Occupational Licensing

"It Made Me Furious, But Even So I Didn't Tell on Her"

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Articles about illegal vending (or food trucks, or beer carts, or unlicensed hair braiding, or freelance interior designers) nearly always come packaged with a whiny quote from a bricks-and-mortar store owner about how all this unexpected competition from people with lower overhead is just so gosh darned unfair/unpatriotic/uncool. A recent Los Angeles Times profile of one Naty Aguilar—a Mexican immigrant who runs a cheap general store on her front lawn two days a week—pleasingly subverts the dominant two-sides-to-every-story paradigm:

Julia Bursiaga, who owns a hair salon in South Los Angeles, says she used to run a shop directly in front of a woman who cut hair illegally in her home.

"I paid over $10,000 to get my cosmetology license," Bursiaga said….

Even though Bursiaga's neighbor bothered her, she didn't report the illegal business to the city.

"It made me furious, but even so I didn't tell on her," she said. "Because the sun comes out for everybody. We all have a right to life."

The article does include another standard feature of such stories, however: a stirring statement of self-sufficiency from a poor immigrant: 

"Many people bother us, asking why the yard is like this, or the police tell us we're not supposed to do this," Aguilar said. "But I don't steal, nor do I ask the government for help, nor for welfare. I try to make my own living, and the city doesn't understand that."

Neat bonus fact: According to the byline, this piece was written by a Spot.us reporter. I wrote about the site, which applies the microfinance model to funding investigative journalism, here.

Neat bonus video of additional illegal vending in Los Angeles:

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59 responses to “"It Made Me Furious, But Even So I Didn't Tell on Her"

  1. front yard store? hummm…how does one return defective/toxic/recalled chinese products?

  2. “I paid over $10,000 to get my cosmetology license,” Bursiaga said….

    You are getting screwed. But not by who you think.

  3. I noticed last time I was in London that stands and restaurants side-by-side did not have customer issues.

    If the food is good, your business won’t be hurt.

    1. So you go to Arkansas often, rectal? Why not just stay there? Your fat ass would fit in much better.

      1. Is that your fantasy little boy? That I have a fat ass? Do you like to think of your wop mommy when you fuck a girl is the ass? Good luck

        LEAVE MY ASS ALONE

        1. Don’t be absurd, rectal. No one fantasizes about you, because no one gives a shit whether you live or die. Just like no one gives a shit about your blog or your opinions or your daddy issues.

          1. Referrer Views
            reason.com 3,367

            1. I wish I could troll that many viewers to my blog.

              Even half that number would be nice.

              Do I not whore enough? Am I not fat enough?

              1. I get less than half of my traffic from Reason and I do read your blog

  4. “But I don’t steal, nor do I ask the government for help, nor for welfare.

    According to many government bureaucrats, that’s a major problem. Success of the systems require that people are enrolled in those systems. What would happen to welfare if no one showed up to collect?

    Get people in the program. Mission #1.

  5. Yeah, it would be awesome to walk out my front door and find that my neighbor had set up a liquor store in his front yard. Yay LIBERTY!

    You guys are morons.

    1. Obvious troll is obvious.

      1. Seriously, though, the point here is what, exactly? That a person should be able to set up a business in any location he or she chooses as long as he or she owns the property?

        1. Boring troll is boring.

          1. This one is more amusing than most. “Why shouldn’t I be able to force people to live the way I want them to, you terrorists?”

            1. “Why shouldn’t I be able to force people to live the way I want them to, you terrorists?”

              A little tweaking would yield a nice bumper sticker.

          2. But not as boring as upper-middle class white libertarians looking down their noses at working class brown people who don’t like being undercut…

            1. You are fucking thick. What makes one brown person favorable over the other? Because she sunk money into a licensing scam run by your beloved government? It’s fucking hair, you lackwit. It grows back. Too bad whatever native spark of intelligence you once possessed never will.

              1. So person A plays by the rules and sets up a legitimate business, and then person B sets up an illegal business by ducking regulations and thus is able to sell her services cheaper and in your eyes person A is the bad guy?

                No wonder libertarians can’t win an election.

                1. So person A plays by the rules and sets up a legitimate business, and then person B sets up an illegal business by ducking regulations and thus is able to sell her services cheaper and in your eyes person A is the bad guy?

