Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Suggestion to Los Angeles' Business Community: Camp Outside City Hall

It's hardly a secret that the city of Los Angeles is notoriously hostile to private enterprise. There are the horrible taxes, which the government is reluctant to reform in spite of its 12% unemployment rate. There's the daunting maze of regulations and licensing requirements, which has led to a thriving underground economy there. And many of the city's small business owners have reason to complain about exorbitant rents and an inadequate police presence near their shops. With all of this, you might think that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is deaf to the concerns of the ordinary citizens trying to make ends meet in LA. Yet according to this LA Times report, you'd be wrong: apparently all you need to get the mayor's attention is a camp on the steps of City Hall and an incoherent list of demands.

I made my own head hurt with this move.

Even though the Occupy LA protests have yet to make any actual demands, and indeed don't appear to have any sort of leadership or spokesperson, the city's government is apparently sick of the encampment outside City Hall. As such, they've offered the Occupiers a sweetheart deal that many small businesses in LA would kill for: 10,000 square feet of downtown office space, on a $1 annual lease. What's more, Los Angeles is also offering free farmland to protesters who wish to use it, and to construct housing for the homeless who have joined the protests. Yes, you read that correctly: in order to avoid a violent, Oakland-esque confrontation with a protest they want to disperse, Villaraigosa is willing to basically hand them valuable property. It's not clear who the city is negotiating with, but we're sure its beleaguered and ignored law-abiding citizens are enjoying the red-carpet treatment an angry mob is receiving.


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