Lately I have noticed a trend that is causing me to shake my not-so-bony fist in righteous indignation.
The city of Charleston has taken a turn to what looks to this casual observer like stiff opposition to entrepreneurs. The latest example is the proposed tightening of the hours for new bars and restaurants in a certain area (although an outcry from the business owners has been sufficient to cause the city to rethink the issue).
And now sting operations are being planned on private homeowners offering accommodations to tourists, rickshaw drivers for unlicensed tours and most recently, a new alternative to taxi cabs, UberX.
The bar owners took a risk with private funds and hard work to open businesses in a part of town that not long ago was not a safe place to walk at night. The homeowners are seeking to lessen their tax burden by opening their homes to visitors on a limited basis.
Rickshaw drivers? Come on, can't you make conversation with a passenger?
"Sports and weather, sir, that's all I can comment on. No sir, I cannot tell you where Rhett Butler's house is."
UberX, using a smart phone app that enables a private citizen to arrange transport with another private citizen, is cause for alarm, according to the city these days. How horrible. The UberX drivers are vetted by a private company.
A user can see what other users have to say about each driver before they enter the vehicle. Can you do that with the local taxi companies?
Back to the point - if you're willing to take a risk with your own money and sweat, you should get a break. It's hard enough to make an idea a reality without so much government oversight.
At least one of the city's oldest family-owned furniture businesses was started many years ago by a man selling his wares from a pushcart. Try that these days and see how far you get.
I have a water feature in my backyard. I'm thinking about charging a dollar to see it.
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