17 July 2006
I’ve been watching tattoo artist Sal Unvar’s journey through the corrupt, absurd and often ridiculous labyrinth of Key West Code Enforcement in my two-week-old issues of Key West the Newspaper. From my present vantage point in a third world country, far removed from busybody legal demands over house color, fence height, and street performance, the spectacle is a source of constant amusement.
My neighborhood here is remarkably beautiful, lush and green, thick with birds and flowers. We live in a pretty little white house with a spectacular view of the city below us. But . . . → Read More: A Real Fix
7 June 2006
An AP article last week announced the conclusions of a Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sponsored study of American's restaurant eating habits. The FDA thinks restaurant owners should help the FDA improve our health by cutting portion size. Not satisfied with the hundreds of thousands of deaths every year from official meddling in the drug market, the FDA now wants to regulate the three basic food groups, pizza, burgers, and fries. Can rationing of beer, ice-cream, and chocolate be far behind?
In modern America do-gooders, busybodies and world improvers are everywhere . . . → Read More: Shotgun Wedding
7 November 2005
Like a Pope Gregory granting dispensation from sin to Crusaders, our local government has suspended the need for building repair permits in our flood ravaged city. In doing so our leaders admit what they never would in normal times. Permitting and building inspection are not public safety issues. Building permits simply keep track of property improvements for tax purposes. Building departments are like shepherds weighing and counting the herd.
If building permits benefited the public, a natural disaster would hardly be the time for their suspension. The only thing permitting protects us from is building inspectors. If there were . . . → Read More: Real Disaster Relief
14 June 2005
Never appeal to a man’s "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. — Robert Heinlein
It’s summer again in Florida. Weathermen are in their glory. Floridians are wondering how the patio doors will hold up in a 200 mile an hour breeze. The Florida legislature granted a brief sales tax holiday to help us prepare for hurricanes. Smart move. Letting us keep a little of our own money shows an understanding of economic incentives that is rare in politicians.
Hurricane supplies are plentiful and cheap now when we don’t . . . → Read More: Price Gouging Laws Punish Hurricane Victims
26 May 2005
"Politicians are interested in people. Not that this is always a virtue. Fleas are interested in dogs." — P. J. O'Rourke
A victory for fair play and the free market has put local politicians and bureaucrats in a tizzy. A jury has brought in a verdict here in tiny Key West that will probably end one of our city government’s most blatant protection rackets.
The spectacle of dissembling hogwash that city officials are using to justify the monopoly they granted to a local tour company is almost worth the price of having to pony up . . . → Read More: Civics Lessons from The Mob