By now everyone in the local taxi industry knows how much power and sway Seattle and King County elected authorities hold over them, a few votes having turned our operational world upside down. We also found that even though Mayor Murray and the Seattle City Council identify themselves as liberal and progressive, with Sawant calling herself a Socialist, it didn't stop them, save one brave soul, Mike O'Brien, from rubber stamping and validating the illegal incursion by Uber, Lyft and Sidecar into our protected, regulated (and fee-driven) industry. Were their actions any different than might have been taken by those ultimate Conservative Boogie men, the Koch brothers? I doubt it.
There are unfortunate parallels which says to me that power corrupts regardless of professed ideology. One of the Koch brothers famously donates hundreds of millions of dollars to the arts and also cancer research. Does this now somehow make him an instant champion of so-called progressive causes? Of course it doesn't, the profound irony being the immense profits generated by the Koch's potential cancer-source based industries and interests.
I mention all this as the lead-in to an excerpt taken from the September 19th, 2014 issue (volume 14, issue 686) of "The Week, The Best of the US & International Media," which in turn had excerpted quotes from Jonathan Chait's 09/07/2014 New York Magazine's column entitled "Why the Worst Governments in America are Local Governments." All of us who have been screwed by those wonderful, bleeding-heart individuals occupying City Hall and the council chambers should take note. This article was featured on page 14 in the section called "Best Columns: The U.S."
"Among conservatives, there is an "almost axiomatic belief" that "government closest to the people governs best," said Jonathan Chait. But in reality, local and state governments abuse their power far more than does Washington, D.C. Take the city government of Ferguson, Missouri, "an Orwellian monstrosity" in which predominantly white politicians rule over a predominantly black population, using a militarized police, warrants, traffic stops, and court fines to dominate the population and siphon away its cash. Throughout the country, it's towns, cities, and states that have the most intrusive regulations: In New York, San Francisco, and Washington, for example, liberal politicians refuse to authorize cheaper new rental housing that the market demands, thus driving low-income workers away. The same government demand that hair cutters, interior decorators, and taxi drivers obtain a license to work---protecting incumbent businesses and driving up costs. Why does Big Small Government get away with all of this? Most citizens pay little attention, re-electing incumbents on party-line votes. Neither liberals nor conservatives generally understand that "the government that actually oppresses us is that which is closest to us."
Has a truer statement ever been made, especially in light of what occurred and continues to happen to us in the local taxi industry? Where is the promised enforcement? Again this weekend, no where to be seen. To me the local administrative attitude is "why care when you don't have to?" Remember that when voting this November for your local favorite Populist, he or she may not really be who they seem to be at first glance or otherwise claim as they shout Liberty and Freedom from lofty towers. Do we really need more Sally Bagshaws? I think not! Google " Jonathan Chait" and read his work in the achives of his "Daily Intelligencer" column.