CA Restaurants Want State-Imposed Operating Fees Returned After Not Being Allowed To Open

P. Gardner Goldsmith | October 30, 2020
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What’s on the menu for the California government and five of its little soviet counties?

First course: legal demands from restaurateurs requesting that the state and localities return some $100 million worth of “fees” (a.k.a., extortion shakedown cash) they collected while not allowing those businesses to even open to the public - a request that could precede a class action suit.

According to Michael R. Blood, of

California's financially battered restaurants filed government claims Monday to recover more than $100 million in fees for liquor and health permits and tourism charges that they say were assessed even though their businesses were shuttered or only partially operating under long-running coronavirus orders.

These would be $100 million in fees and additional commands ordered by state and county politicians that represent an even larger expense for the business people who have to waste hours, hire attorneys, and conform to the orders of strangers, just to stay open and try to attract a willing clientele.

If that doesn’t sound like the mafia, someone’s got a tin ear.

This is an industry that, as Reason’s Brian Doherty notes:

The California restaurant industry had employed 1.4 million people, but thanks to COVID-19, reports the California Restaurant Association, up to one million of them have faced layoffs or furloughs.

And, as Hannah Wiley writes for The Sacramento Bee, Brian Kabateck, an attorney representing the restaurateurs said:

Restaurant owners are obligated to pay these government fees just to operate, yet the same government entities who have collected those fees have forced these businesses to close their doors or drastically restrict operations due to the pandemic.

Of course, California’s heroic Gov. Gavin Newsom saw fit to skip the county containing his own winery and tasting bistro when he issued a newly revised COVID19 lockdown in July that shut down eateries and wineries in 19 other counties.

But the unequal application of his commands, and the intransigency of the counties to hand back the fees, are only the sprinkles on an ugly, old cake that has been stacked, layer upon layer, for years in every state.

That now-towering metaphorical cake is the power politicians and bureaucrats have assumed for themselves -- the artificial authority they claim -- to be able to threaten private business owners and to dictate the conditions under which these supposedly free individuals can associate with others. Those others include their clientele, their employees, their suppliers, and the people with whom they contract for services such as advertising, supplies, and the sundry other things business owners must consider when they risk their capital, time, and emotions to run their endeavors. And the interaction is two-way, so when we consider the mandates politicians force onto business operators, we must remember that each contractor is his own employer, and each waiter, waitress, server, bartender, greeter, chef, caterer, and other sundry “employees” is also running his own endeavor, embarking on his own voluntary decision to do business by selling his or her services, time, and skills, to the restaurateur. The mandates affect them all. And they are all immoral.

Stripped of their fantastical “state authority” trappings, these licensing fees, orders, and “safety regulations” are simply demands and threats by some people directed at other people for the horrible crime of trying to engage in peaceful commerce and association with other willing people. It is state aggression against peaceful, voluntary market interaction.

And, as mentioned, it’s not isolated to California. Just this week, on October 29, the Detroit News reported that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s thugs announced that the Governess and her Health and Human Services gang are ordering restaurants (still not allowed to run at full capacity) to - get this - collect the personal information of all visitors.

Curiously, Whitmer appears averse to asking her own bureaucrats to read the U.S. Constitution.

Not only is her government’s command an attack on the Contract Clause and the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments -- because it stands in the way of private contract even as it demands private information without specific warrants from judges in each instance – it is, as I have noted for MRCTV, economic fascism. It allows for in-name-only ownership of private business that must operate according to the dictates of the state.

Sadly, in the 1946 U.S. Supreme Court case “Marsh v. Alabama,” the majority of the court confirmed anti-federalist fears and destroyed the meaning of private property, erroneously claiming that a private campus owned by a ship-building company was “public”, even though application of “public” to anything means that the thing is supported by tax money and managed by the state.

And despite the 1943 Supreme Court majority ruling in “Murdoch v. Pennsylvania” that it was unconstitutional for the state to mandate a license and fee for religious groups to hand out literature, despite one of the Justices saying, “No state shall convert a liberty into a privilege, license it, and attach a fee to it,” politicians in California and Michigan, and many other states continue to engage in the theatrical scare-and-extort tactics of licensing. And this gives them the power of life or death over businesses.

Thankfully, some Californians are standing up to this tyranny.

As Del Bigtree recently highlighted on his excellent HighWire Bitchute Channel and The Highwire website (they were banned by YouTube – something which many freedom lovers find infuriating), Tony Roman, the proprietor of Huntington Beach-based Basilico’s Italian restaurant not only recognized the immoral and unconstitutional nature of government-imposed lockdowns and mask edicts, he and his courageous staff remained open and adopted their own policy of asking visitors to REMOVE masks.

Mr. Roman recognizes the fundamental principle of free association and the God-given quality of free will upon which it stands. People who dine there, work there, drop off produce, linens, and other things there – they all engage in their activities of their own free will, preferring to do that rather than many other activities. No one is forcing them.

But, of course, the government is threatening to snatch his newly acquired liquor “license” because its agents don’t like the freedom he promotes.

The difference between the peaceful and the aggressive is clear. California is a perfect example. This request by numerous restaurateurs to have their shakedown fees returned is a sign, a bit of light, that people who are curious about freedom might want to follow.

It leads not only to intellectual growth, but spiritual comprehension about God-given rights, and it’s time more Americans found it.