Small Business

Hot Dog Kid's Family Is Now Homeless. Restaurateurs Who Pay Extra Taxes Are Safe, Though.

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nathan

Remember 13-year-old Nathan Duszynski, the Michigan kid who wanted to make some money to help out his disabled parents by opening a hot dog stand?

The story has taken a turn for the worse: The Mackinac Center, which originally brought the story to light, is now reporting that Nathan and his parents are homeless after the city shut down his business

The family receives about $1,300 a month in disability payments, Medicaid and food assistance. The three are having a hard time staying together. MLive confirms what the Mackinac Center learned Thursday — Nathan and his mother are staying at the Holland Rescue Mission.

"Nate and I are now in a shelter," Lynette said. "Doug can't stay with us because he takes prescription narcotics to deal with his pain and the shelter does not allow him with those kinds of drugs."

She says the situation has been stressful on the family. Lynette is afraid to be away from her husband in case she has a seizure. 

The cart was shut down 10 minutes after Nathan started set up on his first day in the parking lot of a sporting goods store with the owner's permission. The cart violated a rule against food carts in Holland, Michigan's downtown commercial district. 

After the story gleaned some media attention, city officials responded to individual inquiries by explaining that there has been some bureaucratic snafus. But they ultimately stuck to their guns, justifying the decision like this:

The downtown business owners annually pay substantial assessments (often reaching into the thousands of dollars) for improvement and maintenance of the free parking lots, amenities and events, and "snowmelt" to keep the downtown alive and well – and these assessments are on top of their regular property taxes.

With that in mind, it is understandable that these businesses, historically at least, have been reluctant to allow mobile vendors into the downtown area to benefit from the environment the brick and mortar businesses have created, compete with them for customers, but not contribute to the substantial capital and operational costs of the downtown. 

Got that? The businesses are reluctant to allow competitors. Coincidentally, the city—recipient of those thousands of dollars in fees—is reluctant to allow competitors as well. Handy, no?

Last week, Nathan and his family made an appeal to the Holland City Council. Mayor Kurt Dykstra defended the city's ordinance, saying it was to protect downtown restaurant owners, who asked that the "success of the downtown district not be infringed upon by those who don't share in the costs of maintaining the attractiveness of that space."

Consider this your daily reminder that crony capitalism happens at all levels.

If you want to help Nathan out, you can do so here.

NEXT: Americans Not Sold on Solyndra

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  1. Good story.

    1. In my defense, only half of the title was even posted for some reason why I made my witty response. Now, it looks like I actually read the article and appreciated it.

    2. Yes, a good story, and one which fits well with the libertarian narrative. However, given KM-W’s track record I’d check the primary sources before getting too worked up over this.

      1. Tonio, do you ever get tired of being such a whiny cunt?

        1. I am really sad that I missed getting to post on the Mars Rover story yesterday, but I did get to read it and really, I was sad to see the way some here were berating KMW. Not very classy at all.

          I mean I can see the point of the engineers wanting to point some things out, but really, it IS an opinion piece and I don’t think that KMW needs to go out and get a PhD in physcis before she can write an opinion piece without a bunch of grouchy engineers berating her for her lack of technical knowledge.

          It is a little sad having 10 year old technology when the taxpayers have to see this. I am a software engineer, and it would be like me defending having to tell the astronauts on a manned mission to Mars, ‘uh, sorry that you are stuck with that DOS 1.0 and green monochrome, and no mouse, but umm, when we started planning this mission 30 years ago, the puters only had 4 meg of ram and a 20 meg hard drive’. Duh!

        2. I’m thinkin’ Tonio has pictures of KMW pasted over every square inch of wall space in his tiny walk-up.

          1. No, Citizen. I generally ignore KM-W’s articles because of her track record of inaccuracy.

        3. Whatever, RBS, you’re shooting the messenger. What you think of me, personally doesn’t change the fact that KM-W is a poor journalist.

  2. reason is the new twitter.

  3. If this doesn’t get Ms. Mangu-Ward a Pulitzer Prize, I don’t know what ever will.

    1. Yes, the Pulitzer org has been handing them out to some pretty undeserving people of late, so wouldn’t surprise me.

      1. No need to answer my previous question as it is clear you never get tired of being a whiny cunt.

        1. Perhaps Tonio is related to Tony? Or his alter-ego maybe?

          1. Right, because everyone with any version of the name Anthony in any language is the same person.

            1. No no no… its the ‘douche’ which provides family resemblance. You’re like “Douche-Twins” with millions of other silly cunts.

  4. Is there a support fund for the family or any contact information that would allow us to provide some assistance to them?

