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Dear City Government:Here’s how to drive out jobs

From a businessman friend who lives in one of those mega-governed states. He sent the following this morning with permission to blog it:

One of my clients is developing alternative energy technology. They actually have a pretty good idea, one that might work and be profitable.

They built a proof of concept, small-sized version of their product. Now it is time to build a larger one. I suggested they look at a nearby industrial park. It has the power, the space, and a landlord with lots of free space to rent.

Everything looked good until they asked about putting up a temporary metal building in the largely unutilized rear parking lot. They need a fair bit of space for the demonstration.

Landlord’s face fell. “I’m sorry, the town won’t allow that. The town requires 4 parking spaces per thousand square feet. We have less than 1 per thousand square feet. They harass us constantly about this. I’ve been paying my maintenance staff to drive around three times a day counting the empty parking spaces, and showing the town that there is never a problem, but they won’t budge. There’s no way they would let us take even more spaces.”

So this company will go somewhere else. They certainly won’t move to this town, very possibly not anywhere in this state.

This represents the loss of 35 jobs, today. If the demonstration is successful and they grow and prosper, there is literally no telling how big the firm might become.

But one thing we do know is that busybody, unaccountable parking Nazis have driven 35 jobs out of this town, never to return.

People wonder what is wrong with the economy and why unemployment is so high. This silly little story won’t make any newspapers. The company has better things to do than literally fight city hall. The landlord won’t rent 20,000 square feet of space, but also has no desire to provoke the Nazis still further by pointing out the consequences of their folly.

Unless and until we as a nation start throwing government out of every aspect of industry and commerce, this sort of job-killing insanity will continue. There are reasons plants are going up in China, India, and elsewhere while they are being shuttered here. Take the parking story and multiply it by 100,000 times and you begin to see the magnitude of this problem.


  1. bumperwack
    bumperwack February 25, 2011 3:23 pm

    tar,feathers and rope…only way this can be fixed

  2. clarence
    clarence February 25, 2011 3:49 pm

    linked to this over at tmm.

    i think your friend is off by a magnitude. i won’t bore you with the many stories i could tell about the same attitude from large to small towns.


  3. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal February 25, 2011 4:01 pm

    I hope he made sure this will be seen by people who live in the area infested by these stupid bureaucrats.

  4. Big Wooly
    Big Wooly February 25, 2011 5:33 pm

    When are we going to start telling them to “go to hell”? Why aren’t we using the web to coordinate a government boycott and start ignoring bullcrap like this? How about a system of lawyers that are on our side to systematically tie up the repercussions of ignoring stupid regulations like this? If we could keep the local nazi’s busy defending their reg’s at least they won’t have time to pass new ones.

  5. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal February 25, 2011 9:39 pm

    I don’t know, Big Wooly. It seems it’s different departments of nazis who defend the regulations and who pass them. You’d probably only make jobs for more of the one sort without slowing down the others.

  6. leon
    leon February 25, 2011 10:42 pm

    This is probably not really about parking, or about regulations, or about anything substantive.

    This sounds like the kind of problem that just disappears after you donate the appropriate amount to the right campaign fund.

    A shakedown, in other words.

    Maybe the landlord backed the wrong candidate, or something. It could even be personal.

  7. Big Wooly
    Big Wooly February 26, 2011 10:10 am

    That’s what lawyers are for! Make it a double fronted assault by suing the nazi’s personally as well. That’ll get their attention. I’ve heard of a business on the web that does nothing but look for someone re-posting material that was originally posted by someone else, then entering a lawsuit to extort money from them. How about a business that does nothing but sue nazi’s for lost business or lost income? I’m sure it’s a losing proposition, but we could sure keep ’em busy.

  8. s
    s February 26, 2011 12:59 pm

    Knock yourself out, Big Wooly. Sue everyone in sight. Convince government-paid judges to reign in overweening government. Let us know how it works out for you.

    Those of us who have to earn a profit, make a living, we don’t have time, money, or energy for pursuing losing propositions. When the parking nazis, zoning nazis, smoking nazis, code nazis, health nazis, or any of the other nazis come a-calling, we either deal with them or leave and go someplace else.

    Lawyers and lawsuits are expensive. The nazis don’t pay the costs they impose upon others.

  9. bumperwack
    bumperwack February 26, 2011 1:31 pm

    I’ll stand by my first comment!

  10. Claire
    Claire February 26, 2011 4:53 pm

    Big Wooly, I have to second what S says. The lawsuit-extortion company you’re thinking of is Righthaven (here’s a website for its victims: ). Righthaven operates by targeting little people who don’t have the means to fight back. As you note, it is purely an extortion racket. Similarly, we’ve all heard of SLAPP lawsuits brought by big, wealthy companies against underfunded activists with the sole purpose of intimidating them into shutting up and going away.

    Unfortunately, these tactics only work for the powerful against the powerless.

    A business person suing a city over very theoretical lost income would be fighting an opponent with deep pockets, lawyers on its payroll, and nothing to lose. Should the business somehow manage to win without bankrupting itself, the city wouldn’t pay. The citizens would. Your heart’s in the right place. But it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which this would do anything but destroy businesses financially — and make them even bigger targets for vengeful regulators, inspectors, etc.

  11. Big Wooly
    Big Wooly February 26, 2011 6:28 pm

    Claire, I fear that you are right. And so is bumperwack.

  12. Ron Johnson
    Ron Johnson February 27, 2011 9:35 am

    I’m afraid the problem is busybodies. They want what they want, and they do not take responsibility for the harm they do. I’ll be going to a planning commission meeting to testify against a petition that calls for an architectural review of any fences business wants to put up, all because she is offended by the cedar fence a local golf course erected when their split rail fence decayed.

    There’s nothing wrong with the fence. She just doesn’t like it. That’s the beginning and end of her argument.

  13. Kentucky Kid
    Kentucky Kid February 27, 2011 11:46 am

    I believe Leon is very close to the truth of the matter.

  14. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty February 28, 2011 9:13 am

    This is also not anything new. Forty years ago I decided not to go into business for myself because of endless regulations and taxes. It’s only gotten worse, and all I can say is that it is a miracle anyone goes into or stays in business these days.

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