Mayor shuts down home produce stand operated by kids

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134 Responses to “Mayor shuts down home produce stand operated by kids”

  1. Profession says:

    Because what we need less of is commerce.

  2. David Guerrero says:

    I think the city’s concerns are valid, especially the from an aspect of public safety. They should take their wares to an organized farmer’s market.

  3. fyodordos says:

    feel free to let him know that his mother raised a fool:

    he’s 2nd from the left:

    http://www.ci.clayton.ca.us/images/City%20Council%202007.jpg

  4. fyodordos says:

    r gv hm cll:

  5. jimh says:

    Dillenger, the mayor’s position on lemonade stands is very clear in the story. He says they are illegal, but don’t last long enough to do anything about. So, he would shut them down if only he had the chance. Gah.

    Actually, I don’t know why I’m even commenting, since DUNKINDO@#1 has the WIN.

  6. Mark Frauenfelder says:

    David Guerrero@71

    I do like “foodstuffs.” It’s a fun word!

  7. Master Mahan says:

    Well, thank goodness Clayton has been rescued from this nightmare of unlicensed vegetable sales. These children terrorized this town for literally hours with their callous disregard for local zoning laws. It must be nice, living in a town where the biggest problem is a couple of preteens selling produce.

  8. mujadaddy says:

    This is a perfect example of how their position is the correct one; therefore, we should vote McCain or Obama.

  9. SKR says:

    If this case was about immigrants selling vegetables on the street this wouldn’t be an issue. Firstly, because it wouldn’t even be a news story covered by anyone, and secondly because you wouldn’t care. It could be the same produce and everything, but somehow an immigrant doesn’t pull on the same heartstrings, does it? The law should be impartial to race or age or class, and this case is a testament to that. I don’t understand the ire stirred by this story.

    In addition to the above mentioned instances of public outrage on behalf of minorities in NYC, how about Drew Carey lambasting the LA city government for cracking down on vendors selling hotdogs wrapped in bacon. The video can be found at http://reason.tv/video/show/392.html For those of you who don’t know, this amazing creation is affectionately known as a “Danger Dog”. They are super yummy. It consists of a hog dog wrapped in bacon and then fried on a griddle. To top all that off, it is smothered in onions carmelized in bacon fat.

    Is anyone else sick of this particular brand of self-pity? As a white male living in East LA, am I permitted to whine that the man is keeping ME down when we have a black president since the mayor of LA is Latino and our governor is an Austrian immigrant? Sure, I guess some would technically consider Arnie white but at least he has an accent.

    They all become authoritarians when they gain power. Hmmm, maybe that is what is generating the ire.

  10. Marcelo says:

    Funny, on that website for the town, the Farmers Market is being advertised. I wonder if the kids even -could- sell there.

  11. trr says:

    CK,
    informative stuff, that.
    Major fail on point #3, although I can see how unauthorized sales of produce in residential areas would be a prime example of irresponsible urban growth,and they weren’t downtown, so it’s OK to bust ‘em, cuz it won’t discourage *downtown* business growth. In fact, it forces those lazy neighborhoodies to go downtown to look for their local-grown tomatoes, where they belong!

  12. Jeffrey McManus says:

    Normally these little projects foster entrepreneurialism in kids. In this case, they’re fostering a new generation of city government gadflies. Kudos, mayor!

  13. Marrz says:

    I hope this makes the daily show Dick move of the week.

    about the comments on the immigrants doing this, I only skimmed the argument so please excuse me if my point is a little off but to me this is more of a shooting down the ideal that hard work will get you far, These girls go out of their way for a little money for their hard work and especially for a child that should be rewarded, my little brother asks for jobs to make some money around the house. and frankly I think the stand was a brilliant idea for these little girls

  14. MellowMonk says:

    The goal of this kind of seemingly meaningless crackdown on innocent behavior is to gradually accustom all Americans to crackdowns in general. When someone who heard about this story sets up a lemonade stand and *doesn’t* get harassed by The Man, they’ll think, “Whew, we got away with it! But let’s not push our luck beyond that.”

  15. EH says:

    Clayton is a form of concentrated aspirational suburbia. Seriously, I wouldn’t put it past some neighbor to hate kids and their gleeful laughing and invent a ruse to get them offa their lawn (or sidewalk, or earshot).

  16. Anonymous says:

    This is the town were I grew up, I can’t believe that the mayor would do something like this. It is a small town and the mayor I’m sure will not be reelected.

  17. Scuba SM says:

    When I was in middle school, my parents encouraged me to get a sales tax license, and start building birdhouses. I did, and started selling them at my local farmer’s market. I didn’t sell very many, but I was there every Saturday for a few months. Towards the end of the season, the City Treasurer comes by and tells me that the Chamber of Commerce does not want to rent me space at the farmer’s market anymore because my birdhouses are too similar to the stuff one of their members sells, and as a result, I’m stealing business from them. I thought he was bluffing, but sure enough, the next week, I went back and tried to rent a space, and they refused to do so.

    That incident was one of my first experiences with city politics, and it has left a foul taste in my mouth. At least I got to see exactly how the political system worked at a young age. My only regret is that I didn’t make a bigger deal out of it at the time. I probably should have at least written a letter to the editor of the local paper or something.

  18. locomotivebreath1901 says:

    Klfrn. Fgrs.

    Nnny (pls) stt xtrrdnr.

  19. Jack says:

    Look street vendors are a great American tradition. So is cut-throat business. And happily this Mr. Show clip has both!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP4yX2rkpBc

  20. Foolster41 says:

    This guy is a tightass. Seriously, kids selling lemonade/vegis/eggs/chickens is going to kill our economy? Really? I think he needs some figures to back this up.

    I’m not sure where the “public safety” part comes in. Since when did we become so paranoid that kids selling fruit and lemonade on the street scares us?

  21. Billy Vegas from Puppetgov says:

    ***PLEASE SIGN the Katie and Sabrina Lewis’ All American Veggie Stand Petition to Mayor Gregg Manning

    ………
    http://www.petitiononline.com/veglewis/petition.html

  22. gideon_s says:

    I personally think it’s awesome that these kids got a taste of how the free market works. How can they be allowed to operate without government regulation?

