Regulation

Lemonade is Not a Crime

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Working the corner.

As a former employee and part-owner of an illegal (and yet very profitable) lawn-care operation, I'm particularly sensitive to stories about the overweening enforcement of licensing requirements against children. Check out this one from Tulare, California:

The story began Monday morning when Daniela and her stepmother, Marisa Earnest, set up shop at Cartmill Avenue and Hillman Street in north Tulare. The lemonade was freshly squeezed and priced at $2 for a 32-ounce plastic cup.

Richard Garcia, a Tulare code enforcement officer, happened to be at the same intersection to remove illegal signs left behind by someone selling tetherball poles.

Garcia told Daniela and her stepmother that their lemonade stand—on the northwest corner of the busy intersection—was not safe, and also that they needed a business license to sell lemonade….

"[Garcia] wasn't out there on lemonade patrol," said Frank Furtaw, Tulare's code enforcement manager. Garcia was merely applying the city's code enforcement laws equitably, Furtaw said. 

Cue the vice mayor of Tulare, who is obviously still honing his not-being-a-hypocrite skills:

Vice Mayor Philip Vandegrift said a compromise—possibly asking lemonade stand operators to pay a nominal fee or establishing a license fee waiver for children under a certain age—could be the outcome of Daniela's experience.

However, the city needs to enforce vendor laws, Vandegrift said, "otherwise we'll have people on every corner."

But Vandegrift doesn't want to take away lemonade stands from children. For many, it represents their first opportunity to flex their entrepreneurial muscles.

"I had many a lemonade stand as a kid right in front of my home," he said. 

In 2005, Nick Gillespie noted a similar incident in Massachusetts.

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  1. Vendors on every corner? Selling things people want to buy? Stimulating the economy? Actually providing something to people that has value (unlike say…legislation of any kind)?

    Oh noes!!!

    We are so fucked.

  2. Lemonade is just a gateway to corporate profiteering.

  3. The kid was just a greedy, good for nothing capitalist. Her parents should be flogged for not having her watching Hanna Montana reruns and playing video games!

    The nerve of some people. Trying to make money off the sufferings of the thirsty. It’s enough to make you spit.

    Now…if only I had a glass of lemonade so I could actually spit!

  4. However, the city needs to enforce vendor laws, Vandegrift said, “otherwise we’ll have people on every corner.”

    So what?

  5. Let’s not forget the teachable moment here. Encouraging cops to vigourously enforce vendor codes will equally vigourously breed a new generation of libertarian children who bristle at the burgeoning regulation state.

  6. breed a new generation of libertarian children who bristle at the burgeoning regulation state.

    I disagree. It will breed a bunch of tattletales that know that they can’t provide value, so they’re gonna make sure that no one else can provide value either.

  7. Municipalities do have police power rights to regulate public spaces. If this stand was at the end of a driveway, I’d have a sympathetic ear. But I don’t see why a kid should be treated any differently from an adult when it comes to applying code regulations concerning public spaces.

  8. I disagree. It will breed a bunch of tattletales that know that they can’t provide value, so they’re gonna make sure that no one else can provide value either.

    Only one way to tell! Controlled, double-blind experiment!

  9. an illegal (and yet very profitable) lawn-care operation

    As long as you stayed away from the wood plants and didn’t butcher them I can cheer you on. If you were one of the fly by night assclowns that fucked up trees and bushes I’m going to have to hate you.

    Stupid laws. There are lemonade stands on every corner around me, and 80% of the upper city government(including the mayor, police/fire chief) lives in the 2 square miles I live in. At least that’s one thing they haven’t fucked up here.

  10. “Municipalities do have police power rights to regulate public spaces”

    Check it out on google street view.

    Without having seen the exact situation, It’s hard to say whether or not that spot is public or private. I mean, if they were ON THE ROAD, yeah. it’s true, the PO said that it was dangerous. Maybe they were in oncoming traffic.

