If You Need an Oblivious Defense of Municipal Money Grabs, the L.A. Times Is There for You

0ab5park If You Need an Oblivious Defense of Municipal Money Grabs, the L.A. Times Is There for You

After ReasonTV’s Tracy Oppenheimer and Kennedy
explored Santa Monica’s efforts to regulate and foist additional
taxes onto
fitness trainers who hold classes in their parks, our lovely,
brilliant commenters here at Hit & Run were able to immediately
see what was really happening. It was obviously a municipal money
grab disguised as an alleged need to keep fitness buffs from
overwhelming the park.So when the Los Angeles Times editorial board easily
accepts the city’s argument without any sort of critical analysis,
are they just being willfully ignorant or simply serving as typical
Nanny State lapdogs? Or is that a false choice? Anyway, of course
their editorial position is in
favor of regulation:
Angelenos are resigned to grappling with gridlock on our
streets. But we don’t expect to encounter traffic in our parks.
Unfortunately, though, some parks have become nearly as
congested as our thoroughfares. Instead of cars, we’re dodging yoga
mats, hand weights and the exercisers who wield them. Santa
Monica’s signature Palisades Park, an expanse of grass and leafy
trees that runs along Ocean Avenue from Adelaide Drive to Colorado
Avenue, has become a mecca for fitness boot camps, private yoga
classes, weight trainers and all manner of exercise groups.
What’s most amusing about this opening metaphor is the slide
show accompanying the editorial, featuring trainers and classes in
session in the park. The photos are all beautifully shot, and in
several of them you can see plenty of lovely unused park space.
park stretches 1.5 miles long and is 26.4 acres in size. The
Times notes 73 group classes take place there over a given
week. That’s 10 per day. Fundamentally that’s not a lot of classes,
though I’m going to guess they end up clumped up at certain times
to accommodate work schedules of the customers and such. But even
if all the classes happened at once, there’s a lot of space.Here’s an infuriating paragraph:
Santa Monica may move in that direction as well; it’s
considering raising existing user and permit fees and limiting
class sizes as well as hours of operation. After all, a trainer
doing business in a well-groomed public park is reaping the
benefits of a place tended by municipal workers. There is already a
litany of regulations in Santa Monica governing recreational use of
parks, including restrictions on hours, athletic equipment, noise
levels and where a dog can be off-leash. It would not be
unreasonable to add regulations on exercise classes. Among other
things, no instructor should be allowed to tell other park users to

Regarding “reaping the benefits” of a public park: Many of
these folks are already paying for this benefit via
taxation. They are “the public.” I wonder how much
additional sales tax revenue Santa Monica brings in from any
additional commerce these fitness buffs may engage in while they’re
in the area. I find it extremely unlikely these fitness buffs are
costing the city any more money for park maintenance than would be
paid if they weren’t there, and as ReasonTV noted, the money they
collect would go into the city’s general fund.
“There are already regulations, so nobody should have a problem
with more of them” is a terrible, stupid argument. Government
regulation needs to serve an actual legitimate safety purpose.
“Well, we’re already doing this stuff,” is just lazy
If you need the city to tell people in a public park that
you’re not moving on your behalf, you are not ready to participate
in adult society.
In conclusion: “Spontaneous Order.” Look it
up.In the event you missed Kennedy sneaking in a workout while
covering the debate, check it out:

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If You Need an Oblivious Defense of Municipal Money Grabs, the L.A. Times Is There for You

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