  23. Akasha says:

    @#37
    You obviously haven’t been peddled to by Mexicans on every street corner with flowers or bags of oranges or whatever else they have in hand in LA. It’s worse in the San Fernando Valley, I’ve seen booths everywhere selling all sorts of things, including Sangria and other mixed alcoholic drinks.

    Of course, Clayton is in the northern reaches of California, so who knows. It does sound like the work of a Child-hating neighbor who put in the complaint to the mayor’s office.

  24. stuiethegod says:

    Funny how I just heard about something like this happening over here in Chicago. Some cops shut down a kid’s lemonade stand because they didn’t have a permit. Though here they ended up having to issue an apology and let the kids go about their business…

  25. Jack says:

    @#35 POSTED BY MELLOWMONK:

    The goal of this kind of seemingly meaningless crackdown on innocent behavior is to gradually accustom all Americans to crackdowns in general.

    Ha! You really think that? If that were the case, yard, garage, stoop and other sidewalks sales would be cracked down nationwide. But they aren’t.

    There will always be cranky neighbors complaining about meddling kids. It’s a global tradition!

    Too bad their mayor sounds like a d-bag of the first degree.

    • Antinous says:

      This, sadly, seems pretty normal for Southern California. Palm Springs requires permits and licenses for everything. That’s how the city gets its revenue, so they’re all over it if you try to do something without the proper authority. The upshot is that everybody does everything illegally rather than deal with the city bureaucracy.

  26. mgfarrelly says:

    Zero Tolerance culutre strikes again.

    We can’t allow any exceptions, not even for children, ESPECIALLY not for children.

    Heaven forfend that they learn discernment and discretion. No, no Everyone gets the same brutal, clumsy treatment from oafish public officials.

  27. eggman says:

    Here is the chance for the Mayor to recant and become a Hero!

  28. ck says:

    From Gregg J. Manning for City Council election website in 2000…

    “Top Priorities if Elected

    1. Attract new business to the Clayton Downtown

    2. Continue the responsible City growth which has made Clayton the City you want to live in

    3. Maintain the small town feel which has brought all the nice people to live in Clayton.”

    Don’t these girls emulate all three?

    http://www.smartvoter.org/2000/11/07/ca/cc/vote/manning_g/

  29. mdhatter says:

    ***PLEASE SIGN the Katie and Sabrina Lewis’ All American Veggie Stand Petition to Mayor Gregg Manning

    I can’t sign a petition that uses fascist AND draconian in the same sentence, sorry.

    But I’m totally in support of personal (grown on site only) Farm Stands being immune to Zoning laws.

  30. JDavid says:

    And we wonder why the youth is content to play video games and become complacent lemmings. Show some initiative and get beat down for it.

    The Mayor ought to be chucked out of office on his ear.

  31. ridl says:

    HA HA HA “CAVES”

    Acronym Win!

  32. BBNinja says:

    That produce wasn’t being properly taxed! And the sales could have been supporting Al Queda terror cell operations in America!

  33. Lauren O says:

    I was talking to a Latino immigrant who I saw get busted by the cops for selling fruit on the corner of my street. I remarked that what happened to him would never happen to two young white girls selling lemonade. The fact that it did (in a city relatively near to me, too) doesn’t exactly make me feel better. Why won’t the cops just let me buy fresh produce in my own neighborhood? Jeez!

  34. loopGhost says:

    Seriously, what kind of spineless slug complains to the city about 2 kids selling veggies from their garden?!

    I’ve had many run-ins w/ my neighbors who are young renters partying until the wee hours on their front lawn. I simply step out onto my front porch wearing my underwear – scream at them to shut up or I will be over at 6am w/ my kids to discuss the issue further.

    Problem solved, no hard feelings.

  35. gaygeek says:

    Err, guys. Before you keep going in whatever directions you are going in I have to tell you all a few things. I live across from the Clayton border and as Clayton goes, this is par for the course. People in Clayton are waaay beyond NIMBYism, the are CAVEs (Citizens Agaisnt Virtually Eveything. Several years bak Clayton opposed the a parochial scholl since it would bring increased parking on thie streets ( a problem since at the time every house in Clayton had tow to four cars (SUVs mostly)), then they opposed a bocce ball court saying it would bring in the ‘wrong element’ who would ‘play boom boxes late into the night’. Yep, there were fears of elderly Italian gangs into retro 80s accessories. They hold an Octoberfest in September. They are currently redoing their entire ‘old downtown’central square because it just wasn’t quaint enough..and the parking sucked.
    Just let it go like I do, otherwise you just get these headaches.

  36. Phikus says:

    DAVID GUERRERO@83: “somehow an immigrant doesn’t pull on the same heartstrings, does it?’

    No one else here has deigned to refer to an immigrant as an “it.”

    I think your “nobody would care if they were immigrants” straw man has been thoroughly shown to not be the issue you’d like to make it. Let’s move on.

    Many people here have hit the nail on the head. Micro businesses need to be exempt from zoning laws because they pose no real harm to the neighborhood or society. In fact, I’ll bet they can be seen as a great benefit to most of the folks in their area. When you are talking about a kids’ venture, it is especially so: They were learning about cultivating wholesome goods from the earth, harvesting them, and participating in our economy. This is the core of the American dream, which has always applied especially to immigrants. Until now.

    JACK: I have always loved that Mr. Show sketch. Thanks for linking it here.

  37. vespabelle says:

    Kids should only sell cheap crap through Junior Achievement type programs!

  38. mujadaddy says:

    “Former Produce Seller” lol

  39. Adam Weiss says:

    I can understand the city not wanting to make an ad-hoc exception to existing laws. If they bend the rules for the kids, then everyone will want the rules bent, and then there will be an avalanche of unfairness.

    However, I cannot understand the attitude of the mayor. He’s basically saying “Those are the rules asshole, tough shit.” If he was worth his weight in salt, he’d be saying “Sorry, those are the rules today, you’ll have to shut down for now. However, here is the date of the next city council/planning commission meeting. Come on by and present your case and we’ll see if we can fast-track an amendment to the city codes to provisionally allow minors to run low-gross curbside businesses in their neighborhoods.”

