‘You bastards have screwed up this whole economy’

Here in Las Vegas, Star Nurseries had a problem.

Last fall, customers began complaining about the “day workers” — mostly illegal aliens who have snuck across our borders from Mexico and points south — who would gather by the dozens in and near the nurseries’ parking lots, trampling the landscaping, relieving themselves in the bushes, leaving litter and other “waste” behind.

When Review-Journal reporters tried to interview the men, few would talk, and none would give their full names. The few who were willing to talk did so in Spanish.

(There’s a Casual Labor Office that offers to place workers, on Washington Avenue downtown. But they ask would-be workers if they have documentation showing it’s legal for them to work in this country. For some reason, the short, dark-complected, only-Spanish-speaking men who gather in the nursery parking lots don’t use that service. Why do you think that is?)

Instead, customers complained the men were so aggressive in offering their services as part-time lawn and garden workers that the customers felt harassed.

“They were standing in the parking lot, destroying property,” explains Pat Chapin, an attorney for Star Nursery. “If a car slowed down, they would converge on it.”

Jan George, a neighbor who lives near the nursery at Charleston Boulevard and Cimarron Road, told Review-Journal reporter Lynette Curtis she isn’t “opposed to people looking for work if they need it.” But “It doesn’t look nice in a residential community to see 30 guys standing out on a street corner,” she adds.

So last fall, the management put up temporary chain-link fences to keep the men out of their parking lots and off their property.

Seeing how serious the problem had become, city and county authorities decided to intervene, sending out enforcement agents to write citations and threaten fines.

Citations and fines against the illegal aliens, who have no right even to be in this country, let alone to mob the parking lot of a private, tax-paying business?

No! Are you nuts? That would only happen in a healthy country, where tax-paid government agents still see it as their duty to help and protect legal, tax-paying businesses.

Instead, “code enforcement agents” for Clark County and the City of Las Vegas cited Star Nurseries for erecting the temporary fences “without a permit.” The local taxpayer was given until Jan. 6 to either tear down the fences or acquire a permit to install permanent fencing, which Mr. Chapin estimated would have cost $200,000.

So instead of helping out the local property owner by rounding up the illegals and deporting them, the government took the side of the guys who’ve been using Star Nurseries’ bushes as their outdoor toilet!

Last week, the fences came down. “Money is just too tight” for the local employer to put $200,000 into fencing right now, attorney Chapin explains.

Meantime, the lousy economy is really hurting businesses in downtown Las Vegas — the kind whose customers have to park in municipal garages or at city parking meters.

What commerce remains now gravitates to the suburban shopping malls, with their free parking.

So the same Jan. 11 issue of the Review-Journal that reported why Star Nurseries has taken down its chain-link fences also reports the city of Las Vegas is looking into making some changes with regards to its parking meter enforcement.

To try and help downtown businesses stay afloat, they’re considering a reduction in parking meter rates for shoppers, as well as issuing a “courtesy warning” rather than a ticket if someone stays only a few minutes past the expiration of their meter. Right?

No! Are you nuts? That would only happen in a healthy country, where tax-paid government agents still see it as their duty to help and protect the legal, tax-paying businesses that fund their salaries.

Instead, Scott Adams, Las Vegas’ chief urban redevelopment officer, says the city — which already makes more than $2 million per year from parking fees and meters — is asking “is there a way to increase revenue?”

Parking revenues pay for debt service on the city garages and a 20-member staff of meter maids, and still produce a surplus for the city councilmen to spend as they see fit — despite the fact the original rationale for parking meters was merely to keep a small number of motorists from monopolizing the spaces all day.

But now, to meet budget shortfalls caused by the recession — which was largely caused and extended by “well-meaning” government economic interventions, in the first place — the city wants to see if there’s way to squeeze out more parking revenues, hiking fees and fines till “they find out where that point is where you can raise revenues and not lose customers,” Mr. Adams explains.

There’s a pattern here, and it’s one of a society in the final stages of decadence, when the government ceases to be a servant of the taxpayers and instead behaves like the dog that’s willing not merely to bite the master who feeds it, but to gnaw off an entire appendage — like the pigs taking over the farm in “Animal Farm.” (Please note that all the jobs “saved” by the Big 2009 Stimulus Bill have been government jobs.)

Harry Pappas, whose family-owned block along Las Vegas Boulevard between Carson and Fremont was seized by the city a decade ago, still owns a small parcel of land downtown, near 6th Street and Carson. He’d like to rent it out to monthly parkers. He put up a plywood sign to that effect. So the city is threatening to fine him for putting up the sign without a permit.

But get this: When he inquired about getting a permit, the city said they won’t issue him one!

“I don’t make enough money now to even pay the property taxes there, which is about a grand a year,” Harry says. “But they want me first to get a city business license, which costs $150, and then a state business license. Then they won’t even let me pull the permit for the sign; I’ve got to have a contract with a firm they recognize, and only that company can go pull the permit, and all the companies I talked to want from $200 to $500 for the sign,” which has to meet a set of aesthetic rules set by the city, including a requirement that it have “a border, kind of like a picture frame, I guess.”

The whole required operation would cost more than Harry figures he could make renting out the spaces. (In competition with city parking meters? You don’t suppose they could have set it up that way ON PURPOSE?)

“The last time the guy called me about the sign, last Friday, I told him to go F himself,” Harry says. “I told him ‘You bastards have screwed up this whole economy with all your licences and taxes and permits.’ He said, ‘Oh, so you don’t believe in rules, is that it?’”

Power to the parasites!

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