Guess who bears brunt of laws? And street repair saga continues
John Van Horn
For some time, I have been musing about who is affected when a law is passed. I think I have come up with a way to communicate it.
The problem: Why does the government, any government, at any level, run by any political party, pass laws, rules and regulations that negatively affect mostly the lower income members of our society? To wit:
In California, gasoline taxes and environmental rules add about $1 per gallon to fuel costs. (When gasoline in New Orleans was $1.79 a gallon, the pump price in Los Angeles was $2.80.) Who is affected most by this $15 a tank surcharge in California? Not the rich or upper-middle class; they just pay it and press on. The lower income earners see $60 to $100 a month coming out of their pay, and they need it.
So-called sin taxes add substantially to the cost of wine, beer, liquor and tobacco. The 1 percenters could care less. The poor are hit hard. And it may be the case that lower income folks smoke more and drink more than others.
Insurance regulations limit competition, particularly in health insurance, and thus tend to drive up rates. The rich probably don’t even know what their insurance costs. The poor, not so much.
The Environmental Protection Agency and its mandates have greatly affected the production of coal, limited construction of refineries, and the like. Where is most of the coal produced? In West Virginia, one of our poorer states. Where are the refineries? The Gulf Coast, areas of high unemployment. Bill Gates and Elon Musk don’t care; they pay what it takes to power their enterprises.
And what about the Keystone XL Pipeline project? Canada will sell the oil to U.S., or to China. We don’t build the pipeline, costing thousands of jobs? Canada shrugs and goes elsewhere with its oil. A lot of poor people who would have had jobs here in the U.S. go wanting.
City governments are pressuring police to
hold back on enforcement in minority neighborhoods. If you take Baltimore as an example, the police pulled back, and murder rates in poorer neighborhoods skyrocketed. It didn’t
happen in rich neighborhoods.
Zoning rules set parking requirements for apartments, thus driving up the construction costs of those buildings and causing higher rents. Renters are paying for parking, even though they may not have vehicles. Who are hurt? Lower income families who can’t afford to live in those buildings because of high rents.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
A solution? Perhaps when a new tax, law or regulation is being considered, an “impact study” would have to be done to see just who is affected and by how much. Maybe if lawmakers knew that a particular tax cost low-income families so much a year, they might think twice.
Naw, probably not …
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The saga continues …
To bring you up-to-date on our street repair: To get the repair done, each homeowner had to pay to have the curbs replaced, first. They formed a district, and each of us will be billed.
The curbs are in and look great. Of course, the street is not “formed” to fit the curbs, so when we back out of our driveways, we scrape our bumper, but that will go away.
In keeping with the street repair, the water department decided to replace the water mains in our area. They install the mains, pave over the cut made for them, and then the street will be repaired.
No, wait …
After they pave over the cut, they come back and cut the street again so they can hook up the new main to each house.
But wait …
They have “scraped and paved” most of the streets in our area, including ones that will be cut (twice) for the water mains. This is only a “temporary” scrap and pave, because in a few weeks, they will come back and reengineer the streets to fit the curbs.
Then in a final pass, they will come in and actually tear out all the paving that had been done and replace the streets from the dirt up.
We have had potholed streets for years, why the rush now? Why spend the money they don’t have to pave the streets twice?
Our city councilman has gone to ground and doesn’t read his emails (he tells us he gets too many), and there is no one else to ask.
It makes for fun conversation across the back fence.
As for parking, every day a different side of the street is co-opted, so we are never sure where to park. And what about on-street sweeping days? If an entire street is being marked “No Parking,” then those cars need to go somewhere.
Don’t yell at the enforcement officers; they are just doing their jobs.
One showed me her handheld, and our streets weren’t listed as “no ticketing this week” – even though our nonresponsive councilman told us we wouldn’t be cited.
I suggested that all citing in the neighborhood be halted until the final repair work was finished. Nope – costs too much in citation revenue.
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I just completed a webinar for Women in Parking. I was joined by Kathleen Laney and we discussed the pros and cons of social media and its effect on our industry. Kathleen knocked down a number of myths about social media. The big one – “it gives customers a place to complain about my company.”
She noted that customers are going to complain if there is a problem, no matter what, and its best to get in front of issues before then grow into major problems.
I recounted the concept of a voluntary fail. It works like this: If you find a problem, let’s say a faulty product, you immediately correct it and tell the world you have done so. If you do that before anyone realizes that there is a problem, you often come out a winner. “What a great company, they fixed a problem we didn’t know we had.”
However, if you don’t act quickly, and someone calls you on the issue one second before you publish, you are a goat and there is little you can do except eat crow and hunker down.
Social media helps you get in front of issues. Use it.
Kathleen did such a super job, she reminded me that many actors refuse to work with kids or pets. They always steal the show. Kathleen was the star, even though I had top billing.