    I mean, seriously. How busy can city council of the city of Clayton, CA, pop. 10,000 really be?

  40. chiz says:

    there is alot more to this story than what is being reported. this is not just two littlte girls with a stand. this is really being run by their parents. Only after the city told them to stop was it “just 2 little girls”. they were not the ones driving the the tractor that is parked out front, or the ones outside selling produce every weekend. Sure the girls were outside occasionally but they were not the ones operating the stand. Their father must figure if he says it is just a lemonade and then has people from the newspaper come and take picture of his kids in the yard with american flags on their shirts everyone will think it is just the “big bad city” picking on some kids. The farmers market is litteraly 2 blocks from their house and has been suggested as a better place from them to go instead of the intersection where police routinely sit and wait for people to run the stop signs. Many neighbors have been interviewed by various news group but none of them have been shown so far. Mostly likely because they would like to see this done some where more apropriate.

  41. JFlex says:

    Un-explativing-believable.

    Is there really not more to this story? No e-coli epidemic linked to these kids’ garden? Because this strikes me as totally batty.

  42. bobert says:

    The Clayton city web site has an email address for comments. I encourage people to use it.

    I participated in a Pastafarian email onslaught to a couple of local Florida school boards, and it was very effective. The creationist members backed right down – they said they, um, realized they hadn’t considered all sides of the issue – e.g. they wanted to get re-elected and didn’t realize so many people were annoyed.

  43. aldasin says:

    You obviously haven’t been peddled to by Mexicans on every street corner with flowers or bags of oranges

    OMG I can’t tell you how many times my day has been ruined by the sight of a mexican selling strawberries on the corner.
    Stupid poor people.

  44. sally599 says:

    Its unclear why some of you are comparing this to a garage sale. Those are pretty highly regulated. While it varies regionally, in most cases you have to have a permit.

    Good thing there’s the lemonade stand computer game for when reality is just a little too real.

  45. Clampants says:

    “Zucchini, melons, tomatoes, radishes,”

    …slang for”

    “Stolen digital cameras, LSD, weapons-grade plutonium, bootlegged DVDs of Mamma Mia”

  46. wurp says:

    Loopghost: You are my hero.

  47. Mark Frauenfelder says:

    JDavid@45: bingo!

  48. jim10 says:

    I guess he needs to express his power and control in someway. I hope everyone on the street sends their kids out to sell stuff in protest. I don’t think he has any chance of being mayor again.

  49. amapolalola says:

    Next will be a press release from the Mayor’s office saying he has checked into rehab. That should solve everything.

  50. madcap_freedom says:

    Oops…
    Palms were not greased…
    Bribes were not paid…

    Maybe he took a check and the check bounced…

  51. ljarratt says:

    What party does this mayor belong to? Does he have an opponent for the upcoming election? Does that opponent have a website we can direct people to?

  52. jimh says:

    Scuba SM: So, your experience in the birdhouse business left a foul taste in your mouth? Well done!

  53. grimc says:

    “You obviously haven’t been peddled to by Mexicans on every street corner with flowers or bags of oranges or whatever else they have in hand in LA.”

    How did you know they were Mexican? Good heavens, you didn’t actually engage the riffraff in conversation, did you?

  54. dainel says:

    Zoning laws are stupid. You put all the houses on one side of town, and all the shops on the other. Workplaces and schools are located far from homes. This way, travel distances are maximized, ensuring that more energy is wasted on transport, and time wasted traveling to and fro.

  55. Anonymous says:

    “The farmers market is litteraly 2 blocks from their house and has been suggested as a better place from them to go instead of the intersection where police routinely sit and wait for people to run the stop signs.”

    So the deal then is the mayor is under pressure from the farmer’s market to force them out of business? It’s really the most logical explanation for this.

  56. Phikus says:

    ADAM WEISS@107: “How busy can city council of the city of Clayton, CA, pop. 10,000 really be?

    Still too busy to give a shit, apparently…

  57. JFlex says:

    People, people. Can we please keep this board civilized? Even discussing a Mexican sullies our little cigar circle.

  58. loopGhost says:

    WURP: you haven’t seen me in my undies.

    shudder.

  59. Individual says:

    Petty tyrants, the scourge of human rights, freedom, and privacy.

  60. mgfarrelly says:

    @David Guerrrero:

    You said:
    The local government has an obligation to enforce protections the public has asked for which, in this case, is the assumption of safe food being sold and not having street vendors in the neighborhood. If the public feels differently about it, they should change the law

    Which seems to paint law enforcement as simple drones, incapable of discerning between a legitimate concern (say someone selling brand new stereos out of the back of a truck) and children peddling greens.

    I believe that my government and my police should be capable of making judgment calls and not simply act as automatons.

    As for people rising up and changing the law, what reasonable person would think that children selling fruits and veggies in front of their house would be a crime in the first place?

    The law should be impartial to race or age or class, and this case is a testament to that.

    That’s simply factually inaccurate. Juveniles are subject to a completely separate court system and are often the subject of many more laws regarding conduct such as curfews, age-restricted purchases and vehicle use. We hold kids to different standards of justice all the time.

  61. Sean Grimm says:

    You can’t allow these privileged white children to sell their produce on the streets, it takes profits from the pockets of privileged white owners of local farms that use cheap Mexican labor that get no medical benefits.

  62. Akasha says:

    I wasn’t trying to insinuate that it was a horrible thing, or look down on anyone.

    I’ve just never seen sellers being given a hard time here in LA, even when I’ve seen alcohol being sold at stands on street corners, so it just surprises me, that’s all.

  63. Jack says:

    @#55 POSTED BY SALLY599 :

    Its unclear why some of you are comparing this to a garage sale. Those are pretty highly regulated. While it varies regionally, in most cases you have to have a permit.

    I have never seen ANYONE run a garage, stoop, yard sale required to have a permit in any way. It’s accepted in most of the country that when the weather is nice, and when you hit Saturday or Sunday, people will sell their stuff. Nobody cares.

    Anyone decrying regulation for stuff like this should realize that tons of major businesses that truly screw people over have slowly been deregulated over the years since Reagan took office.

