Thursday, March 3, 2016

Privacy Rights and doing Business in Smyrna Delaware

Just recently I received the following letter from Dave Hugg the Town of Smyrna manager:  Business License requirement in the Town of Smyrna Delaware.


Letter to business' in the Town of Smyrna DE

Which would appear to be harmless.  So being a responsible law abiding citizen I proceeded to file the form for a business license in the Town of Smyrna Delaware.  Here is a screen shot of the Business application on their website listed in the above letter:

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Here are four things that should be noted here.

1.  This form requires that I give out my home address and home phone number.
2.  I must certify that the information that I am giving is true and correct.
3.  2016 for established business in the Town of Smyrna do not pay a fee. However in 2017 the fee will be $50.  This is a yearly fee.
4.  What is the Rational for this license?


Giving out my home address and home phone number

In my opinion this is a blatant privacy issue.  In no way shape or form would I ever post my home address and contact information in a public forum.  In no way would I give this information to a government agency.  There is absolutely no reason for the Town of Smyrna to know where I live or what my home phone number is.  So I did not give that information to them.

Lets face it I love my customers and I love my work.  However, when I am at home I do not want to work.  It is private time dedicated to my family.  Giving out that information would give the impression that you can come to my home and talk about work.  If there is an emergency or other disaster at my place of business I have insurance that covers my losses.  No need to contact me regarding anything that goes on when I am off.  I will come to work during work hours and deal with it.

Certification that the information that I am giving is true and correct

As you can guess I am already in trouble because I put my business address down as my home address and my business phone number as my home number.  Which means that I will not receive a business license.

New tax for this unpleasantness

It is a slippery slope we tread on when implementing new taxes.  Never in my life have I ever seen taxes decrease.  They only increase.  I questioned this with Joanne Masten the Mayor of the Town of Smyrna.  Here is what she wrote in an email to me:

"Under no circumstance was there any intention of this becoming a revenue stream for the town. But we have to know who is here and what they are doing.  We have had situations where a business opens and we do not know they are even here because when utilities are requested it is in an individual's name not a business.  We have had signs for businesses placed on buildings that not only do we not know about, but then a sign is placed on the building which is most definitely not in compliance.  I understand that you may not be doing these type of things, but others do."

So here is the scenario - Recession hits, Tax revenue declines, Town is short money to pay for services.  Where do they get the money???  

They get the money by increasing things that do not impact their chances of gettiing re-elected.  So they will not raise taxes in a bad economy they raise the fees charged for services like licensing, permits, etc.  We have seen it with the zoning compliance fee in the last recession.  

When questioned here is what Mayor Joanne masten said:

"But I can tell you for what it is worth the topic of a business license/revenue stream was discussed at length with Econ Dev/Bus Dev and Council and everyone of us state categorically this was not to occur.  Obviously I can not speak for future councils as I only have 14 months left to serve but I can only hope that common sense will prevail."

Yes Mayor, we can only hope.  So hope in one hand and pee in the other and see which hand fills up faster.

What is the Rational for this new tax and license requirement

The Mayor of the Town of Smyrna Joanne Masten gives us some insight.  Here is what she said:

"Rationale:
-ability to identify owners or operators of local businesses
-track changes in ownership or business activity
-define nature of business activities
-ensure understanding and compliance with town codes or existing ordinances
-improve coordination between the town government and local business  community
-enable our police department to have information as to who has a business in town
"


Seems innocent enough.  However we currently have departments that we pay taxes to maintain that do most of these jobs.  The zoning compliance form identifies owners and operators of business's in town.  The cost for this form is $75.  This would also track changes in the ownership and or business activity.  It also defines the nature of business activities.  Hence the name 'Zoning compliance form'.

There is a Code enforcement department that, believe it or not enforces the town codes and existing ordinances.  If there is a non-compliant sign posted, our code enforcement officers should identify and proceed to enforce the town ordinances.  

What is really confusing is what does 'improve coordination between the town government and local business community' mean?  Never has the Town of Smyrna ever, well in the past 13 years, tried to coordinate anything with local business'.  What coordination is necessary?

Why does our Police Department need to know who has a business in town?  It certainly is not so they can do business with local companies.  I have never done any business with any department of the Town of Smyrna.  Ironically my company specifically sells to police departments, Fire Departments and EMS services and they all already have my phone number.

If you have read my blog in the past, I do in fact support the Town of Smyrna in some cases, for example in my post regarding tax increases here is what I wrote .  I specifically supported a tax increase to improve the services offered in town.  So I am not totally against a Business License requirement.  

I think that a Business License would allow the town to compile an accurate report regarding the economic climate in town which could be given out to prospective companies looking to move into town.  This would not only bring jobs to town but would also increase the value of real estate as well.  Being a property owner in town I fully support the idea of increasing property values. However this business license should not cost the business owner any fee.  It should be free.  It can still be mandatory.

Where the Town and I disagree is in the type of information being collected and the open ended tax associated to the license.  I would also add one last problem.  How will the town know that a business is in town if they do not sign up for electric and they do not fill out the zoning compliance form?  This new tax just adds to the law abiding business' expenses.  





Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What I have learned in 54 years (updated)

Here is a list of things that I have learned over my 53 54 years of being in this world:


  1. If you act old you can get the senior discount without proof.
  2. AARP is just a scam to get your $16.
  3. Religion is the biggest and longest running scam created by Man
  4. How you are remembered after you die is the only afterlife.
  5. Women with Hot Flashes and Men that like Cold weather should be life partners
  6. The older I get the more I realize that it doesn't really matter, just do what you want.
  7. There are no true real friends - Everyone has a self serving motive
  8. There are no Selfless deeds
  9. Going one day without food will not kill you
  10. Viewing womens boobs will make you feel better
  11. Exercise everyday
  12. The people that cry discrimination and polical correctness today are the kids you would beat up in high school.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I think we have been sold a sack of shit

America no longer stands for freedom of speech and we no longer have tolerance.  Tolerance for alternate lifestyles, or even the tolerance for non-tolerance. There are numerous examples.  This is a world of hypocrites.  Case in point, Christmas cheer.

All you hear is Merry Christmas.  You turn around and your getting cut off on the road or pushed around at the store (example walmart parking lot).  Take for instance during my last trip to walmart.  There was a pickup truck parked sideways taking up 2 spots.  You know the type truck lifted with duck stickers.  As I was leaving, the owner walked up to the truck wearing the duck dynasty getup looking like the latest hillbilly.
Have you watched the Christmas specials made in the last 20 years.  Most of the popular ones talk about Santa or buying stuff but nothing about what Christmas is supposed to be about.

Does anyone even remember why we celebrate Christmas?

"Christians celebrate Christmas because it commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. Some people celebrate because everyone else is doing it and view it as the season for intimate gatherings and gift giving even without religious conviction. Others celebrate Christmas because it is a family tradition."
(Ask.com)

Interesting answer.  So apparently there are a certain number of people that celebrate Christmas just
because everyone else does.  Reminds me of what my Mom would ask me when I wanted to do what everyone else was doing "If they were jumping off a cliff would you follow?"  It does however explain a lot.  For example:


  1. Why people buy crap for people that they don't really like.  It is just something that is done in their circle of friends.  Which makes the stores crowded.  It also explains the crappy Christmas music that is piped into the stores.  They are only playing into this tradition thing.
  2. Rude and inconsiderate attitudes and actions when in public.  These people are actually pissed off that it is Christmas and they have to act a certain way.
  3. The Christmas charity of food.  I guess that the poor do not get hungry any other time of the year.
  4. How we see Christmas crap being pushed in the stores earlier each and every year.  This year I saw the joy-tide crap before Halloween (my favorite holiday)
That time period that starts just after Thanksgiving and is finally over by December 25th must be the most aggravating and annoying time of the year.  Is there a place that has no Christmas?  Perhaps in the Middle east?  Not really a viable option given the state of affairs in that part of the world.  

Should I convert to Islam?

"Muslim believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, as prophet of God. Muslims do not celebrate Christmas since it’s not a religious holiday according to Islam. Christmas day to Muslims is like any normal working day."




Sounds perfect.  Where do I sign up.

A quick search on Google reveals:

"To convert to Islam and become a Muslim a person needs to pronounce the below testimony with conviction and understanding its meaning:

I testify “La ilah illa Allah, Muhammad rasoolu Allah.”

The translation of which is:

“I testify that there is no true god (deity) but God (Allah), and that Muhammad is a Messenger (Prophet) of God.”

To hear it click here 

When someone pronounces the testimony with conviction, then he/she has become a Muslim.
" (ref www.islamreligion.com)

Ah crap, I have a problem with the language.

I think we have been sold a sack of shit

I was told that there was a Christmas spirit, that we celebrated the birth of Jesus.  What is really happening is that in our materialist piece of the world, the holiday has morphed into something else.  It has become a tradition of a spending frenzy starting on "Black Friday", only being perpetuated by the growth of the internet.  As well as being fueled by Corporate advertising and the dumbing down of our school system.  

Perhaps we need to take a deep look into our current existence.  Where is this path leading us?  More importantly what path have you chosen?  As far as I am concerned I chose to continue to be cynical.  


I only have one question for everyone:  If everyone was jumping off a cliff, would you follow?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More

So as we come to the end of they year Two Thousand Thirteen (2013), enter the final holidays of the year. Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Every year I write about these holidays giving you a rant or even perhaps a rave about each of them.  Last year I ranted on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, I even gave you my opinion on Christmas 2011.  I sit back today, read these posts and realize that I have grown past a lot of what I said in those posts.  I was very bitter and sarcastic.  After reading last years post on Christmas.  I have come to a new revelation.

Today is different, this year I have turned a new leaf.  It is not my place to judge other people about what they do with their money and or time.  We must each live our own experience, find our own peace, and spread our own joy.  For each of us this will be different.  For myself, it is probably no much different than what is taught in the Atheist mega-churches that are springing up all over the country.



Does this mean I am atheist?

The answer this year is: I don't think so.  What I mean is that I believe that there is a higher being aka God or energy that we merge or join with in the end.  Is it an actual being or is our life energy absorbed into the universe?  I think that my brain is too small to even attempt to answer that question.  In addition, for each person that answer is different.  As I get older I fine tune my beliefs which are derivatives of all the years I have lived.  Hence the reason that I have written posts in the past that I do not necessarily fully believe today.

Stephan Hawkins said, "A belief that heaven or an afterlife awaits us is a "fairy story" for people afraid of death."

A belief that heaven or an after life awaits us is a "fairy story" for people afraid of death just like time is a
"fairy story" and subject to our frame of reference.  The closer we get to the end of life the more we realize that time is not a fixed unit of measure, just like god is not a fixed unit of belief.

What?

No one can tell you or "preach" to you who or what god is, each of us must experience life and come to our own conclusions.  Life is a journey, there is no guide, there is no manual, what I see life as, is not the same as what another person is experiencing.  Who am I to preach my set of beliefs on someone else?  We each have to live with our journey and accept it for what it is...  Truly amazing.