Over the years I have represented many Korean-American small business owners when Baltimore City acquired their stores, which included liquor outlets, as part of neighborhood renewal. Korean-American small business owners embody the American dream of immigrants striving to get ahead through hard work.

For the last 40 years, it was city policy to compensate the owners when it shuttered their businesses. Now, however, after many owners have scrimped and saved and worked for years to purchase liquor outlets that are absolutely legal in every respect, the city is switching gears and proposing to eliminate those businesses by revising the zoning code — and not pay the owners on cent in compensation.

I have no doubt that terrible hardships will result. City Councilwoman Rikki Spector described it as un-American, and I agree.

John C. Murphy