    So now you’re telling us major businesses should have it easier but kids selling stuff on a card table in their own yard need legal action?

    Get real. Leave the kids alone.

  64. funeralpudding says:

    I can’t believe the knee-jerk reaction of so many of you, so eager to jump in on the case of the poor mistreated little girls. Look, if the community doesn’t want people selling their goods on sidewalks, they have every right to enforce a zoning ban. If it’s wrong, if the ordinance is unfair to micro-business, change it. It’s that simple. The dad, surely behind the scenes of the operation, says, “There is always exceptions and compromises and ways to go around [ordinances].” Really?!? The cop who gave me my last parking ticket didn’t think so. But there will always be people who feel they are special in some way and believe they are above the law. It’s not a far leap to link that kind of thinking to the crimes of Bush and his apologists, yet here it’s supposedly more free-thinking people brushing aside the law and offering ridiculous excuses why. And please spare me the wry and witty commentary about the difference between war crimes and vegetables, it’s irrelevant, it’s the thinking that’s the issue. The law applies to Bush and to families running street businesses the same.

  65. NidSquid says:

    @Jack #75: Wonderfully said.

  66. JayeRandom says:

    @#32 posted by Marcelo

    Funny, on that website for the town, the Farmers Market is being advertised. I wonder if the kids even -could- sell there.

    Sure, if they pay a $75 fee and take out $500,000 in insurance.
    I suspect there may be some protectionism going on here.

  67. rebdav says:

    What causes stupid is a confluence of two trends that are tearing apart America and contributing to the economic mess we are now in.

    One is the sterile bedroom neighborhood, it is a zoning layout that requires the use of a automobile for all but the most dedicated cyclist or walker. No shops or even convenience stores for several miles, and sometimes not even a safe zone on the street for bicycles or pedestrians to these services. It is also a layout that forces the disabled into nursing homes or retirement communities once they cant drive. This is the Ford and Rockefeller dream commuter neighborhood of the future past. It also leads to the OH NO! traffic danger claims.

    The second influence is the federally backed big house culture with skyrocketing values sometimes reaching as high as one third of the total lifetime income of the occupant. When your whole life is invested into this domicile which recently you discovered was also a refinance ATM machine, ANYTHING which might reduce values is fought tooth and nail. This means kids selling veggies and eggs, people of different skin complexion or visibly different non-assimilated faiths like Orthodox Jews, Seiks, or Muslims, even choices for yard decoration all might be perceived to bring down the bogus hyper-inflated value of neighboring properties and of course the police are called in to milk that failing ATM machine a few more times. Federal subsidisation of most home loans since the 1930′s has also create unrealistic housing prices

    These above and of course that people like to nose into the business of others when they have no power over their own sad lives, many cops and mayors choose these job titles because they like to nose into the business and then have power over those people so much they make a living out of it.

    As for farmers market insurance, it used to be a way to cover losses by spreading out the risk among a large pool, say somebody gets injured by the one in a million hand grenade which somehow made its way into the crate of avocados or a slippy banana peel I suppose the parents would be liable, but the insurance policy is a subsidy towards risk and artificial deep pocket to the lawsuit industry. If you want to observe the subsidy and risk removal effect look into the current banking, investment, and loan behavior even now, losses are socialized by the federal reserve and federal bailouts but profits are still privatized, the federal rescues are not real capitalism.

    There are plans on the web for greenhouses from PVC and plastic sheet which can be made for less than $100. I highly recommend people start growing their own beans, potatoes, and other foods feeding the greens to a few laying hens in very well lit runs(so they keep laying). With inflation going vertical buying in stores may become very difficult for many, but bartertown will soon be open for business.

    It is interesting the national uproar that appears when little white girls get shut down though, I suppose the argument could be made that no exception could be allowed without running afoul of the often forgotten equal protection clause.

  68. SimeonW says:

    Eggs and chickens! Which will come first?!?

  69. Kay the Complainer says:

    @41 – Sangria stands on the streets? I’m there, man.

  70. David Guerrero says:

    response to #68:

    Yea, they should pay for insurance, as they should understand accountability and responsibility. We live in a society of laws that exist for a reason. If you take away the emotional factor of these merchants being local children and just made the statement: Merchant X wants to sell unregulated foodstuffs in a public space without insurance, the issue becomes much clearer.

    Isn’t that how we want our public institutions to adjudicate these matters, without bias? It’s only fair and, if viewed constructively, a positive learning experience for the kids in question.

    • Antinous says:

      David Guerrero,

      I believe that I speak for many when I say that, no, the government needs to get its hand out of our asses so that we can get on with our lives. Insurance? No. No. No.

  71. Phikus says:

    Somebody’s got to take a stand… er… nevermind…

  72. Mac says:

    Mayor Gregg Manning has only touched on this massive problem.

    For example, you may give your child pocket money in exchange for washing the dishes – you can even insist they spend their entire weekend cleaning every square inch of the mansion with a toothbrush – as long as you are the parent and it is your mansion.

    However, if your kid spends a few moments in air-conditioned comfort helping you with a work-related computer problem (perhaps even just giving an opinion on a font) then you have violated child labor laws … or, to be pedantic, your employer has.

    I hope the Mayor is going to address this major problem (kids helping their parents with computer problems) when he’s finished with these two lawbreakers.

    Mac

  73. bwcbwc says:

    I think the real problem the mayor has is that if he doesn’t crack down on the kids, he can’t crack down on the ethnic street vendors, which is probably his real objective. If he starts rousting the street-corner vendors selling roses and produce but lets the kids go free, he opens himself up to discrimination lawsuits.

    Oh, and for those who don’t see a safety hazard, think of the cars piling up behind the guy who stops in the middle of the street to see if the produce stand has something they want. In fact the whole complaint was probably filed because some neighbor had his driveway blocked by a customer’s parked car.

    All in all, this was handled really stupidly, but once a complaint is filed, the officials don’t have any choice but to apply the letter of the law. They do have a choice in how they go about it though. A RAID?!?! A warning from a patrolman should have been sufficient.

