Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Burglars Welcomed

The JT has an article today about a would be candy business and a controversy over their burglar bars.

To summarize the articles contents, there is a proposal for candy store in the inner city that has come before the city council. The building that would house the candy store has burglar bars. The city council has voted to approve a conditional use permit allowing the burglar bars while Mayor Dickert has promised to veto approval, noting that "bars are a horrible example of what the city should be."

I am of the opinion that the government should not concern themselves with how business or property owners protect their property from criminals. Will the city pay for the losses when the candy store is burglarized? Of course not.

The larger problem is, as I have stated numerous times in the past, the conditional use permitting requirement. In bygone days, property uses were constrained only by zoning decisions. When I opened my business in Racine several years ago, there was no conditional use permit required. I was setting up a business in an area zoned for business and I was not required to grovel to local politicians. This is how it should be.

However, we now have a conditional use permit requirement. This allows all business property decisions to be subject to political considerations. Risks abound when opening a business as it is, but the conditional use permit greatly magnifies said risks. Typically, there is considerable time, energy, and money expended prior to any business venture. In Racine now, even legal businesses in properly zoned areas are prevented by government from opening. Why bother considering Racine as a place to invest?

Of course property owners and politicians have divergent interests. Politicians, in this case are interested in combatting a perception of crime. The business owner is interested in combatting actual crimes. To politicians, burglar bars harm their fight against the perception of crime. To a property owner, burglar bars help their fight against actual crime. As you can clearly see, the needs of the politicians are quite different from the needs of this property owner. And now, thanks to the conditional use permit, property owners can now be used to fulfill the needs of politicians. That is not why people buy property and it will of course undermine a property's value.

Now on to this crime perception problem. If there were no crime in Racine I could fathom an argument outlawing burglar bars, video surveillance, heck, even locks. But crime exists and government has no business preventing people from efforts to deter crime. The city should join in this effort to combat actual crimes and, to the extent they are successful, the image problem will go away.

Perhaps the real problem with burglar bars for politicians is that they are a visual reminder of the politicians failure to control crime. But then, when your policies create incentives for criminals, what should you expect?


Anonymous said...

But if only we paid more in taxes there would be no crime. As for bars on windows not representing the place Racine should be, apparently Racine SHOULD be a place where politicians can slander citizens then dump the legal costs on the taxpayers. Oh yes, and pay for trips to Packers parties at the White House. There is no crime in DC either.

Anonymous said...

Is there any wonder why the inner city is so underserved by business? If the proprieter can't protect their goods from walking off in the middle of the night? Certainly there is money to be made in a high crime area, but WTF does the mayor expect? Make it easy for criminals? Hasn't been mayor very long, but has he already forgotten how the private sector has to deal in reality, instead of spin?

As for the CUP. One of the "conditions" usually is it can be revoked at any time, for pretty much any reason. Like not sucking up to city officials.

Judge Mental said...

Inner city unemployment skyrockets, the the Mayor is concerned about bars on windows. Talk about misplaced priorities!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like something that might have happened in London. And we know the final results of that attitude.

Anonymous said...

This is the SAME attitude these "public servants" have about the police. More police on the streets doesn't promote the image they want. If the police want to sit in front of my house, I will arrange to have three meals a day delivered, plus coffee and soft drinks anytime they want. THAT is the image I want in my neighborhood.

Sean Cranley said...

It would seem that simple zoning laws should not only be sufficient, but provide simple transparency and facilitate planning on the part of the property owner.

Denis Navratil said...

Yes Sean. It is rather odd to be in what appears to be full agreement with you. Anyway, the power grab by our elected officials - almost entirely Dems- is harming would be entrepreneurs in the inner city. But they keep voting them into office so I suppose you get the government that you deserve in the end.

Sean Cranley said...

Well Denis, it looks as though Germantown (hardly a Democratic Party bastion) has conditional use permits: http://wisconsinmunicipallaw.com/?p=187

I also know first hand that Conhaven Burlington does as well. "But they keep voting them into office so I suppose you get the government that you deserve in the end."

Anonymous said...

Once again, Sean, you miss the point. Do you do that on purpose, or are you just... well, nevermind. A conditional use permit on its face isn't a bad thing. Trouble is, it is used as a bludgeon by liberal city officials to enact their progressive agenda... that fuzzy utopia thingy that changes as often as they change their shorts. Maybe that's a bad analogy. Certainly a bad mind-picture! But here again, you take Denis' argument, make an erroneous argument, and fluff it up by dragging in extranious factoids. Get back to the candy store, please! Oh, that's right, linear thinking ain't your thang. It requires intellect.

Anonymous said...

OK, let me net it out so even (maybe) you can understand, Sean. Do you support the business need to have security bars, and trust the free market will determine if that's a good place to buy goods, or do you think the mayor has the right to trump private property rights - even though they are already frightfully watered down (but still approved) by the conditional use permit - as defined by the city dept. in charge of that?

Linear, Sean, think linear. Pretty tough for you based on your latest rant to the JT editor. Wow! Gotta admit you are sinking in the the minds of rational citizens. Suprised? Going forward I'll continue to bring you back to reality, and laugh at your digression into fantasy. May the thugs be with you. (Star Wars paraprhase)

Sean Cranley said...

Dear Ano, do you really believe that only "liberals" take the conditional use thing too far. Yeah right. I highly doubt it.

Tha Candy store owner should be able have bars if they feel the need.

Denis Navratil said...

Sean, I agree that Republicans can get in on the "conditional use" game among other abuses and I am on record speaking out about it here. I speak out about big government "solutions" that encroach on our freedoms whether they come from Pubs or Dems. That said, virtually every problem has a government solution if you are a modern day liberal like yourself, less so for Republicans, and even less again if you are a sensible conservative/libertarian like myself. So the "conditional use" abuses are consistent with your governing philosophy - see Obamacare mandates etc...- but not mine.

Anonymous said...

The burglar bars should be kept and this mayor should be removed from office.

Sean Cranley said...

I guess that's what I get for agreeing with and trying to show that we needn't always be on the opposite sides of every issue.

Actually Denis, I'm somewhat uncomfortable with the individual mandate. It's unfortunate that it was required by the insurance company lobby in order for them to not wield the ridiculus amount of power they have over our government and kill Obamacare. SO a backroom deal was struck.

You see they were adamantly opposed to, and fearful of, a public option that would ahve given American citizens an option other than fealty to the insurance profiteers.

But while I'm uncomfortable with the mandate, I'm very disturbed by the fact that at least 50 million Americans don't have health insurance and therefore, have no secure access to healthcare. And I'm absolutely appalled by the estimated 45,000 Americans who die EVERY YEAR due to lack if insurance and the healthcare that it affords.

Mandate vs 450,000 of my fellow citizens and human being dead every decade we delay having a civilized healthcare system. Mandate/Death.

Who can be discompassionate in the face of such issues? Who can leave it to the false hope of "Free Market" that continues to fail us on a scale of 45,000 souls every year, year after year?

Have a happy Labor Day!

Sean Cranley said...

Opps forget my documentation: http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/09/17/us-usa-healthcare-deaths-idUSTRE58G6W520090917