Brickbat: Bike-Friendly City


bike rack
Anphotos /

Acting on an anonymous tip, Clearwater, Florida, code enforcement sent Gary Keener, owner of The Path Bicycle and Ride Shop, notice that he'd violated city code by installing a bike rack on the sidewalk outside his store without the required permits and inspections. Keener did not install the bike rack. The city did.

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  1. At the request of the city, Keener has since deleted a Facebook post he made last week mocking the mix-up. He said there are no hard feelings.

    “I was kind of poking fun at how the ridiculous the city is and how they worry more about something really, really stupid compared to the homeless problem downtown or why it seems like the city of Clearwater doesn’t want businesses to succeed downtown with all of their signage rules and regulations.”

    I would love to know how that request was framed.

    1. Well, since this scofflaw had previously been in trouble with the city for putting an A-frame chalkboard sign on the sidewalk, I think a little bit of attitude is to be expected from the City. You can’t let scofflaws like this get to uppity.

      1. And you know what else you can’t do? Have an edit button. You can’t let the HnR rabble get too uppity.

        1. Just how do you get to Uppity? Left turn at Albuquerque?

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  2. Mini-brickbat from the brickbat:

    The citation reads:


    But looking at the picture, it is clear that the bike rack is not on the sidewalk. The description from the article:

    On Dec. 4 the city blocked off a parking space on the 600 block of Cleveland Street, painted the asphalt blue, placed a red bag over the meter, and installed two spiral bike racks in the space.

    Kinda on par for government work.

    And just to make sure to drive home the brickbat nature of the incident, there is this little tidbit:

    At the request of the city, Keener has since deleted a Facebook post he made last week mocking the mix-up. He said there are no hard feelings.

    That’s a pretty dense list for such a minor incident.

  3. I used to think local government was not as bad because officials are foreced to be more responsive to local sentiment. So not true…

    At least in my area, local officials seem to have a hatred for small businesses. It’s completely counter-intuitive, since I doubt they’d want to see boarded up windows on every street, but they miss few opportunities to harass the owners of shops and restaurants over the most ridiculous or even non-existent things. I’m talking things like “flower top height” in decorative planters or the age of stacking chairs used for outdoor dining areas.

    1. Go sit in on a city council meeting or county board of supervisors meeting. You see firsthand how petty local governments can be with rules and the little power that they hold.

      They tend to have a deer-in-the-headlights look when you voice publicly how they are wasting taxpayer money or violating the state constitution regarding property rights.

      1. The lower the stakes, the more bitter the politics. Typically only the most politically engaged even know who these people are (and they’re often just as ideologically committed), so they can screw around quite a bit without suffering any consequences. When losing carries little cost, why not fight every battle to the last ditch?

    2. My stupid city council decided to annex more territory into the city to make our city limits more pretty to the eyes.

      Who cares if the owners of the land wanted to be inside city limits where you are paying city and county taxes rather than just county taxes.

    3. Store around here got dinged because a sign INSIDE THE STORE took up more than 1/4 of the window.

      1. Remember the petty tyrants who were hall monitors in HS?
        Now you know where they went and what they’re doing. And they’re STILL pissed that people laugh at them.

      2. You were blocking the cops from making “plain view” drug arrests.

    4. Wannabe dictators gotta dictate.

      1. That’s a lot of dic(s) in one sentence.

  4. Someone in the government put up that bike rack which is against code. I bet the responsible party will not face any fines because laws are for peasants like us and not the nobility in the government.

    1. The city bike rack is not against code.
      IF the city put up the bike rack on the sidewalk, it would be against code.

  5. Stupid is as stupid does.

  6. OK. I used to be a Libertarian because I preferred local over state, and state over federal. Clearly that doesn’t work either.
    Now I am an anarchist. New motto (from the sixties); ‘You can’t fight city hall, but you can burn it down”.
    The city:
    Accepts anonymous complaints
    Doesn’t investigate anonymous complaints
    Can’t tell a sidewalk from an old parking place on the street
    Randomly assigns a complaint to a nearby business because there is no way to know who put up the rack
    Doesn’t know what it is doing (literally)

    1. More anarchists on Reason than I suspected.

      I noticed that the article from Sunday with Larry Sharpe discussed him being a person that identifies anarchist.

      I confess that I don’t understand why an anarchist would want to hang around discussing Libertarian fundamentals.

      Anarchists don’t want any government for any reason and want everything voluntary association. Libertarians are classical liberals which has small and limited government and you give up as little of your rights as possible to have a tiny government to protect all citizen’s rights and for the common defense.

      1. Enemy of my enemy?

        Fellow travelers?

        Crazy knows crazy?

      2. An anarchist is a communist who a second earlier fired a bullet at a politician or bigwig. Thousands of examples in Google news archives bear this out. Likewise “liberal” meant gelded libertarian (as in Canada) before November 1932. After that Republicans began using “liberal” to curse non-prohibitionists the way the Fuehrer did, and when Fabian communists (whose platform did NOT advocate repeal) flocked to the victorious Dems, they adopted “liberal” as better-sounding than communist. Anarchists are the one thing Congress has legislated to exclude from the USA, so yeah, let’s tar-and-feather OURSELVES with that label!

      3. Why hang out? Same reason that libertarians often find common cause with Team Red and Team Blue – because they think that group is closer to being on the same page than the other Team.

        1. where the girls are?

      4. Anarchists come in many flavors. And while I lean ever-more anarchist myself, I try not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Making government smaller and less intrusive is a good thing, even if it falls short of ideal.

      5. The Fundamentals of libertarianism is expressed in NAP – don’t initiate force.

        An-Caps simply take that to it’s logical conclusion. So, An-Caps are libertarian fundamentalists, and all who aren’t An-Caps are non-fundamentalists.

    2. Wood. Chipper. Feet. First.

  7. Happy Government Holiday!

    1. Looks like Reason considers this a holiday like Thanksgiving too. No A.M. links.

      Shame. I was hoping to discuss the underwear shitting by Hawaiians from the false ballistic missile alert Saturday. People were putting their kids into storm drains for an instant bomb shelter. Just your kids and the cockroaches to survive the apocalypse.

  8. I don’t know whether local government is more responsive to the constituency or not, but I do know they more often go to jail than their federal counterparts.

    Locally we’ve had a parade of officials who went straight from office to the slammer. In Chicago it seems like the standard way to finish off a public service career.

  9. Going to “The City” with a complaint like this is the adult equivalent of “I’m tellin’ MOM!”

    I use therm adult VERY loosely.

    1. Yeah, what kind of person gets upset about a bike rack?

      1. Competing company?

        Resident that lost a spot to park for a bike rack?

        Koch Bros or other villains of Capt Planet?

  10. 9 times out of 10 its government incompetence mixed with authoritarianism.

  11. Funny especially after the low income housing article.

  12. I dunno, awful big coincidence. A bike shop with a bike rack in front? What’re the chances?

    1. C’mon man – everybody knows you drive to a bike shop.

      If you already have a bicycle there’s no reason to go to one.

  13. I hope orders have gone out cancelling the impending SWAT raid on the perp and controlled demolition of the offending rack/terror.

    1. I would support the demolition of the bike rack. Don’t feed the raccoons.

    2. I would support SWAT raiding the government official that authorized the building of the bike rack.

      1. popcorn?

  14. Obviously, Clearwater is not hiring anyone that has more than a room-temperature IQ.

    1. Not as insulting as you might think.
      Here in Florida, room temperature can be quite high.

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