  74. moustache says:

    I encourage everyone to submit a comment to Mayor Manning about this. It’s absolutely appalling.

    Here’s the link to contact the city:
    http://www.ci.clayton.ca.us/clayton_contact-us.php

  75. Rob says:

    Eggs and chickens? The horror.

    Actually, yes. A neighbor had some (against zoning) and it’s a ridiculous amount of noise, an alarm clock you can’t shut off.

  76. astrochimp says:

    “Are they going to have eggs and chickens for sale next?”

    I see those egg-council creeps have gotten to him, too!

  77. Jack says:

    @#71 POSTED BY DAVID GUERRERO:

    We live in a society of laws that exist for a reason.

    We also live in a society in America that has become one of the most abusively litigious societies in history. Nobody trusts anybody. And the main reason people need to get insurance is because if something goes wrong, suddenly people don’t see an accident as a tragedy but rather a money making scheme.

    The end result of that mentality is a population that grows to distrust each other and sees each other as a liability and not a customer.

    There is simply no other country in this world where that attitude is so pervasive. Heck, go to Japan. Or better yet, go to Yahoo! Japan auctions and compare them to eBay auctions. What’s shocking is how forthright people are about the condition of items on Yahoo! Japan when compared to eBay. And you know what else you notice? eBay auctions are filled with caveats and B.S. to protect the seller but on Yahoo! Japan it’s assumed *gasp* people are honest and if any issues arise, adults can behave like adults and work things out.

    It really sickens me when people say “laws exist for a reason” without knowing specific laws and the wiggle room that exists. Meaning, there is the letter of the law—which is the most literal reading of a law. And then there is the “spirit of the law”. If you go to court you quickly learn that the spirit of the law ALWAYS trumps the letter of the law. A judge will look over the evidence of a case and look at the laws invoked and generate a judgement.

    Also, laws change and are amended ALL THE TIME. Society grows and change. And honestly, withe economic climate we’re in I wouldn’t be surprised if laws regarding personal garden growing are amended to make life easier for average folks who simply have a small amount of land, the desire to grow things, and the desire to share their local good with others.

    Ever hear of Victory gardens? They existed in an era when the U.S. government actually was a tad more reasonable towards people.

    Kids setting up a card table and selling anything is not an issue. Idiots who decided to sue people left/right instead of behaving like rational adults… Now that is the real problem.

  78. Piers W says:

    “It’s only fair and, if viewed constructively, a positive learning experience for the kids in question.”

    I had to read that three times before regretfully coming to the conclusion that it wasn’t irony.

    “We live in a society of laws that exist for a reason.”

    A lot of the laws in my society (GB) do that, but a lot of them, and not just recent ones, exist for bad reasons.

  79. paulm says:

    GENIUS!

    It’s not the kids selling veggies and fruit – it’s a Victory Garden Sale for the War on Terror.

  80. Takuan says:

    what if it’s not a very big hand?

  81. Talia says:

    #71 “If you take away the emotional factor of these merchants being local children”

    Congratulations on completely missing the point.

  82. DunkinDo says:

    As Barney Fife would say, “”Nip it in the bud! You gotta nip it in the bud!”

  83. cinemajay says:

    Don’t they know that competition will drive down prices? This could topple the world markets in lemonade and Kool-Aid!

  84. Rob Cockerham says:

    Cop’s dad owns a produce delivery company.

    Just kidding.

  85. Talia says:

    Also, I must say, the thought of living in a world as strictly regulated as #71 proposes terrifies me to no end. I honestly think it would be the death of imagination and ingenuity, leaving room for only ruthlessness, beaurocracy, paperwork and greyness.

  86. Takuan says:

    let’s just hope it cost the fool his next election.

  87. catbeller says:

    Tazer them if they don’t comply. The law is the law!

  88. David Guerrero says:

    @#75:

    I think the kids’ operation was shut down in the spirit of the law. Who else were these laws aimed at? Evil terrorists selling vegetables? The local government has an obligation to enforce protections the public has asked for which, in this case, is the assumption of safe food being sold and not having street vendors in the neighborhood. If the public feels differently about it, they should change the law. But what exactly is the rational for making an exception for these kids, besides that they’re cute? This isn’t about irrationally following the letter of the law, it’s just following the law.

    If this case was about immigrants selling vegetables on the street this wouldn’t be an issue. Firstly, because it wouldn’t even be a news story covered by anyone, and secondly because you wouldn’t care. It could be the same produce and everything, but somehow an immigrant doesn’t pull on the same heartstrings, does it? The law should be impartial to race or age or class, and this case is a testament to that. I don’t understand the ire stirred by this story.

    • Antinous says:

      In my reality (which I like quite a bit), people buy homemade tamales from the old lady who goes door-to-door to businesses, selling them out of her backpack. Real Foods in SF used to have the most amazing produce because people who had unusual things growing in their yards would sell them the fruit and vegetables for resale. I even sold foliage from my houseplants to the florist. If it means a few less tax dollars going to you know where, a little less gas going to transport the goods and fresher food, I’m in.

  89. Ursus says:

    What the f*** is wrong with people?!?

  90. David Guerrero says:

    @#75:

    I think the kids’ operation was shut down in the spirit of the law. Who else were these laws aimed at? Evil terrorists selling vegetables? The local government has an obligation to enforce protections the public has asked for which, in this case, is the assumption of safe food being sold and not having street vendors in the neighborhood. If the public feels differently about it, they should change the law. But what exactly is the rational for making an exception for these kids, besides that they’re cute? This isn’t about irrationally following the letter of the law, it’s just following the law.

    If this case was about immigrants selling vegetables on the street this wouldn’t be an issue. Firstly, because it wouldn’t even be a news story covered by anyone, and secondly because you wouldn’t care. It could be the same produce and everything, but somehow an immigrant doesn’t pull on the same heartstrings, does it? The law should be impartial to race or age or class, and this case is a testament to that. I don’t understand the ire stirred by this story.

    If they want to share their food they should just give it to family and friends. If they want to sell it, they should do it properly in a setting the community has deemed appropriate.

  91. pork musket says:

    Sure, it starts with melons, then chickens, then they are whipping up bathtubs full of moonshine, and then it’s a full-blown meth lab. Good work, Gregg.