    1. I plan to shoot a few of the downtown Holland businesses an email with the article. Maybe pointless, but worth a try.

    2. I believe Balko is attempting to start a fund via facebook.

      1. Taking care of this family is the government’s job. Why would Balko want to put government jobs in jeopardy?

  5. So much fuckedupness in one story.

  6. “Beat it kid! Come back when you’ve got connections!”

  7. My douchebag friends from Holland were all for denying the kid’s request – don’t want to ruin the ambiance donwtown, doncha know.

    Not sure how long we can remain friends when they’ve such attitudes.

    1. on’t want to ruin the ambiance donwtown

      HAHAHHAAHA

  8. Further evidence you don’t own your own property, as the supposed property owner had no problem with the hot dog cart being on his property.

  9. by those who don’t share in the costs of maintaining the attractiveness of that space.

    So, maybe customers should be banned from using the parking lots since they don’t pay assessments either.

    1. Also, I’m so out of touch with society that I would consider the addition of a hot dog cart to be an improvement upon a space.

    2. That customer didn’t build that parking lot.

    3. I’m willing to bet that none of the members of this cartel even serve hotdogs anyways.

    4. TULPY-POO LOOMS LARGE.

  10. Holland is just a few miles down the road from me – it’s uber-christian-conservative and under the thumb of the “Dutch Mafia” as we jokingly call it – it’s an old boy network of CRC members. I add that I have a few family relations from there and Chicago, all part of the CRC.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C…..th_America

    It’s not the sort of place you would want to vacation at, though the beach is fairly nice.

    1. +Hope College

      And c’mon, Lord H – we Michiganderanianites know that the Wooden Shoe Militia controls the entire Southwest MI area, from Benton Harbor St. Joe to Battle Creek and up to GR.

      At least you can hear ’em coming….

  11. Drudge linked to the original KMW post, so let’s see if this warrants an “update” headline.

  12. Another example of the heartless Libertarian Corporatocracy which rules the world.

    1. Needs more monocles.

  13. See this proves that free markets do not work, we must immediately institute a nationwide welfare program to help people in this situation out.

    1. Definite market failure. Now, I’m off to drink. It’s Friday, and I needed an excuse.

  14. I hope Tulpa doesn’t hurt himself during his victory lap.

    1. Tulip would fit right in in Holland.

    2. This stand was operating on private property with the permission of the owner, so I’m totally against the city shutting him down.

      My issue with the food trucks is the fact they’re using public property as their place of business, and thus taxpayers are subsidizing them.

  15. Also a good reminder that although local control is preferable in many ways, local government really, really sucks too.

  16. First a dead dog and now a homeless kid. Jesus Reason, do you want your readers to commit suicide? How about laying off the ball kicking every once in a while?

    1. Jesus Reason – now with less commandments!

  17. “With that in mind, it is understandable that these businesses, historically at least, have been reluctant to allow mobile vendors into the downtown area to benefit from the environment the brick and mortar businesses have created, compete with them for customers, but not contribute to the substantial capital and operational costs of the downtown.”
    _

    you didnt create that (insert dash to omit “environment”) somebody else did.

    created for the – (fat old) rushtard entertainment clowns

    1. what? As usual, I’m 90% I’d disagree with your dumbass if you would actually write in English.

    2. Again, dipshit, the dash in that speech which in your fevered imagination apparently provides some super duper context that makes Obama seem like less of an idiot was from the Whitehouse.gov transcript of the speech. Presumably it indicates a pause. Maybe the voices in your head insert something into the dead space, but in reality, it was just a pause, and the President did actually mean what he said.

      http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-…..e-virginia

      1. the dash = u didnt build those [ROADZ] n bridges, somebody else did.

        it tries moar harderz

        1. Peter was robbed to pay for Paul’s roads.

          Dipshit.

  18. This is how government creates jobs and grows the economy.

  19. If you don’t want the public to “freeload” on your public spaces, don’t create public spaces.

    But once you create a public space, fuck you you don’t get to complain if people use it.

    Those are the breaks.

    1. This wasn’t even a public space. He was on private property with the permission of the owner.

    2. Oh, I see, you’re talking about the city’s argument. Never mind.

  20. Mayor Kurt Dykstra defended the city’s ordinance, saying it was to protect downtown restaurant owners, who asked that the “success of the downtown district not be infringed upon by those who don’t share in the costs of maintaining the attractiveness of that space.”

    It sounds like that kid’s lucky the cops didn’t beat him into a coma.

    1. And who knew that potential profits were the property of those that hadn’t yet achieved them? Mustn’t infringe on those future successes!

