Monday, December 13, 2010

The Trader Joe's Exemption

A prospective business known for selling cheap beer and wine is seeking an exemption to laws that restrict liquor licenses near residential areas. There should be no exemption made, the law should be repealed. Trader Joe's is the prospective business in this case, so the city of Kansas City is going to bend over backwards to change the rules for their real masters, the corporate class.

Mind you, I want Trader Joe's to be in Kansas City. The location in question is less than 10 minutes from my house. But, I don't think the city should give them an exemption from a law that has probably prevented many a local small businessman to scrap his plans. There should be no expemption, the law should be repealed.

Before you say, but Trader Joe's is good for the community, they'll bring more tax dollars to town. Well, that's probably true, but it's also true that their are many street corners in town with 4 empty storefronts on a corner. It would be good for the tax base if one of those empty storefronts was occupied with a business selling wine and liquor. Unfortunately, the type of businessperson likely to open such a storefront isn't going to be a corporation with thousands of dollars to give to city council members and lawyers. No, that businessman is just told no and must figure out some other business to own in that spot. There should be no exemption, the law should be repealed.

Laws should either be binding to everyone, or to no one. Giving the city council the tools to give exemptions to laws also gives them the tools for grift. There should be no exemption, the law should be repealed. To say otherwise is to wish for a city council bought and paid for by Wal-Mart, DST, H&R Block and AEG.

Keep this in mind when you Kansas Citians are calling your council members to get them to do something. There should be no exemption, the law should be repealed.

8 comments:

  1. This is exactly how they got around it in Minnesota when they opened a couple years ago. It annoyed plenty if people, and I think they're still operating under an exemption. I agree that it's time to end the idiocy when it comes to puritanical liquor laws.

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  2. I would copyright the title before Robert Ludlum steals it for his next posthumous book.

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  3. You know, I've been a fan of Trader Joes for several years now. When they announced they are planning on opening two locations in the KC area, I was ecstatic! I really hope both stores can open without any problems. You do make a valid point in repealing that law and I hope that location can open without having to make major changes to their product.

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  4. Repealing the law would be great but I don't see the upside of trying to screw Trader Joe's in protest. Not only will they hire far more people (and likely for much better pay and benefits) than what would be the 800 millionth crappy liquor store in Kansas City but they have the potential to revive the Ward Parkway Shopping center and bring a lot of Kansas money into KC (note the KS Trader Joes unless they get one heck of a legal exemption will not sell alcohol).

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  5. John, I'm not saying that Trader Joe's isn't good for the city. What I'm saying is giving the city council the tools to grant certain people and corporations exemptions to the laws is bad for the city. I'd rather see Trader Joe's not open, than see the city exempt them from a law they must not believe in. Once the city council starts making money granting these exemptions it will only lead to more corporatization and less entrepreneurship.

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  6. Good news. It appears they have repealed the law completely, no exemptions.

    The headline says "City Council OK's Liquor Ordinance Exception", but the body of the story indicates they voted unanimously to change the entire liquor ordinance. It cites help in the Bannister area as well as Ward Parkway.

    http://www.fox4kc.com/business/wdaf-story-trader-joes-liquor-license-council-121610,0,5090093.story

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  7. Sloppy wording in that article. They just added an exemption for the area. Incidentally, this is the sixth or seventh exemption codified in the ordinance in the past 3 years. It sure seems to me that the city doesn't really believe in the ordinance either.

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  8. I really appreciate your post and it was very nice.

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