  92. trr says:

    “… the neighborhood isn’t zoned for commerce…”

    So…does that make all garage sales illegal? He’s gonna have to get busy!

    Also, all those lemonade stand kids are gonna have to get food handlers permits from the Dept. of Health, after they get their business licenses, of course.

  93. fredblotnic says:

    what a hardass, it would be a nice life lesson for those kids about the free enterprise. but some stick in the mud decides to go full force on little kids. I would like to see him say it to their faces instead of the chicken crap way he went about it.

  94. Anonymous says:

    In our town (Santa Rosa, CA) we had a fruit truck that sold local veggies. The truck expanded little by little until the neighbors wanted to kick the guy out because he’d basically taken over 1000sqft~. The city decided to let him stay in a squatterish type arrangement and now he has a little tent building. Not a portable fleamarket type but one that is semi-permanent.
    It started like this.

    See 3b.:
    http://ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/doclib/Documents/cdpc_9910.pdf

    …and:
    http://ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/doclib/minutes/2001/Pages/SR_20071203191141_0.aspx
    “The Dept of Health Services also notified the city that according to officialinspections dating to July 1996 Bobs Fruit Truck is not operating accordingto the Health and Safety Code in that a Mobile Food Facility (such as BobsFruit Truck) must store, display or convey food from the vehicle only. In orderto comply with Health codes the business must eliminate the tent area and therefrigeration van.

    Staff recognizes that there is overwhelming community support for BobsFruit Truck and while the recommendation is for denial, the Planning Commissionshould note that section 20-05.772 of the Zoning Code does allow temporaryoutdoor sales of products not specifically provided for in previous Zoning Codesections. In order to conditionally approve the use, the Commission mustdetermine that a 6 month per year operation is “temporary.” Oncedetermined to be temporary, the Planning Commission may approve the use if thefollowing findings can be made according to the Zoning Code:”

    -Cheers
    eric@diversionmary.com
    diversionmary.com

  95. Mr_Voodoo says:

    I guess a rummage sale is out of the question.

  96. Jack says:

    @#83 POSTED BY DAVID GUERRERO:

    The local government has an obligation to enforce protections the public has asked for which, in this case, is the assumption of safe food being sold and not having street vendors in the neighborhood.

    You obviously didn’t read the article at all since that is 100% not the reason it was shut down. It was shut down because they were running a “…commercial enterprise…” in an area not zoned for commercial use and the Mayor “…wonders what Katie and Sabrina might do with that produce stand if the zoning laws weren’t enforced…”

    Look, if all of the sudden these girls sign a contract with Whole Foods and open a true business, then you have a claim.

    As it stands what they are doing is selling personally grown produce on the land outside their own property and in no significant volume to be a threat to anyone but petty control freaks who never got enough attention from their parents as children.

    Also, regarding the so-called obligation you are yammering about, these kids are getting a petition signed by members of the community to prove that the “protections the public has asked for” do not apply to them.

    Getting two random complaints from unidentified “neighbors” means nothing at all. Technically speaking that insane concept that for every one complaint there are hundreds of others is the same fallacy the FCC uses to fine radio and TV stations millions of dollars. Look at the Janet Jackson bra-malfunction incident. ONE person complained.

    Heck, have you ever done tech support for a major business? You know, if I dropped what I did for every single crackpot complaint that came my way I’d go nuts. It’s only a real problem when LOTS of people complain.

    I’m sure there are better things the folks in Clayton could be doing. Like maybe electing a new mayor.

  97. JG says:

    This is often the problem with autocratic, zombie like, law enforcement.
    What they are doing is enforcing the LETTER of the law rather than the SPIRIT of the law.
    This explains 5 year olds being on no-fly lists, arrests for photographing police officers or random busts for medical cannabis use.
    In some twisted way the action might be interpreted as falling under some justifiable legal concept.
    But lacking any discernible judgment they, ‘just follow orders.’
    I’ve said it many times, the police (in this case the mayor) do what they want, when they want then let the courts straighten out the mess.
    It’s no wonder that our courts are bogged down with so many frivolous law suits.

  98. Anonymous says:

    @#83

    Actually I think the spirit of the laws they have in place would be something akin to “Person A buys a number of houses in Clayton, then levels these houses and plants crops, selling these crops to the neighborhood” I think the spirit the law exists in is that you don’t want a large scale agricultural vendor popping up in an unregulated area, these children are hardly large scale vendors trying to slink under the legal radar to cut into the local market.

    As for the childrens ethnicity if I heard an immigrant or hell even an illegal immigrant was busted for selling something from a makeshift stand in the neighborhood I would still be pissed. I know this because I go to these peoples carts and stands, and i go to the farmers market, I go where I can find what I want and so long as they aren’t a predatory business I don’t see the issue with them.

    As for the children learning accountability by having to take out a $500,000 insurance policy to be a vendor at a farmers market that’s a farce of the world we live in today. The mindless, or rather overly mindful fear of some unpredicatable X factor that’s going to cost me a fortune. I want businesses to be regulated, I’m a Democrat, I’m fairly keen on the socialization of a number of thinsg but applying drachonian laws to what amount to non business entities is silly. Lets say the children were succesful, to a huge degree. They wouldn’t be able to maintain their business once it became clear it was profitable, they would need the space and all that comes with it. They would go and find a plot of land, or open a small stand at the farmers market, but only at such time as they had a sizeable enough crop, which no backyard has.

  99. Phikus says:

    ROB@115: No one but the mayor suggested chickens might ever involved in the kids’ produce farm. Sounds like Turkey In The Straw man to me.

  100. Griffin says:

    @84

    I can say with a great deal of sureness that while I’ve never come across a community that supports these laws, everyone I’ve lived in has had them. They’re not their because people want them – they’re there because politicians want them for one reason or another.

    I’m sorry, but I think people should have a right to engage in business on their own property as long as negative externalities are limited (as is clear in this case) or paid for. I think the ability for people to CHOOSE where and what to buy trumps the insane desire to give more money to insurance companies for relatively safe activity between consenting parties who are aware of the foods source and the potential for danger (more than can be said for major commercial foods, and actually much safer all things considered), and the need to pay the government for your rights because they don’t want to piss people off raising taxes directly.

