Tag Archives: Local Level Cronyism

Police Department Cronyism in South Florida

Melissa Sanchez and Brenda Medina of the Miami Herald write about a blatant case of cronyism occurring in Sweetwater, Florida.

…Sweetwater police officers knew what was expected of them when they patrolled the streets of this small city in west Miami-Dade.

They were to arrest the highest number possible of suspects in order to tow their vehicles, even if the towing had no connection to the alleged crime.

Towing represented a lucrative business for the city.

Sweetwater depended on the $500 administrative fine it collected from people recovering their vehicles. In fact, the city had set a yearly goal of $168,000 of these fines under the category of “miscellaneous revenue” in its police budget.

And the company, Southland The Towing Company, was partly owned by former Mayor Manuel “Manny” Maroño for quite awhile — although many officers apparently had no knowledge of that.

Arresting, then towing became the norm in Sweetwater, according to several officers who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Figures show 37 percent of all arrests in Sweetwater last year resulted in towing.

The Million-Dollar Bus Stop Breaks

Ryan Young from OpenMarket.org has posted his latest blog-post in which we see the latest great investment that Arlington, Virginia has done.

Arlington, Virginia, recently caused a national stir when it built a $1 million bus stop. The prototype “super stop” was intended to be a model for future stops along Columbia Pike.

While the super stop does have a heated concrete floor, it is only partially enclosed, so it doesn’t shelter riders from wind. Riders also quickly found out that its rakishly angled roof doesn’t keep rain out. They still got wet.

 

Commercial dog walkers must follow new law

Kale Williams at the San Francisco Chronicle writes about new regulations that force dog walkers to get a license and submit to other restrictions. This will only make it harder for new people to getting into the dog walking business, while protecting people who already have their licenses.

“Our industry needs to be regulated,” Gardner said. “Not everyone with a leash and a car should be allowed to be a dog walker.”

If dog walkers need licenses to protect the public, then is there any job that wouldn’t?

Nashville’s Anti-Competitive ‘Black-Car’ Regulations

Mark W. Frankena writes in Cato’s Regulation magazine about some cronyism occurring in Nashville, where regulations are preventing competition in the transportation sector.

For years, black-car service was free of municipal regulation. Nashville residents and visitors requested black-car service when they preferred its combination of service and fares to the available alternatives. Then, in 2010, Nashville’s elected Metro County
Council voted 38–0 to impose regulations on black cars. Some of the regulations make it impossible for them to compete for roughly half the trips they were providing and would have continued to provide absent the regulations.

The anti-competitive regulations harm Nashville’s residents and visitors alike, and enable taxi and limousine companies to earn higher profits. Black-car companies filed a lawsuit in federal court in an attempt to eliminate the worst of the regulations, based on constitutional protections for economic liberty. Unfortunately, in January 2013 a jury voted 8–0 to uphold the regulations. This article tells the story behind those events, and why Nashville is worse off because of them.

Victory for Atlanta Vendors

The Institute for Justice received a victory in Atlanta after the administration’s severe reaction to the court ruling against efforts to limit public-property vending to General Growth Properties. The court’s newest ruling, however, reinstated the rights of street vendors.

Rather than accept the Court’s ruling, Mayor Kasim Reed and his administration chose to implement a scorched-earth policy against Atlanta’s street vendors. In late March, Mayor Reed shut down all vending on public land citywide, throwing dozens of vendors out of work right before the Braves opening day and the NCAA’s Final Four…Yesterday’s ruling, however, clarifies that the Mayor was wrong.

Los Angeles shocks Uber, Sidecar, and Lyft with Cease & Desist orders despite state authorization

Michael Carney at Pandodaily writes about the ongoing battle between innovative transportation start-up companies, and the restrains that state and local governments place on them in order to benefit the existing transportation sector.

If recent evidence is any indication, the battle between transportation regulators and ride-sharing startups is a rite of passage for major American cities. To the extent that this is the case, Los Angeles is about to be bar mitzvahed. Yesterday, the city sent near-identical cease and desist letters to Uber, Sidecar, and Lyft demanding that each cease operating an “automobile-for-hire” business without a permit.

Gov’t and the Big Boys Love Playing the Schoolyard Bully

If there is one thing the insidious relationship between government and big business can do, it’s crush the little guy (i.e., growth-creating innovation). In this latest round of bullying, the San Francisco airport and the city attorney filed suit against FlightCar, a paradigm-shifting car rental business — started by teenagers:

Said three teenagers to themselves last year: “Yeah, sure, we could go to college. But wouldn’t it be more fun to up-end the airport rental car business?”

Oconee County Council Opens Corporate-Welfare ‘Pandora’s box’

Donna Linsin, a citizen reporter for the Nerve Center website, details some of the corporate welfare giveaways that the Oconee County Council has decided to bestow on some real estate developers. $1 million dollars to build a private hotel, $3.5 million dollars to build student housing, and a church parking lot are just a few of the projects:

If you are a private developer and do not have the funds to develop your project in Oconee County, County Council will help make it easier by giving you millions of dollars of taxpayer money. It is seen by local taxpayers as a corporate welfare program of the county.

Louisiana, we have a problem.

JR Ball, a writer for the Baton Rouge-based publication Business Report, discusses the latest goodies that a private enterprise is receiving from a local government. Costco is the latest beneficiary from the race to the bottom that showers corporations with tax benefits with the hopes of attracting them to their town:

The three great issues of our time in the Capital Region are these: 1) protecting our turf in the global economy by using any government means necessary to score jaw-dropping wins in the retail and hotel sectors; 2) whether the luring of big-box behemoth Costco secures Baton Rouge a much-coveted seat at the exclusive table of world-class cities (out of our way, Venice!)