  11. I read the article, and they do not note one way or the other the status of the property where this was happening. Probably because the reporter and the code officer would not have found it relevant.

    The article does say that the kid and her dad had to load the stuff into a car to leave, so it doesn’t sound like this was the end of her own driveway.

    OTOH, the code enforcer says that the reason he shut them down was to make sure there wouldn’t be a vendor on every corner, and from that I conclude that he meant on public and private land alike.

  12. This is what happens to an Hispanic child in America!

  13. I’m reminded of the Charles Addams cartoon where one of the kids is selling lemonade for five cents. Around the corner, the other kid is selling the antidote for a dollar.

  14. “Code enforcement manager” is municipality code for useless retard that has been with the city since the dawn of time. Often having the brain the size of a pea, no knowledge of 90% of what he enforces and a failed cop.

    They are just above plenaria in the food chain.

    It took 3 years for the one I got to deal with to understand that things that flower and are indigenous (he had a picture book) were not noxious weeds and in fact there is a list at both the state and federal level for noxious weeds (with pictures). I will give him his due for being all over animal abuse, he took no shit with people that abused animals and while still a property issue, I’m a little conflicted with people abusing animals as property.

  15. Daniela shouldn’t have been so “self-centered.” As Clayton Mayor Gregg Manning warned Katie and Sabrina, and all of California’s budding entrepreneurs, not only are “commercial enterprises” such as these illegal, they are slippery slopes.

  16. What’s wrong with you people? How do we know the lemonade is safe? It could be contaminated with e-coli or salmonella, or any number of organisms.

    The consumer has a right to know if the lemons were organic, or genetically engineered. It should be labeled and the ingredients and nutritional content provided.

  17. Encouraging cops to vigourously enforce vendor codes will equally vigourously breed a new generation of libertarian children who bristle at the burgeoning regulation state.

    I think Yonemoto is correct. My first libertarian moment was around age 12 when I’d saved enough money, to the penny, to purchase a microscope. The clerk rang me up and the total wasa few bucks more than I had — forgot about sales tax. So, I waited until the next week when after had mowed another lawn keenly aware that I was working for the state.

    Also, don’t discount the possibility that at least some bureaucrats who do this sort of thing (pull code enforcement on lemonade stands) are libertarian sympathizers or fifth columnists.

  18. Also, don’t discount the possibility that at least some bureaucrats who do this sort of thing (pull code enforcement on lemonade stands) are libertarian sympathizers or fifth columnists.

    I’m gonna go with “petty tyrant scumbags” myself, Tonio. The simplest explanation is usually the correct one and all that.

  19. “otherwise we’ll have people on every corner.”

    And, as we all know, that way madness lies.

  20. Also, don’t discount the possibility that at least some bureaucrats who do this sort of thing (pull code enforcement on lemonade stands) are libertarian sympathizers or fifth columnists.

    I don’t think a lib-symp could actually stand to do such a job day in and day out. Petty tyrant scumbag it is.

  21. Two bucks for lemonade??? Does it have everclear in it???

  22. There is a difference between a lemonade stand in front of your house or the corner of your residential neighborhood, and one in a commercial neighborhood. The business owners already pay high taxes and fees to be there and have their storefronts be unobstructed.

  23. I don’t know, plutosdad, I think I want the lemonade stand in front of my store. It makes people stop there and then they might see the sign in my window that says “Tire Irons 4 Sale.” You know, for beating petty tyrant scumbags about the knees and stomach.

  24. I say shut the little fuckers down. If you REALLY want them to learn about entrepreneurship in America.

  25. @ SFH

    Actually I believe it was Gahan Wilson, not Charles Addams. It appeared in Wilson’s I Paint What I See collection.

    I will grant the possibility that both men, having similar senses of humor, used the same gag.

  26. “As long as you stayed away from the wood plants and didn’t butcher them I can cheer you on. If you were one of the fly by night assclowns that fucked up trees and bushes I’m going to have to hate you.”

    Our respect for the delicate landscaping of suburban Virginia’s lawns was unparalleled.