    2. It’s also a good thing he didn’t have a little homeless dog with him.

  21. It’s a trite cliche, but I can’t help but wonder – how the hell do these people sleep at night? How do they live with themselves? A 13 year old kid with a hot dog cart is such a supposed threat to restaurants that they have to drive him out of business through government fiat? Fuck you, run a better restaurant then. If a lukewarm hot dog beats what you’re serving, you deserve to shrivel up and die.

    1. like the ice cream truck drug dealer said to ice cube “dares principalities involved” !

      1. Your meds aren’t as effective as they used to be.

    2. A 13 year old kid with a hot dog cart is such a supposed threat to restaurants that they have to drive him out of business through government fiat?

      If you get all laissez faire with teenagers, next thing you know you have an army of mexican taco trucks and mariachi bands and nomadic tinkerers and all sorts of other undesirables…which is why we want our city councilman to ensure all competition is completely crushed unless they pony up bribes for all. It’s called ‘enlightened capitalism’

  22. I was just thinking “You know what I could really go for on this Friday morning? A good swift kick in the nuts.” Thanks, KMW, I really needed that.

    1. Here, have a hot dog, you’ll feel better.

      OH, YOU CAN’T, CAUSE THEY’RE OUTLAWED!!

      *kicks Loki in the nuts*

  23. He probably didn’t have the proper food handling certificate either.

  24. I plan to shoot a few of the downtown Holland businesses

    *forwards comment to SPLC*

    1. I noticed that after I posted it. The lack of a “d” on the end of “an” is quite critical.

  25. I guess I’m the odd guy out, but I kind of understand the position the
    brick and mortar businesses are in. Apparently, the city socks them for some nasty fees to keep the “downtown area alive”, fees over and above the normal city thievery, in order to have a business in this desirable area. In return, the city keeps out some of the competition. Crony capitalism of course, but it’s the brick and mortars who are paying for it.

    If the city incurs higher costs in maintaining the downtown area, then all businesses should take part. Charge the kid an extra percent for operating in that area.

    Could the kid have put the cart anywhere else?

    1. They didn’t offer to charge the kid an extra percent for operating in the area, they just shut him down.

      1. That’s my problem with this story more than anything: the inflexibility. Restrictions and ordinances don’t really bother me so long as they’re relatively localized, especially when they regard replacing hard-to-collect user fees, but you have to meet people half way in return. The city should have tried to accommodate him, like a tax unless he carries tulips and wears a lederhosen or something.

    2. You’re not the odd guy out. The business are paying for their services and someone wants to benefit from them for nothing. It’s akin to asking everybody except people driving Hyundais to pay for a toll road.

      It sucks that he can’t continue his plan to help his family, but unfortunately it was a bad plan since it obviously violates a city ordinance.

      If I was paying extra taxes for infrastructure and services for my restaurant and 100 food carts popped up in the parking lots I don’t think I’d be happy about it either.

      1. Hey Camping Y.P., what do you think about parking parallel to traffic?

        1. perpendicular. Fuck. There goes the joke.

          1. You lost the joke when you misrepresented my position (again). To be accurate you would ask about parking perpendicular to traffic in the middle of a freeway lane, but not lying ruins the joke, I understand.

      2. They’re not paying for services, they’re paying a tribute to the city in return for protectionism.

        Presumably the hot dog cart kid is paying sales tax and income tax, and operating on private property with the owner’s permission, so he’s not freeloading at all.

    3. Awesome. Can I apply the same principle to my federal taxes. I pay tens of thousands each year in income taxes for defense, courts, etc., while apparently half the country is paying nothing. I’d like for all of those people to be kicked out of the country so that they can’t enjoy the defense and courts that I, along with other income taxpayers, are paying for.

      1. No one is defending the result. Everyone should be paying a share of the income tax. Anyone who as income, at least. In this scenario, everyone doing business in downtown should be paying their share of the costs. That’s bad on the city, but on the surface at least, it’s not the fault of the other business owners. We would need more information to make that connection.

        1. Jesus H. Christ| 8.10.12 @ 1:18PM |#

          No one is defending the result. Everyone should be paying a share of the income tax.

          I NOW RENOUNCE JESUS FOREVER. HAIL SATAN!

          The fucking ‘income tax’ was invented as an emergency to help the Union raise money for the Civil War, and was intended to be entirely temporary… of course the parasites tried to keep it, but it was phased out in 1972. Came back in 1895, but was declared unconstitutional. In 1913 (*to help pay for MOAR WARS!) they amended the constitution to make it work. The raping has since continued to this day.

