As in requiring a dance school to have a police permit, or a used bookstore to hold books for 30 days, or a cyber cafe to provide 20 square feet of floor area per computer. These are among the examples cited in a new report on the hassles of owning a business in L.A. It's hardly news that the rules and regulations are way more cumbersome than other cities, but the Institute of Justice, a public law firm, provides a number of examples on just how crazy the system has become.
• Los Angeles imposes draconian restrictions on home-based business and bans many--including dog sitting, sewing garments and cutting hair--outright.
• Would-be restaurateurs in Los Angeles must endure months, if not years, of hardship and spend tens of thousands of dollars navigating the city's labyrinthine permitting process--a fact that has given rise to a cottage industry of "permit expediters."
• Tree trimmers, wallpaper hangers, fence builders and numerous other trades must obtain a state-issued "specialty contractor" license, obtainable only after several years'
experience, a state-administered test and a background check.
• Startup clothing designers on the Los Angeles fashion scene must pass a state-administered examination and pay a hefty sum to obtain a "garment manufacturer's" license.
• eBay-type drop-off stores are required to fingerprint customers, report daily to the government and hold merchandise for 30 days before offering it for sale.
The mayor's office had been touting a plan to streamline the permit process, but after two frustrating years the plug was pulled. Just too much resistance from city department heads and too much complexity in overhauling the system. From the Business Journal:
Initially, the so-called 12-to-2 plan wasn't enacted because of resistance from City Hall bureaucrats. Finally, as the process dragged on, First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner decided the streamlining plan didn't go far enough. Instead, the city has decided to scrap the plan and hire a consultant to recommend ways to overhaul the permit process. "We weren't making the progress we needed to make," Beutner told the Business Journal last week. He said Los Angeles needs to do permitting as quickly and efficiently as other cities.