At midnight on December 31, I not only drank a toast to the new year, but also to finally getting all my business operations out of Ventura County, California.
Never have I operated in a more difficult environment. Ventura County combines a difficult government environment with a difficult employee base with a difficult customer base.
And so I got out. Hallelujah.
PS- People frequently talk about taxes in California being what makes the state “anti-business.” That may be, but I guess I never made enough money to have the taxes really bite. But taxes are only a small part of the equation.
Go read the blow by blow. It’s worse than Dickens’ Bleak House story. Aside from the obvious messages in this story, what I find terribly depressing (or should I be optimistic) about events like this is the following. Here we have such an insane administrative and regulatory apparatus that is making the life of a campground operator miserable. From my understanding, the RRM folks spend a massive amount of their time cleaning and maintaining park amenities, and provide a little bit of recreational services. They are not generating electricity; they are not creating seismic events with hydraulic fracturing techniques; they are not having their employees hole up in a 10-story windowless factory with locked escape doors working on dangerous machinery; they are not creating fancy financial products and duping investors into buying them; and so on. They are basically a campground maintenance company that has at worst a small positive impact on the environment and working conditions of their employees. Yet the degree to which this enterprise is harassed would make one think they were strip mining coal with slave labor and dumping acid mine runoff into the West’s only freshwater aquifer.
You may very much want a strong regulatory apparatus. You may very much want to redistribute resources from entrepreneurs to … someone else. You may very much want to be paternalistic. But isn’t evidence that we’ve gone too far? And if the “state” (and even customers) are giving this kind of hell to this kind of a small operation, just imagine the vast monetary and human resources that are being dedicated on the state side to this kind of enforcement and harassment. Since the state has very limited resources and very limited talented people to take care of smart regulation, wouldn’t those who favor a strong state STILL be fuming about these sorts of episodes? Or is the idea that resources are unlimited so entrenched in our thinking that it’s preposterous to ask folks to consider that spending years permitting a mobile trailer means that other more important things are not being properly paid attention to, or that not all activities need be “regulated?”
Or should we be optimistic? The state has done such an effective job providing public services to its constituents, and all regulatory activities are taking place so efficiently, that it has nothing left to do but devote zillions of hours harassing small campground operators? I suppose that’s reason to be optimistic.