          Your point is still idiotic = the kid was operating in the parking lot of a business that ‘pays their share’… the point was, even those who ‘pay their share’ dont have the right to do anything if others don’t approve. Which is bullshit.

        2. Everyone should be paying a share of the income tax.

          No one should be forced to pay income taxes.

        3. Everyone should be paying a share of the income tax.

          Why? Why should a man pay the government for the privilege of making money?

  26. Of course this all comes down to cronyism. Cronyism has nearly destroyed the free market. It’s almost not worth starting a business these days unless you want to get into bed with a bunch of slimey parasitical politicians and bureaucrats. Disgusting.

    This is why no one in MD can sell beer or wine out of a convenience store or other retail business. And there is a lot more cronyism going on here besides that. Take for example, the MVAs 3-Hour Alcohol and Drug Education Program, which is a requirement for anyone wanting a MD license to drive and costs you $40. So if you don’t already have a drivers license from another state and you want a MD license, you are assumed to be some type of drug fiend of alkie who needs educated, and if you are lucky enough to know someone in MD government, you can create a BS test and get paid $40 for allowing someone to take it.

    1. As I think about it, this seems like it’s less about cronyism, certainly that’s part of it, but more about the inflexibility as CampingInYourPark pointed out. For whatever reason, there are higher fees for doing business in downtown. The mechanism for collecting the fees should be flexible enough to allow food carts. However, anyone doing business downtown should shoulder their portion of the fees.

      Again, is there anywhere else the kid could place the cart?

      1. Again, is there anywhere else the kid could place the cart?

        Lots of places, but none of them have as many customers.

      2. I’m sure there is a nice crackhouse he could put his cart in front of, but he probably wouldn’t get as many customers. More importantly, it’s zoned residential. FSM forbid you defy the local petty bureaucrats.

  27. This is the liberal utopia, is it not? Tight bans on efforts to engage in voluntary commericial transactions and to make a living, but we’re happy to send you food stamps, disability benefits, etc. Attempts at self-reliance must be rubbed out even in small places.

  28. I would have said that all those amenities were for the benefit of the public, not the businesses. When I pay taxes, I sure don’t get to say who gets the benefit of them, and most of it certainly doesn’t come back to me.

    I wonder if this story is getting much local play. I’d be surprised, since local media generally has their tongue so far up local crony assholes they can count their fillings.

    1. “I would have said that all those amenities were for the benefit of the public, not the businesses”

      Except the businesses are paying extra fees for the advantage of having convenient parking lots and other services. If they were simply paying the same taxes everyone else was, then it would be BS for them to complain, but this is not the case.

      1. So as long as you pay a little extra its perfectly fine to have the government snuff out your competitors?

        1. “So as long as you pay a little extra its perfectly fine to have the government snuff out your competitors?”

          They aren’t snuffing him out. He can’t park his cart to compete with them on shit they are paying to maintain. This isn’t complicated. This competition has a rule. You park your shit there, you pay the same fees your competitors do to play the game.

          1. And you don’t see a problem with this?

            1. “And you don’t see a problem with this?”

              Do you see a problem with me camping in your basement and cordoning off a section of your refrigerator for my personal use without paying you any rent?

              1. Do you see a problem with me camping in your basement and cordoning off a section of your refrigerator for my personal use without paying you any rent?

                Your analogy fails because the owner of the parking lot had no problem with it. This would be more like you setting up in RBS’s basement with his permission, but then his neighbors complain because you’re camping for free while they’re paying property taxes and HOA fees.

                1. “Your analogy fails”

                  Depends on what role you assign to RBS in the scenario. My analogy didn’t have him agreeing to my encampment.

                  If you want a different analogy, RBS is in a homeowners association that clearly states you can’t put a fort in your front yard. He gives me permission to build a fort in his front yard. I build it. The neighbors are pissed. I have to leave. You have a problem with that?

                  1. HOAs have contractual relationships among homeowners. No such relationship exists among the businesses in the business district.

          2. But they didn’t build that, so why can’t they share?

          3. He was parked on private property with the consent of the property owner.

          4. He can’t park his cart to compete with them on shit they are paying to maintain

            Wrong = he parked his cart in a parking lot belonging to and ‘maintained by’ the business owner whose permission he had to operate there.

            The other restaurants weren’t complaining because he was ‘using their resources’. They complained he was competing with them, and wanted the city to shut him down.

            Noting= he didn’t sell 1 hot dog. It was never demonstrated if in fact he was competing with them at all.

          5. He can’t park his cart to compete with them on shit they are paying to maintain.

            He is operating on PRIVATE PROPERTY. Get that through your head.

