Friday, February 11, 2011

Rent-seeking and Austin,Texas "roach coaches"---Be careful what you ask for, Mr Businessman...You might get it....

A supplier of trucks in the Austin, Texas area for the mobile food industry, or as I learned the term in the Marine Corps, "roach coaches", is a victim of his own "rent-seeking". Rent-seeking is a microeconomic term for people/businesses that use the influence/power of government to maintain profits by limiting competition.  In order to limit competition he sought, and recieved, new regulations concerning the maintenance andsafety of "roach coaches".  Now it seems many of his own trucks don't make the grade.   Poetic justice...

New mobile food rules ensnare man who pushed for changes

""In 2009 Tom Ramsey pressed the City of Austin to add teeth to the city's mobile food vending ordinance.

Ramsey might have seemed an unlikely advocate; he owns a Pflugerville-based fleet of food trucks, which he leases to independent operators through his Snappy Snacks business. But as some in the booming food trailer business — there are now more than 1,300 food trucks in Austin — questioned his motives, Ramsey said the city needed tougher rules such as those found in other Texas cities to address health, safety and environmental concerns. In October, after an often-rocky 16-month review, the City Council approved a half dozen changes.

But now Ramsey says the teeth he sought have come back to bite him — since November, nine of his 53 vehicles either have not passed or would be unable to pass a city Fire Department inspection mandated by the new mobile food vending requirements. Passing is a requisite for getting an Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department permit, which vendors need to do business....""
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