                  Does this mean I need to turn in my mom now? She was the only one who used to cut my hair when I was little and she never had a license to do so.

                  “Sorry mom, but it’s your own fault for breaking the rules!”

                2. The government that imposes the onerous licensing fee is the bad guy. As are the merchants who snitch out unlicensed providers so they can eliminate the competition.

              2. hey dumbass, a barbershop can be a huge vector for many pests that are often hard to see/identify. Not to mention the use of potentially harmful chemicals like lye. Any reasonable person will understand that there’s a place for regulation. Has the city/state gone too far? Of course, but you’d argue against even a reasonable regulatory scheme.

                1. that was @ sugarfree

            2. you’ll notice that none of these liberdouches answered your question

              anyway, $10,000 and however many years for a cosmetology license IS a little much. It should just be a few months of class then a test to identify hair/skin-based pests and understand the dangers of various hair/skin care products. The apprenticeship requirement is balogna – I doubt salon work is that involved and varied in nature that an apprenticeship is actually needed because a test wouldn’t cover most things. I can tell you that apprenticeships make sense for plumbing, electric, etc. – but not for freakin cosmetology.

              1. You really believe that people who regularly get their hair cut are the primary vectors for lice transmission?

                Seriously?

                1. there’s a lot more than lice; I never even mentioned lice

                  are you that stupid? Seriously?

            3. Oh, looky! Another liberal fuck flinging “libertarians hate brown people” shit.

              How quaint.

              1. Especially as he hates on a brown person for not paying for the privilege of cutting hair. Dude needs to eat a bag of dicks.

    2. Yeah, it would be awesome to walk out my front door and find that my neighbor had set up a liquor store in his front yard. Yay LIBERTY!

      Man, that would be fuckin’ awesome. I would so stock up.

      1. I want a pub on my street…but no, that isnt allowed.

        Yes, mixed use zoning virtually everywhere. I see some exceptions for loud/polluty things, but I wont even make that out of fear of having to COASE myself again.

        1. wouldn’t be allowed under CC&R either.

          but guess which is more changeable and is required to be for the public good and must allow for affordable housing…

    3. If you dislike it so much, live somewhere with a HOA.

  6. Not even comparable to the food truck issue. The cosmetology license is purely govt-created overhead; most of the overhead of restaurants operating on property they own or lease (rather than occupying a public right of way as food trucks do) is not govt-created.

    Way I see it: brick and mortar restaurants have to follow every single rule set by the owner of the property they occupy to the slightest detail, and so should food trucks. Unfortunately for the food trucks, the property they occupy belongs to the city, so they need to do as the city govt says to the letter.

    1. There’s also the small detail that the rival haircutter is operating on her own property rather than in the street.

    2. So you’d have no problem with a food truck parking on a business’s property, with the owner’s permission, across from a resturant owned by another?

      1. Right, that would be fine. Pretty sure the owner of the property across the street is going to want a cut, which will help balance the playing field. Also, the truck won’t be across a sidewalk from the brick and mortar restaurant and thus leeching location value from them.

        1. How does a food truck being parked across the sidewalk diminish the location value of the brick and mortar restaurant? Do you go eat on the street with LOTS of food vendors, or the place with one lonely restaurant?

        2. This was a gotcha question, since I’ve seen you go anti-food truck before. The sidewalk vs street thing is new. So the difference is now a matter of feet? How about not across the street then, but adjacent?

    3. Errr. I think it’s a really odd argument to act as if the local government has all the same rights and obligations as a private entity.

      The government is supposed to be the public mechanism for enforceing fair and just laws. The whole point of the clip is that the government is not doing that. It is unfairly harassing food trucks at the behest of local competitors. If you can make an argument that the regulations are justified, that’s one thing but saying “the government owns the land and can do whatever it wants” is pretty much antithetical to libertarianism.

      1. In libertopia there wouldn’t be any public property to begin with, so the food trucks would have to have an agreement with the road or sidewalk owner in order to do business there.

        Parking spaces are intended for parking, not doing business. If I set up my kitchen table in a parking spot on the street and started making sandwiches and selling them, the police would immediately tell me to get out of there since it’s intended for parking. The fact that my table isn’t in a truck shouldn’t be the deciding factor of whether I can operate a business from a parking space.