            The businesses are supposedly paying to maintain public property.

        2. This. Apparently political cronies have no shame at the level of hypocrisy that they will stoop to.

          According to the 5 star general of cronyism, these business owners did not build that parking lot, or even their own business. So why are they not willing to share it with others? Especially their poor competition who cannot afford brick and mortar, but just a little cart?

      2. Camping, half the people in this country pay no income taxes. Should we exclude them from what those taxes fund?

        1. “Camping, half the people in this country pay no income taxes. Should we exclude them from what those taxes fund?”

          FFS YES!

          1. “Camping, half the people in this country pay no income taxes. Should we exclude them from what those taxes fund?”

            FFS YES!

            NO ROADZ!!

        2. I feel bad for the kid just as much as anybody. It’s not really relevant that he was a kid. Part of this article is simple grief trolling.

          Replace a kid with 1 hot dog cart with 500 adults with hot dog carts using infrastructure and services you pay EXTRA fees to maintain.

      3. ‘parking lots’ constitute ‘services’?

        I seem to recall them being called ‘property’

        And as RBS notes below = all you’re doing is rationalizing Racketeering… which is apparently GREAT as long as its government doing it!

  29. At this point I’m more interested in the fact that the shelter doesn’t allow residents dependent on narcotics for pain. Presumably the mother is on anti-seizure drugs, so if policies like this are widespread, it may be difficult to find a shelter that allows both the father and mother to reside there.

    1. I noticed this too. It’s probably designed to keep out addicts and other unseemly elements. This is a problem with such blanket policies.

      1. It’s probably for their own protection, so no one steals their pain medicine.

  30. unfortunately it was a bad plan since it obviously violates a city ordinance.

    Let’s take this at face value, just for fun.

    The kid went to the city and got all the business permits and licenses; why didn’t anybody tell him that area was specifically zoned “NO MOBILE VENDORS”?

  31. He can’t park his cart to compete with them on shit they are paying to maintain.

    The cart was shut down 10 minutes after Nathan started set up on his first day in the parking lot of a sporting goods store with the owner’s permission.

    Why isn’t he covered by that business owner’s “contributions”?

    1. Exactly.

      And another point that no one mentioned is that the hot dog cart could draw people to the area, increasing potential sales for everybody, which was certainly part of the reason that the sporting goods store let him set up in their parking lot.

      1. Situations like this are a delicate balance. Those downtown businesses may have preferred to operate in a private shopping mall, but the taxpayers probably wouldn’t allow a large parcel including the streets between the lots to be privatized, so the businesses got the next best arrangement they could. Unfortunately unlike co-owners of a co-op or condo, they don’t have represent’n on a board that governs the property, but just have to deal thru the same local gov’t that residents have. Therefore they get special favors unofficially.

    2. Because the sporting goods store was not in the restaurant business.

      1. From what I’ve seen, restaurants always do better when they are located next to other restaurants. If they’re bad, they get overflow business when the good restaurants are too busy, and if they’re good, people see them when they’re eating somewhere else and decide to try them later.

  32. “Why isn’t he covered by that business owner’s ‘contributions’?”

    Because part of that business owner’s contributions go toward keeping food carts out of parking lots.

    1. Oh, the sporting goods person is *paying to keep people out of HIS OWN parking lot*? Even though he wanted the kid there?

      You make no fucking sense.

  33. They should have special officers stationed downtown to make certain each restaurant has exactly the same number of customers. That would really help ensure a “proper” business climate and profitability.

    That would be awesome. Except maybe for the guy who wanted a steak but was forced into the Thai noodle shop. But nobody really gives a fuck about him, anyway.

    1. Wasn’t that the “Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule” in Atlas Shrugged? Except in this case, you can’t eat a dog, because the kid was kicked out.

  34. Replace a kid with 1 hot dog cart with 500 adults with hot dog carts using infrastructure and services you pay EXTRA fees to maintain.

    OMFG the floodgates of ANARCHY!

    1. Indeed – like 500 carts are going to flood into Holland. There is not enough traffic/business to keep many carts going in a seasonal tourist spot. Kid would have been lucky to keep going with just his own.

      1. The person seems to need a hypothetical Hot Dog Stand Blitzkrieg to justify why one 13yr old kid is a threat to the good order of small town economies.

  35. …it is understandable that these businesses, historically at least, have been reluctant to allow mobile vendors into the downtown area to benefit from the environment the brick and mortar businesses have created…

    Hey, wait a minute! I thought we ALL contributed to building that environment. Those streets and parking spaces and street lights surrounding those downtown businesses, they didn’t build that.

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