Friday, July 27, 2012

Holland MIch Hot Dog Stand Shut Down

Reason has a piece registering righteous indignation over what Shakespeare in Hamlet's soliloquy called "the insolence of office."
This summer, 13-year-old Nathan Duszynski wanted to make some money to help out his disabled parents—his mom has epilepsy and his dad has multiple sclerosis. So he decided to open a hot dog stand. He saved $1,200, mostly money made by mowing lawns and shoveling snow. He checked with the city to make sure he didn't need any licenses or permits, even going to city hall in person with his mom. And then he bought a cart. (Yep, that's hot dog's from Nathan's, for those who are keeping score at home.)

He arrived to set up shop on his first day and 10 minutes later, a zoning official arrived to shut him down. The problem: The cart, which is in the parking lot of a sporting goods store, is on the edge of official downtown commercial district of Holland, Michigan. The city bans food carts in that area in order to minimize competition for the eight tax-paying restaurants a couple of blocks away.

If Nathan had been Dutch instead of Jewish, he might have got more sympathy. Apropos of nothing, I dated a black girl from Holland way back in the last century when I was studying at Ann Arbor. Anyway, Nathan's sorta thrown in the towel & the sponge.
The city says it is willing to work with Nathan, but keeping food carts out of the small, walkable downtown area is pretty much the same thing as banning food carts altogether. Nathan and his family obviously know that: The hot dog cart is now for sale.

Here's nice YouTube piece on the whole situation. Nathan looks like he'd make a fine libertarian...!

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