More millionaires and billionaires exploiting the rest of us regular citizens working to create a green post-capitalist Northern California. The New York Times reports on ice cream mogul Juliet Pries's multi-hundred thousand dollar fight against San Francisco city officials resisting her plan for another unhealthy, environmentally unsustainable enterprise worsening the commercial blight of her Haight Ashbury neighborhood.
Ms. Pries said it took two years to open the restaurant, due largely to the city’s morass of permits, procedures and approvals required to start a small business. While waiting for permission to operate, she still had to pay rent and other costs, going deeper into debt each passing month without knowing for sure if she would ever be allowed to open.
“It’s just a huge risk,” she said, noting that the financing came from family and friends, not a bank. “At several points you wonder if you should just walk away and take the loss.”
Ms. Pries said she had to endure months of runaround and pay a lawyer to determine whether her location (a former grocery, vacant for years) was eligible to become a restaurant. There were permit fees of $20,000; a demand that she create a detailed map of all existing area businesses (the city didn’t have one); and an $11,000 charge just to turn on the water.
In the end, money and lawyers did the talking, despite the lack of an environmental impact statement. Now San Francisco has another nondescript dessert eatery with a large carbon footprint rather than an attractive, naturally mouldering abandoned building.