by Steve Vaus – Councilman, City of Poway
One cold night, as a Bedouin sat in his tent, a camel gently thrust his nose under the flap and looked in. “Master,” he said, “let me put my nose in your tent. It’s cold out here.” “By all means,” said the Bedouin, as he turned over and went to sleep. A little later the Bedouin awoke to find that the camel had not only put his nose in the tent but his head and neck also.
As the ancient tale goes, ultimately the camel occupies the tent while the Bedouin shivers outside in the cold.
Even as a kid I couldn’t figure out why the guy in the tent didn’t simply smack that camel’s snout. That would have solved the problem once and for all.
In my service to Poway on the city council, I’ve wondered more than once how, in such a conservative stronghold, the government “camel” has gotten its nose so far into the people’s tent. How, in Poway of all places, has our muni code become rife with government creep and excessive regulation? All I can figure is that my council predecessors were (perhaps unwittingly) seduced by the siren song of staff, “more control” and those council members, elected to serve the people, became the government camel.
Enough is enough. I’m here to whack the camel’s nose as many times as necessary to get him out of the people’s tent.
For starters, next week I’m bringing a proposal to the Poway City Council to strike our municipal code section that requires a permit, fee and continuing renewals for anyone running a business from their home. I can think of no justification to regulate activities in a home which have no impact on infrastructure or City services.
Admittedly, it is a simple permit process and we’re not talking about a lot of money. But any need for permission and any fee at all is wrong. Adding insult to injury, on top of the $116 fee, we collect an additional dollar “to increase disability access and compliance with construction-related accessibility requirements, and to develop educational resources for business in order to facilitate compliance with federal and state disability laws.”
In the UT-SD’s recent editorial highlighting my proposal they hit the nail on the head calling the preceding language “29 words of gobbledygook considering that under Poway law home businesses aren’t allowed to have any employees or retail traffic.”
Mind you, I understand the need for limitations on such activities. The activity should not change the character of the neighborhood. But to tell a web site designer, an author, an inventor or anyone working alone in their home that they need the City’s blessing is nonsense.
There’s an ad currently running on television that rattles off a list of big businesses launched in homes and garages – Apple, Hewlett Packard, Google to name a few. An impressive list which begs the question: What future multi-billion dollar company might we have incubating in a home in Poway?
Let’s get out of their way and encourage their entrepreneurship! And when they’re ready to expand hopefully they’ll choose to take space in our industrial park because they like the way they’ve been treated.
I want to send a clear message to enterprises of every size, from home start-up to international giants: POWAY MEANS BUSINESS.
But for that slogan to ring true, I may have to whack the camel’s nose now and again.
I stand ready.