    Situations like this sicken me, no matter who’s getting busted for making the world a bit of a better place.

  101. Anonymous says:

    Its unclear why some of you are comparing this to a garage sale. Those are pretty highly regulated. While it varies regionally, in most cases you have to have a permit.

    Um… you must either live in California or Germany. Those seem to be the only two places in the world tight-assed enough to require a permit for a garage sale.

    Yea, they should pay for insurance, as they should understand accountability and responsibility. We live in a society of laws that exist for a reason. If you take away the emotional factor of these merchants being local children and just made the statement: Merchant X wants to sell unregulated foodstuffs in a public space without insurance, the issue becomes much clearer.

    Actually we live in a society of laws that exist for some reason that has long been forgotten. I don’t want cheats and frauds knowingly selling me bad meat or tainted alcohol. That’s the reason we have these laws. By your same argument, Church bakes sales are off limits.

  102. Phikus says:

    It is amazing what is being invented to counter “knee jerk reactions” in the absence of real facts. There are no American flags on the girls’ clothing (it looks to me like Space Chimps, but I guess that’s close enough for some.) There is no tractor parked in the front yard. The only tractor I saw was a wind-vane type of art-installation thing that appeared to be in the actual garden ’round the back. There is some heavy farm-type equipment that appears to be next-door, but it was way too industrial to be used on their little backyard garden, which in no way seems to have been professionally plowed.

    From the article and TV piece, this all started from one single complaint. Not a bunch of concerned citizens up in arms about a local nuisance. Neighbors were interviewed and included in the broadcast, one of which says she goes by there every day and has never seen any traffic stopped.

    The father in the interview isn’t trying to seek a loophole like the government or corporate America always do. He is simply trying to work out some sort of compromise, and the mayor, who is making all kinds of leaps of conjecture, won’t even take or return his calls.

    Two blocks away (if that is indeed how close the farmer’s market is) may be a little far for two little girls to be hauling produce regularly, and the farmer’s market may be extracting fees that make it prohibitive for such a micro-operation. Did you consider that? Did you see how cheaply this produce is priced? Why don’t you get some facts before posting your own “knee jerk reaction” based upon tenuous assumptions trying to defend a lame-ass bureaucratic cog of a mayor and his autocratic actions.

  103. airship says:

    I, for one, am glad that our diligent public servants are defending our freedoms against these Godless terrorists.

  104. Griffin says:

    Also, as to the yard sale comment:
    I know a number of places where yard sales are illegal. People have them anyways, but the fines can be pretty heavy, so a lot of people don’t bother anymore and just throw their old stuff out.

  105. JamesMason says:

    I can’t wait to hear persons of left or right wing persuasion tell us how this is a perfect example of how their position is the correct one, therefore we should vote McCain or Obama.

  106. David Guerrero says:

    @83:

    That’s what I meant by “street vendors in the neighborhood”, a commercial enterprise in an area not zoned for it. The main thing that peeked my interest about this story is the emotion so many people have about this. If this was a Mexican guy that didn’t speak English on the corner that got shut down it wouldn’t even be a news story, and if it were would anyone care? People so excited by this story should take a look at their own bases.

    On a side note, there seems to be a belief in the myth that once upon a time American communities were the model of freedom and free markets. They never were.

    And I do enjoy tamales I buy in the parking lot of my local Super-A market.

  107. Anonymous says:

    When my sister and I did this back in 5th grade we sold pie recipies with the rhubarb. I bet they’d have shut us down for having an illegal monopoly.

  108. Takuan says:

    old enough to tase

  109. Anonymous says:

    There was a phrase used in Britain for people like this major, “Little Hitlers”. It was used after the second world war (1939-1945) for all the petty officials who believed themselves to be better than the ordinary people, and bullied them.

    Talking about bullying, isn’t the mayor’s bullying of these children a form of child abuse?

  110. Anonymous says:

    @#86

    You’re totally right. i have always hated the idea that when one person complains everyone must change their behavior to appease that person. It’s why I always ahted the mentality of certain big busiensses or very strict offices. They have rules like “At company picnics there will be no food from cans.” becasue two years before a chap from accounting in Waukegan drowned in bean dip after having aseizure, the whole company policy changes because of one random incident. Or as a better example, I work security and we have four officers including me, two of those officers never actually work, and fall asleep on the job often, and I’ve filed a number of complaints about them, which they get reprimanded for. Their response is to report me for patrolling the parking lot too often, or for checking in too often with them, and since it’s framed as a “Complaint” my boss must treat it by the letter of our manuals laws which says I get in trouble for doing my job better than they do. I believe that just because one person complains about something it doesn’t mean it should be acted upon, the matter should be weighed with common sense. Now that I think of it, it’s like the community watch group from Hot Fuzz.

  111. Frank_in_Virginia says:

    I’ll be DHS was somehow involved.
    or
    Was Blackwater used in the raid?

  112. TheButterThief says:

    Let’s behave ourselves:

  113. Glossolalia Black says:

    I hope this doesn’t turn them off the joys of growing one’s own food! I’m a city girl and I did it for the first time ever this year. I never knew it could be so fun. Usually I’m kind of prissy about dirt.

    As far as the autocratic cop goes, I hope he goes home, thinks about this really, really hard, and has a crisis of conscience. Please, for the love of Flying Spaghetti Monster, we really need some of these asshole cops to turn around.

  114. Jack says:

    @#129 POSTED BY FUNERALPUDDING , AUGUST 23, 2008 5:28 AM

    The law applies to Bush and to families running street businesses the same.

    Speechless to a point reading this. Do you realize how wrong that is? Do you think these girls have the ability to force laws to change on a whim to give them more power the way Bush & Co. do?

    If laws apply to “Bush and to families running street businesses the same” then in the spirit of these girls being harassed, I’d like George W. Bush to be impeached on war crimes charges ASAP.

    This thread is unbelievable because to me it proves that most American’s who demand abidance to laws have no clue what those laws are and are simply power hungry and secret fascists.