  27. I am more consumed by the question of the profitability of the tetherball pole business.

  28. Our respect for the delicate landscaping of suburban Virginia’s lawns was unparalleled.

    I don’t trust you. You’re an evil tree topper!

  29. Our respect for the delicate landscaping of suburban Virginia’s lawns was unparalleled.

    As a child of the Old Dominion’s suburbs, all i have to say is: yo, fuck the delicate landscaping of suburban Virginia’s lawns. All neighbors yellin’ when a football crosses property lines. All feet itching ’cause TruGreen ChemLawn sprayed some shit up in there.

    Some of them shits got ground bees ins.

  30. -However, the city needs to enforce vendor laws, Vandegrift said, “otherwise we’ll have people on every corner.”

    How about “otherwise nobody will notice when we continue to pass ridiculous laws that we can then arbitrarily enforce according to our own whims, biases and grudges.”

    Laws should be enforced every time, to the letter. The inevitable fallout from that is the only way to send a message to lawmakers to stop making dumb laws.

  31. I don’t know what to think here. Part of me says fuck the retarded laws, and the other part envisions a hard working 50 year old trying to sell drinks from his legal stand across from some cute little 7 year old girl that no one wants to turn down or make cry and probably has well ta do parents anyway.

  32. I’m not a fan of grass. It’s a sterile environment and I’ve never found the uniform nature of row of properties aesthetically pleasing.

  33. I’m not a fan of grass.

    You won’t make any friends around here with that attitude.

  34. You’re right, Jim. We must maintain retarded licensing schemes in order to prevent too much competition!

    Also, as long as we’re adding hypotheticals to the scene, the guy across the street probably has a wider variety of beverages to choose from for people who don’t want a $2 cup of lemonade, and if you ask the right way he’ll take you into the alley and sell you a bag of weed.

  35. I’m a huge fan of what many think are weeds.

    Does that count?

  36. While I refused to cultivate illicit plants on customers property. I can say I was somewhat shocked at the number of upscale (mil plus homes) that had illicit plants on the property with the owners knowing they were there. (they didn’t belong to the brat of a kid living there)

  37. What the story doesn’t tell you is that Garcia was tipped off to the lemonade stand by Daniela larger competitors who stifled competition under the auspices of “code enforcements” Just who do you think suggested licensing lemonade stand vendors. The lemonade racket is tough business.

  38. I’m a huge fan of what many think are weeds.

    Much better.

  39. Laws should be enforced every time, to the letter. The inevitable fallout from that is the only way to send a message to lawmakers to stop making dumb laws.

    I think Kilroy’s got it, constant, unyielding enforcement of all laws to the letter, teachable moments for all!

  40. I grew up in that area, and spent several years working in Tulare. I am friends with a former mayor. It is a stereotypical salt-of-the-earth quasi-conservative agricultural town.

    It wasn’t that long ago that Cartman and Hillman intersection was county land. Even today it’s out in the country. It’s the same intersection that regularly has farmers setting up produce stands. This is NOT a city street intersection! Yes, it’s a busy corner, but it’s the same corner where people have been pulling over to buy corn, peaches, plums and watermelons for several decades.

    The voters need to dump this vice mayor out on his ass.

  41. “You’re right, Jim. We must maintain retarded licensing schemes in order to prevent too much competition!”

    what i really meant: fuck the retarded laws, but give the bitch a ticket.

  42. aix42, I detect a hint of sarcasm . . .

    Would you rather give the police (or any other enforcement entity) the authority to pick and choose which rules and laws they want to enforce, and when, based on what they subjectively think is a good/bad law at that given time and under those circumstances?

    Also, the intent isn’t to beat up on the people so they become more obediant. The intent is to force lawmakers to really think about what they’re doing. Imagine how many fewer law and regulations we’d have if lawmakers had to actually face the consequences of their enforcement.

