City should not stunt small business
For the past several months I have been reading about the difficulties of small-business entrepreneurs in the Thousand Oaks area, and the problems they are having with the city government's regulations about doing business. It appears to me that the city is intent upon taking an adversarial role when it comes to people coming up with new and creative ways of doing business in Thousand Oaks.
I am speaking specifically about the portable car washes, flower vendors, and most recently, the used-car lot in Newbury Park.
From my own experience as a unique-type small-businessperson (balloon art), I can attest to the difficulty in finding out information about city regulations as it pertains to my business.
I have spent much time in the City Hall trying to find out what restrictions they have on, for instance, balloon releases.
Now, perhaps there are no restrictions, but the employees don't even seem to know where to look for the information, I want to be a responsible business person, but feel I have received little assistance from the city to achieve this.
Let's suppose these businesses in question knew the law and did not follow the rules.
Is it right, then to threaten to shut them down, or is there an alternative?
I suggest looking for alternatives that all parties can live with is more amenable to a win/win situation for all.
I do not see that in our city.
Must we be afraid of our city; even I feel I have put myself at risk by stating my viewpoint?
With the economy as it is and people losing jobs, I applaud these innovative entrepreneurs. I suspect the city is getting heat from area car washes, florists, and car dealerships, and because of their numbers, they are a powerful lot.
I do not know if these small-business people attempted to become clear on the rules and regulations, but I believe it is possible they were not given adequate answers and now they are under attack. These people are trying to make a living like everyone else and have come up with some unique ideas to accomplish that.
Competition does not seem to be allowed when it impacts with the big business.
Protectionism only stunts growth.
Reprinted from The Acorn, March 15, 1993.