  115. Katybeth says:

    Not that I could condone this–I mean violence is never the answer but a well thrown tomato thrown the mayors way….BTW, in answer to #13, I am voting for these two hard working kids who are showing some get up and it done!

  116. tx_ROOK says:

    It’s really unbelieveable… and the amount of press they are getting is crazy! Any sort of pushback from the Mayor’s Office is only going to hurt them more…

    I sent a comment in support of the girls through the city’s website – will be interesting to see if I get a response.

  117. paulm says:

    There was a complaint about it, presumably from a neighbor. So it wasn’t some aggressive, unilateral black ops from the mayor or police.

    On the plus side, I bought my Golden Retriever in Clayton. Not from those two kids, tho.

  118. vamidus says:

    Ridiculous.

    What’s next? Requiring building permits for building a fort out of pillows and sheets?

  119. Jack says:

    @#92 POSTED BY DAVID GUERRERO:

    The main thing that peeked my interest about this story is the emotion so many people have about this.

    For someone who is yammering endlessly about the letter of the law, you have no idea what the difference between “peeked” and “piqued” is.

    On a side note, there seems to be a belief in the myth that once upon a time American communities were the model of freedom and free markets. They never were.

    Yes, that is 100% true if you don’t study history. In the case of street vendors, there once was a time when selling stuff on the street truly wasn’t a hassle. It’s called 30 years ago. Most laws against street vendors were put in placed to protect brick and mortar stores, and they made sense to an extent. Local mom and pop store owners said, “These guys are cutting in on my business!” and they made an issue of it. But the truth is so many communities nowadays (1) are under-served and (2) have little to no small businesses these laws are being used to bully people.

    Technically speaking most people break “laws” all the time, but they are so no big deal in the big picture nobody wastes time to enforce it.

    For example, it’s illegal to park or idle a vehicle in front of a fire house. Yet today I saw a guy do just that. Firemen came out to pull out their rig and did they call the cops? Or write a ticket? No. They simply told him to move the car and he did. That’s it. No big production.

    If ANYONE actually was “blocked” by this small stand, a reasonable person would just say “Look, you’re screwing up traffic…” But nobody did that and traffic was never blocked. Just an anonymous complaint was made with no other backstory. THAT is abuse.

    If this was a Mexican guy that didn’t speak English on the corner that got shut down it wouldn’t even be a news story, and if it were would anyone care?

    You are hilariously wrong and patronizing because EXACTLY that issue happened in NYC and people spoke out and it was a major news story. Do a Google search for the food vendors at the Red Hook soccer fields and read up. All people of all races were concerned and it was an issue people cared about. So much so that now they get more business than ever thanks to the publicity.

    Ditto with mid-eastern food vendors who were being harassed in midtown Manhattan 10 years or so ago.

    The issue is this: If you TRULY have a problem with a neighbor, then you can talk to them. And if they then harass you and act like jerks and dismiss your issue you have a right to complain. But people who simply “Call the cops…” without interaction are just old biddies who hate that other people have fun.

  120. Dillenger69 says:

    I wonder what the mayor’s stand on underground lemonade sales is?

    Poor girls, forced to peddle their melons on the street like common criminals.

  121. Brett Burton says:

    What loser filed the initial complaint?

  122. Jack says:

    FIrst they came for the eggs and I said nothing.
    Then they came for the chicken and I said nothing.
    Then they came for me and I said “Soylent Green is me!”

    Seriously, until she sells meth from a card table that says “Fresh Home Made Meth” who cares.

  123. crimeshark says:

    Ya know, I’ve been prosecuting zoning, building and housing cases for the better part of ten years and while I’ve seen my share of really stupid stuff, this pretty much takes the cake. I mean, so what? How long could this last- like I say to people who complain about a garage sale or a couple of kids selling soft drinks, the whole thing will stop in a day or two. Truth is, selling is hard work, and people, especially kids, get bored and close up shop.

    If this Mayor was a smart politician (yeah- I know- the two words don’t usually go together) he’d be buying goods from the kids as part of a photo-op and telling the cops to go direct traffic.

    Go figure.

  124. Anonymous says:

    THEY DID THIS TO MY MOTHER AS WELL.

    Thats right, thats your congress/freedom/law/police/ all coming to the aid of humanity.

    My mom and pop set up a tiny food stand and sell all organic food, grown themselves, no chemicals ever. They even sell it for less than regular non-organic foods. They were shut down this year despite doing this on and off for almost 40 years when times are hard. They even donate around $2000.00-$3000.00 worth of produce every year along with paying all taxes. But even though they live on 100 acres of farmland, its not “zoned” for commercial use. They were literally told that cops will come with shovels and remove all plants if they continue next year. Seems beyond stupid to me that when we are facing a food shortage worlwide, and a gas crisis along with occasional salmonella tomatoes and peppers, that the government would waste its time harassing local growers who sell their wares. I never believed in the whole conspiracy theory about the government trying to control the food supply along with monsanto. But lately things have been getting very strange. Did you know that almost 40% of all corn grown in america is genetically modified? And that every grain or seed that is sold profits monsanto, also there are strict rules, you must label all crops with the companies name, you must meet standards to even buy their seed, etc. etc. Violate any of these rules and you will not be able to grow “their” corn. Basically they changed something in the corn, then lobbied congress/white house, to release restrictions on such a thing. As I personally heard GW senior say on a video to a concerned monsanto scientist. “Just call us, were in the de-regulation business, hehe”

    What they did to these kids is extremely wrong. Not many kids take enough initiative to actually do something, then these kids do and bam, the long arm of the law bashes them into pieces. Long gone are the times where some elderly man will say, I started this business with my own two hands right on this spot in 19–… I am VERY interested what will become of these two kids when they grow up. Will they become lawyers to help change the stupidity? Will they become drug dealers or have their lives go downhill, having already broken the law selling produce? Will they respect law enforcement in the future or will they hate the system with a passion that usually takes years and multiple interactions to accumulate? One thing is for sure, they wont be selling their terrorist food in our communist country anymore! <— sad sarcasm.

  125. badger says:

    This falls under “Ain’t ya’ll got anything else to do?”

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