  43. While I refused to cultivate illicit plants on customers property. I can say I was somewhat shocked at the number of upscale (mil plus homes) that had illicit plants on the property with the owners knowing they were there. (they didn’t belong to the brat of a kid living there)

    I have opium poppies and illegal morning glories growing wild in my yard.

  44. I used and had poppies in many yards. Not all are viable for opium production. The flowers are nice big and colorful.

  45. Poppies aren’t illegal. Morning Glory is considered a noxious weed.

  46. Kilroy; I was agreeing with you, and agree again with the follow up. I think it touches on that stupid notion that you have nothing to fear if you are doing nothing wrong….

    just trying to work in the current term ‘Teachable Moment’ and some subtle Simpsons referencing; Abortions for some, mini American flags for all!

    Also, gotta laugh at Amber Waves

    This is what happens to an Hispanic child in America!

    that deaf guy post title did deserve at least an honourable mention at the Hyperbole awards….

  47. I should say poppies aren’t illegal if you aren’t growing them to produce opiates. If you’re growing them for opiates they are illegal. As far as morning glory goes it’s no where near as bad as some of the other noxious weeds.

  48. I should say poppies aren’t illegal if you aren’t growing them to produce opiates. If you’re growing them for opiates they are illegal.

    Common misconception. The opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) is flat out illegal. It’s considered a Schedule II drug.

  49. Only the one. Poppies are not all illegal. The misconception is that all are illegal. I’ve never seen or heard of anyone, even those growing the supposed illegal variety, being questioned. Identifying them is also not an easy thing to do. Those tricky plants tend to be tricky.

    Not that it matters making a plant illegal is fucking silly. Especially when going from plant to drug is as process.

  50. If I can find the article, the government (DOJ I believe) basically set the standard at cultivation purpose. That isn’t to say they will change their mind.

  51. Not that it matters making a plant illegal is fucking silly.

    Oh, I agree completely. But having it illegal just gives them another reason to screw with people.

  52. I agree, but I can tell you there are illegal poppies and salvia at the local botanical garden. The enforcement is selective as always.

  53. I agree, but I can tell you there are illegal poppies and salvia at the local botanical garden. The enforcement is selective as always.

    Sure. And I can’t help but think if you’re growing legal poppies and come under suspicion of anything else, they would rip out your flower beds and try to tack opium possession on as an extra charge.

    And I have no idea what happened with the last post.


  54. And I have no idea what happened with the last post.

    I reported it to that scary health care disinformation lady.

    You’re fucked now!!!

  55. Without going into the nit-picky details of the Mayor’s position, I appreciate what he said. He sees the clear stupidity of shutting down Cindy-Lou Who’s lemonade stand, but yet knows that looming in the background is a long-standing civil requirement of a business license to sell stuff people want to the people that want it.

    Yeah, he walked a line, but he did it well.

  56. Shut it down. Shut it down FOREVER!

  57. Vendors on every corner? Selling things people want to buy? Stimulating the economy? Actually providing something to people that has value (unlike say…legislation of any kind)?

    Yeah, like spam. Clearly someone wants to buy Viagra at deep discount, watch triangular tranny sex, and is interested in a deal that promises $4500 a week for doing nothing. That doesn’t mean I want to have to sift through that stuff every time I look at my email.

    And likewise, people don’t want to deal with people selling stupid stuff they know very few people will buy on every corner. A small licensing fee will take care of that problem nicely.

  58. Yeah, like spam. Clearly someone wants to buy Viagra at deep discount, watch triangular tranny sex, and is interested in a deal that promises $4500 a week for doing nothing. That doesn’t mean I want to have to sift through that stuff every time I look at my email.

    And likewise, people don’t want to deal with people selling stupid stuff they know very few people will buy on every corner. A small licensing fee will take care of that problem nicely.

    I typed up a legitimate response, but I figured that it’s more effective to call you a boring old antisocial fogy.

  59. $2 for lemonade-stand lemonade? Next thing you know these kids will be charging 50-cents for psychiatric advice. 🙁

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