Reason | A. Barton Hinkle | Political HacksI shouldn't expect anything less from these empty headed halfwits. DC politicans are always overflowing with rhetoric about protecting the little people, but every single time it comes down to it, it's screw-the-people-let's-help-our-friends. Only the knuckleheads who run this town could think they're helping people with this, and the asinine hoop-jumping bullshit they're putting between me and shopping at a damned WalMart. In what goddamned universe does a supply cap on a service help people?
Suppose you’re the owner of a taxicab company in a largish metropolitan area. One day you notice some taxis tooling around town—and they’re not yours. They belong to an upstart competitor. His cars are newer, his drivers are nicer, and his fares are lower. Pretty soon your profits start shrinking. What are you going to do about it?
You have a couple of choices. Option A: Invest a lot of money in new vehicles, customer-service training for your drivers, GPS systems to map faster routes and so on. A lot of expense. A lot of effort.
So you go for Option B: Invest a little money in a few politicians, who adopt a medallion law: Only licensed operators with city-issued taxi medallions may operate cabs. The oldest cab companies get first dibs on the medallions, at the lowest rates. Only a few medallions are left over for the new guy, and he can’t afford them anyway. Bingo—your competition problem is solved. The customers might not like it, but what are they going to do—walk? [...]
Now it’s the District of Columbia’s turn. Four members of the D.C. City Council have introduced a bill that would create a medallion system for the nation’s capital. Medallion prices would start at $250 for the most established taxi companies and, for the newer entrants, run as high as $10,000. At least initially. As time wore on, it’s likely that the price of a medallion would go up for everyone. That’s what has happened in places such as New York, where a government permission slip to drive a cab costs about $600,000. In Boston, which initially capped medallions at 1,525 in the 1930s—and more than a half-century later had added only 250 more—a medallion will cost you $400,000.
At present the District has more than 10,000 licensed taxi drivers; the proposed legislation would establish only 4,000 medallions. Needless to say, such artificially imposed scarcity also drives up prices. A study by Natwar Gandhi, the District’s chief financial officer, found that fares in cities with medallion systems are 25 percent higher than in cities with open taxi markets.
I'm adding this to the pile of reasons I think DC's bid to get voting representation in congress is a bad idea. They get to vote for the city council, and their council still passes self-destructive laws like this. Why in the name of [something you hold dear] should they get to vote on even more important legislation? Get yoru own damn house in order and then we'll talk.
Oh wait, I haven't even starting to get upset at this town yet. Not until this came up:
Remember Brooke Oberwetter getting arrested at the Jefferson Memorial a couple of years ago for silently dancing at midnight? It was one of the first things I posted about here — one; two; three.
Well this happened last weekend:
Reason: Hit & Run | Mike Riggs | Federal Park Police Under Investigation for Choking, Body Slamming Dancer at Jefferson MemorialHere's a longer video:
Federal Park Police hassled, tackled and arrested five people on Saturday for dancing at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. The group, led by Iraq War veteran and TV host Adam Kokesh, was protesting a May 17 ruling in a case that dates back to April 2008, when a group of young libertarians organized by the now kaput Bureaucrash decided to rendezvous at the memorial for a silent celebration of TJ's birthday. Here's the Spectator's writeup of the 2008 event: [...]
On May 17, 2011, the D.C. Circuit "affirmed there is no constitutional right to dance at the Jefferson Memorial," so this weekend, Kokesh et al. decided to go dancing. They announced the plan on Facebook, and showed up at the memorial on Saturday in broad daylight. This is what happened:
According to the AP, the cops in question are now under investigation for their rough behavior:
The U.S. Park Police is investigating whether its officers were too aggressive in arresting five demonstrators who were dancing in protest over the weekend at the Jefferson Memorial. Videos posted online show the officers forcefully arresting the protesters Saturday afternoon. One officer is seen with his hands around a protester’s throat, and a demonstrator is also shown being slammed to the ground.As Radley Balko reported in 2008, Park Police weren't especially kind the first time around, either. When asked what Oberwetter (a past Reason contributor who now works for Facebook) was being charged with, the arresting officer told the other dancers to "shut the fuck up."
Whatever you think of police conduct and violence, or whether free speech (at a monument dedicated to a champion of free speech — no fighting in the war room!) includes silent dancing, or whether police should be the judges of what is and is not expression or disturbance, this is asinine because the arresters caused more disturbance than the arrestees. If someone calls in a noise complaint about their neighbor, you don't send a dozen squad cars with their sirens on to ask them to turn down the stereo.
Just the other day I was thinking that when my lease is up I want to think about moving downtown. 14th St has got this nice new hot dog shop and a noodle place and some nice new art galleries. I could get used to that. They're finally tearing out that disused, rusted used car dealership. It would be a nice place to live while I'm still young. But no. I'm not moving into a town that has so little disregard for its citizens. (Not that my county is much better, but the devil you know...)