Tom Martz posted this story on Facebook: Heated Exchange Over Frozen Treat. As you read it, you start to understand how out-of-touch and blinded-to-fact some elected officials can become.
The story centers on an ice cream vendor selling ice cream in an Ozark (MO) park. His offense was that the city park’s concession stand was open at the same time. Just what, you might ask, was the offense? He was “stealing” business from the city concession stand.
The story is chilling when you consider this statement by the city official, Sheila Goodman, food services manager for Ozark’s Parks and Recreation Department: “’You are competing with us,’ I said. ‘Either you go or I will call the police.’ He got very defensive.”
The “he” in question, Tim Plaster, had every right to get defensive. It is not he who is competing with the city but the city that is competing with him.
This is a fact that the city elected officials are also denying. According to the story, “Mayor Shane Nelson said Goodman’s reaction and the city’s position is reasonable and not anti-small business.”
Mr. Mayor, the city is performing a function that should at the very least be bid out to the private sector. You are, in fact, creating an anti-small business environment by establishing rules that disallow those small businesses from doing anything that “competes” with the city.
I wish this were an isolated incident, but local governments are competing with the private sector in many different areas of the state, from workout facilities to ice cream stands. You might be frightened to find out what your local government is doing in this area.
If you find an area where your local government is competing with the private sector – and creating an unfair competition at that – let us know. We will be glad to highlight that local government entity.