Atlantic City Effort To Deny Gas Service To Illegal ATV’s Is Dangerous
This is a textbook case of good intentions run amok.
The Atlantic City Council, by a narrow 5 to 4 margin on first reading, voted to approve a City Ordinance that would prevent gasoline stations from selling gas to those riders of “illegal” ATV’s.
There is no doubt that large numbers of ATV riders have become very disruptive to the daily lives of Atlantic City residents, business owners and visitors.
These motorized vehicles are loud and the riders gather in large, menacing numbers that had created a threatening, bad environment.
Atlantic City Police Chief Jim Sarkos supports the Ordinance. I don’t blame him, because something needs to be done.
However, not this. You just can’t expect gasoline station owners and attendants to manage this Ordinance. It’s unworkable.
The Ordinance calls for gasoline station owners and attendants to deny service to these riders. That’s potentially very dangerous to them.
The Ordinance is also problematic as it actually has no “teeth” in it. If a gas station owner or attendant feels threatened, then they can provide gasoline service to these riders of street illegal ATVs.
However, they are next responsible to call the Atlantic City Police Department within one hour of providing and an ATV rider with gasoline service.
Atlantic City Council President George Tibbitt voted no and is opposed to this Ordinance. Tibbitt was joined by Council members Jesse Kurtz, LaToya Dunston and Bruce Weekes, who also voted no.
We caught-up with Tibbitt last night who said, “I find it irresponsible to make a gas station attendant responsible to enforce this ill-conceived Ordinance.”
“We need the state of New Jersey to change the laws and even federal intervention regarding this mounting problem,” said Tibbitt.
The Street illegal ATV’s have become a major quality of life issue in Atlantic City. Groups of 10, 15 and 20 people are riding these vehicles together at all hours of the night.
It is sending a chilling effect throughout the community.
We spoke with Garden State Fuels owner Naeem Khan. He is furious about this proposed City Ordinance and he did not hold back his feelings during our conversation last night.
“This is Bulls***,” said Khan. “I don’t understand these five Councilman who voted for this … sitting in their offices and doing nothing.”
”I paid $ 100,000 in just federal taxes. My money is going to pay these stupid Council members. His can I fight with 20 people at one time, perhaps some of them with guns,” said Khan.
”Why would I and my staff have to deal with this and then be called a rat? We’re not here to fight. We need more police,” said Khan.
Khan expressed legitimate concerns that if his staff felt threatened and provided gasoline service to these illegal ATV riders, he fears that they could become violent and cause significant property damage.
Khan believes that the requirement that they call the police within one hour, will ead the ATV riders to return and seek revenge.
The law of unintended consequences here is fraught with potential peril.
Multiple well placed Atlantic City sources have advised that they expect this proposed city ordinance to fail on its second reading.
The second reading also constitutes a public hearing, whereby members of the public are granted the opportunity to speak on a proposed city ordinance.
This ordinance appears to be helpful on the surface, however, once you examine all of the facts surrounding it, it’s actually very bad legislation that could easily create more problems than it will solve.
SOURCES: Atlantic City Council President George Tibbitt & Naeem Khan, owner of Garden State Fuels.