The Voice for Industry
|March 26, 2009|
Two news stories are worth pondering as we move ever further into the New Age of Big Government.
The first concerns phony professional wrestlers in Seattle. That might sound redundant, but it's not. A group called Seattle Semi-Pro Wrestling is comprised of fake professional wrestlers who make fun of real fake professional wrestling during phony matches at a couple of bars in Seattle. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Washington State Department of Licensing has now determined that the group must comply with the same rules and regulations as real fake wrestling. That means a ring that meets professional standards, medical personnel on standby and a $10,000 bond for each show.
The Semi-Pro group can't afford those expenses. The fake phony wrestlers call their sport an "art joke" and they receive no pay. It's mostly a costume thing and the wrestlers include one guy who dresses up like Ronald McDonald of Golden Arches fame, but he calls himself Ronald McFondle. According to the WSJ, the Seattle semi wrestlers also "don't appear to spend much time in the gym."
Well, McDonald's isn't laughing. A company spokesman told the WSJ that McDonald's had not known about Ronald McFondle and the spokesman was quoted as saying "There's only one Ronald McDonald." Hooo boy. Who are you betting on in the looming showdown between McFondle and trademark crew from the Golden Arches?
Naturally, the fake phony wrestlers have retained a lawyer to appeal the license ruling on First Amendment, free speech grounds, which means the issue will no doubt wind up in court, consuming even more public resources in addition to those already expended by the gang down at the department of licensing. You can find the Wall Street Journal article here.
Then there was this week's story in the Seattle Times about Jesus Barajas, a janitor for King County who is building a dream retirement home for himself and his wife on the east side of 32nd Avenue South in the Rainier Valley.
The city is requiring Barajas to spend $15,000 for a 60-foot strip of asphalt to provide a sidewalk on his lot. The area does not have sidewalks and might not for decades to come, so for the next thirty years or so, the sidewalk will stand alone, kind of like a runway. Maybe Barajas can get a permit to build the Jesus Barajas Neighborhood Airport.
Now, if Barajas and his wife were building their dream home on the west side of 32nd, a sidewalk would not be required. But the east side of the street is located inside an "urban village" zone, which requires sidewalks. Rules are rules. Barajas and his wife must pay $15K for just about as close as you can get to nothing. For the Seattle Times article click here.
The two stories bring to mind a brilliant, rarely imposed concept from English common law that is part of the U.S. justice system. It goes like this. Sometimes, the law would combine with human events to produce a real life outcome so fundamentally wrong, it would amount to "manifest injustice." In such cases, a judge can intervene to preclude the outcome, in spite of the letter of the law.
So, how about it? Let's invoke a new rule to stop government officials from creating problems where no real problem exists. Call it the Rule of Manifest Dumbness.
Happy Footnote: The Times reported Thursday that the Mayor interceded in the sidewalk case and it is now under city review.
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