        1. Parking spaces are intended for parking, not doing business.

          What difference does it make to the city if you are selling something from your vehicle or not? A truck takes up the same amount of space wehther someone is selling tacos out of it or not. Unless you are advocating extra charges for trucks with extended cabs as well.

          In libertopia, sure, a property owner could crack down on food trucks, but then he would have to deal directly with the preferences of customers and residents in the area. If people want to patronize the food trucks, they’ll locate their businesses or homes elsewhere. The city government is not directly subject to similar signals.

  7. loiter: stand or wait around idly or without apparent purpose

    If the Los Angeles PO-Leese want to do something about crime against the citizens of The City of Angels they should arrest the LA LAkers for loitering in the Staples Center.

  8. “Because the sun comes out for everybody. We all have a right to life.”

    I’m so using that.

    Unfortunately for the food trucks, the property they occupy belongs to the city, so they need to do as the city govt says to the letter.

    Often, it does not. Many food trucks use parking lots. Why, then, are food trucks subjected to rules regardless of where they park?

    1. If they’re in a parking lot with the express permission of the lot’s owner to conduct business there, that’s fine…and in any case, all of the examples that Reason has cited have been using street parking.

  9. “Unfortunately for the food trucks, the property they occupy belongs to the city, so they need to do as the city govt says to the letter”

    no. Public streets rarely belong to cities, states or municipalities. They’re public property. They are owned in common by each and every citizen and (and even non-citizen). They were literally “dedicated to the public” and there is no deed.

    It’s a small distinction libertarians don’t get, because their philosophy is deliberitately restrictive and plutocratic in nature – it’s easy to be only for private property when you’ve had so much of it and you’re a selfish prick.
    I’ve heard libertarians calling the concept “evil”. And proposals for full privatization unavoidably amaount to theft.

    1. i>no. Public streets rarely belong to cities, states or municipalities. They’re public property. They are owned in common by each and every citizen and (and even non-citizen). They were literally “dedicated to the public” and there is no deed.

      And they call libertarians delusional.

    2. I own my house, and the land upon which it resides.

      Am I a selfish prick? Apparently so.

      1. Unless you’re calling for the govt to steal other people’s property and hand it over to you, you’re a selfish bastard!

        1. yeah… so libertarians are selfish bastards, because that’s what they’re asking for. Roads are public property. No one can be banned from a road, no one can be kicked off a road except for utility and road maintenance, the government only has the right to regulate the use of vehicles on said road, anyone can walk, and what regulatory they do have can be challeneged in court, and the court (an independent body) limits the power of regulation not only according to the bill of rights but even just in terms of basic police power and its need to only be for the public good

          libertarians frequyently all for all public lands to be completely privatized. One day I’d be completely free to go on the road (or public park), and the next all of a sudden some asshole could restrict me. Yes, genius, that’s stealing.

    3. Nominally they are owned by the public, but they are “held in trust” by the government…meaning they make the rules. That’s why I can’t install a basketball hoop in the street even though technically it belongs to me.

      1. no, it belongs to you in COMMON

        each person has equal right to use

        but you also can’t restrict or hinder others’ use

        to “own” doesn’t always mean you have full reign over said owned thing. “Ownership” and “property” are just wqords we use to describe bundles of rights over objects/things-other-than-ourselves, even limited bundles of rights

    4. Turn down that Twilight Zone music!

  10. There’s a simpler reason why LA copes might be hassling taco trucks.

    Bribes.

    1. No, you mean the same cops who resigned from areas with rampant bribary rather than have their personal finances looked at? Surely you jest!!!

      1. What’s more … food trucks managed by Hispanic immigrants may be uniquely vulnerable to coercion (due to the presence of illegal aliens), and also more accusomed to paying them (since police corruption is so rampant in Mexico and Central America).

  11. I have been in the vending service business in both Los Angeles and Orange Counties for the past 18 years. I have seen the per machine permit go up several hundred percent. I can also say that when I go out to talk to prospective customers I almost never see these permits on vending machines. That would make them illegally operated by the athoritys in Los Angeles and Orange County.
    http://www.vendingpluss.com

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