymore.

    Emphases added. What's the rest of the story?

  • R C Dean||

    Bureaucratic inertia, would be my guess.

  • Rich||

    Vernacchia, however, is still there peddling coffee, tea, snacks and years of friendship, not knowing what[apostrophe]s going to happen.

    I suppose if he just hangs on another four years the problem will correct itself.

  • Jerryskids||

    Yeah, why would street vendors even be a problem?

    Sounds like the street vending industry needs better management.

  • o3||

    mr vernacchia could set his stand on fire so mayor booker could rush-in to save him. wins all around

  • Loki||

    a "culture of no" in Newark that often frustrates entrepreneurs.

    I don't think that problem's confined to just Newark.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    The fucking licensing department has someone whose title is "detective"?

    Fuck you, whoever you are.

  • Loki||

    Hey, if the Dept. of Education can have a SWAT team...

  • ||

    Dollars to donuts he either pissed off a council member or they have someone close to them who he competes with.

  • ||

    Yeah, I'm thinking some one with more political connections either wants his spot, or wants him gone.

  • db||

    I think he just failed to pay the squeeze. The licensing agent probably hinted vaguely at a quid pro quo, he failed to recognize the request cor what it was, and voila! no license.

  • NoVAHockey||

    Chief Wiggum: The guy I'm really looking for, wink,
    [winks]

    Chief Wiggum: is Mr. Bribe, wink, wink.

    [winks twice]

    Homer: It's a ring toss game.

    Chief Wiggum: All right, that's it. I'm shutting this game down.

  • NoVAHockey||

    Chief Wiggum: The guy I'm really looking for, wink,
    [winks]

    Chief Wiggum: is Mr. Bribe, wink, wink.

    [winks twice]

    Homer: It's a ring toss game.

    Chief Wiggum: All right, that's it. I'm shutting this game down.

  • BakedPenguin||

    But regulation creates jobs. Obama told me so.

  • Rhywun||

    "That's a nice newsstand you've got there..."

  • tarran||

    "It's a bit of a mystery of why they're refusing to issue him a license," says Frommer

    I thought the answer was obvious and didn't need to be stated: because fuck you, that's why...

  • WTF||

    "It's a bit of a mystery of why they're refusing to issue him a license"

    Fuck you, that's why.

  • ||

    tarran and WTF. Separated at birth? You decide.

  • WTF||

    Refresh is my friend.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Now, now, it's clear that without sufficient government oversight and control, Mr. Vernacchia might continue unscupulously foisting newspapers, magazines, tea, coffee and snacks on an unsuspecting public.

  • ChrisO||

    He's probably just not paying off the right "middlemen." He's probably lucky he hasn't been kneecapped.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Funny how Ron Paul gets tagged as "Dr. No" when the only entity he ever says NO to is government - whereas government seemingly says NO to everyone else except Wall Street.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Well, he does say no to all those parasites who depend on the government for their next helping of stolen money.

  • fried wylie||

    whereas government seemingly says NO to everyone else except Wall Street

    wallstreet, defense contractors, the drug cartels, saudis...

  • ||

    A detective from the licensing department gave him two tickets for not having an eatery license and another two for not having a food license.

    I know it's been said before in a million variations here, but it bears repeating: it's really sad that a guy can't just provide people goods and services they want. No one is complaining about him. People like him and what he sells. The city just wants to squeeze him for some money and exert some authoritah.

  • RPR2||

    a detective that writes tickets. talk about title inflation. you're a meter maid dude.

  • perlhaqr||

    Which is probably why he's such a dick.

  • perlhaqr||

    All right, so what's with the banner ads for Sheriff Joe Arpaio?

  • croaker||

    It is my considered opinion that New Jersey is the ass-crack of the United States.

    It is my considered opinion that Newark is the hemorrhoid on that ass-crack.

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