KAPLAN: Making it harder to run a business isn’t social justice

I am a full-on supporter of social justice in its truest meaning….policies designed to mitigate social and economic disparity.  But it is time to shed light on the misuse of this term by our city council, who is using it as an umbrella term to placate voters as they proceed with pushing through policy that does anything but mitigate disparity.

Consider recent moves by our city council including the hotel worker’s ordinance and the new higher minimum wage under discussion. 

Rather than evening out the playing field to provide equal access and economic opportunity, these policies build a wall around West Hollywood, a 1.9 sq mile city surrounded on all sides by Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. 

These policies make it more costly and challenging for those who choose to open and run businesses here and, with the higher cost structure, it makes goods and services more costly for our residents, a significant percentage of whom are elderly or disabled on fixed income and with limited mobility. 

From the perspective of the residents and businesses in West Hollywood then, the impact of these policies on their lives can hardly be considered “social justice”. 

And what of the young gay guy or girl with a dream to open a small business in West Hollywood to serve and give back to the community that has embraced them?   How can they justify opening their doors in West Hollywood when just across the street they can do so with fewer restrictions and costs?   Is this the kind of “social justice” we are looking for?

In its truest form, who can argue that “social justice” is not an important and valued ideology?  Policies that allow for more equal economic opportunity for all are certainly to be applauded.   When applied at the federal level the impact is positive and can be a great push towards a better society.   I would even agree that some of these policies applied on a broader scale, say across Los Angeles County, would deliver the desired outcome of providing better access and economic opportunity. 

But we cannot overlook the inequities that are created when these onerous policies are imposed on a community of 1.9 square miles that sits as an island surrounded by cities that place fewer restrictions and lower cost burdens on businesses within their borders.  When our overzealous council fails to recognize the obvious economic hardships, unfair burdens and economic disparities created for both our businesses and residents as a result of these policies, they must be called to task.

This is not social justice. It is a complete lack of concern and vision by a group of politicians grandstanding to build their personal legacies. Blinded by the bright lights of a bigger political future they fail to give credence to the well-being of the citizens they serve. 

WeHoans, do not be duped when this council bandies about the term “social justice,” because in the end it is you who will pay the price for this vanity legislation.

Keith Kaplan is a resident and property owner in West Hollywood for over 35 years.  This reflects his voice, not the voice of any other individual or organization.

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Malibu Boy 🌴
Malibu Boy 🌴
10 days ago

although I have since relocated, I was a longtime West Hollywood resident and proud of it and very happy to be one. Since moving on I have been very disappointed by the things that I have seen in West Hollywood. But to be fair the same goes for the entire country in my opinion. social justice, a term very very often misused nowadays is just another name for discrimination, or as some people like to say “reverse discrimination”. No matter, discrimination is discrimination. Unless people are left to their own devices and not controlled and regulated by the government with… Read more »

Buzzcuts
Buzzcuts
10 days ago

Weho has never cared about small business or the common man. They were created by developers and only cater to developers. What once was a noble place open to all is just another playground for rich developers and no one else.

Bryan Watkins
Bryan Watkins
10 days ago

He is spot on. But that is the point and you put a great tag line in front of any legislative action and the ignorant scream victory. WeHo is not the e community it once was. It is for corporate big business and it is not a gay community any more. And yes, the elderly and the fixed income are being pushed out because when you are BH adjacent and want a new playground that is what you do. We cleaned up the playground and made it what it is and then get told isn’t this what you wanted? Bull,… Read more »

William Seegmiller
William Seegmiller
12 days ago

Small businesses and entire industries are being ravaged by no jab no job policies, and the MSM and our “leaders” blatantly lie about what’s happening across the country and globe.

Vax mandates and passports further marginalize working poor, black & latino communities and young people. “Papers please” policies are our generation’s Patriot Act and WMD— just more reactionary hysterics & disaster capitalism.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
12 days ago

Get vaccinated. You are totally unhinged.

Graham
Graham
10 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Says AIDS spreader.

Buzzcuts
Buzzcuts
10 days ago
Reply to  Graham

Says another totally unhinged hate monger.

Malibu Boy 🌴
Malibu Boy 🌴
10 days ago
Reply to  Graham

shame on you.

Malibu Boy 🌴
Malibu Boy 🌴
10 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

all of these anti-vaccine people are unhinged. There is no logical credible evidence to be against the vaccine.

Malibu Boy 🌴
Malibu Boy 🌴
10 days ago

vaccine mandates and passports and legal identification don’t marginalize anyone. that is a liberal myth that is repeated over and over again to further the agenda of no ID requirements for voting. The vaccine is free and a copy of your birth certificate costs a few dollars. I think most people in America if they’re that poor could go without lunch one day to cover the cost of something that they can use for the rest of their lives. because of the vaccine we were able to stop dead bodies from piling up everywhere. there are only two ways to… Read more »

Joshua88
Joshua88
10 days ago

Last time I looked, they wanted $40 for a copy of my birth certificate. Need it for Real ID.
What is wrong with my CA driver’s license, anyway?

Malibu Boy 🌴
Malibu Boy 🌴
10 days ago
Reply to  Joshua88

isn’t California giving driver’s licenses to non-American citizens now? thinking that’s why the driver’s license doesn’t allow you to vote . the birth certificate shows where you were born .

Joshua88
Joshua88
10 days ago

Totally ravaged by the pandemic.

There, I fixed it for you.

Joshua88
Joshua88
12 days ago

Social Justice is not in the spotlight to help the forgotten and woebegotten businessman/woman.

Joshua88
Joshua88
12 days ago

When the opposition talks about a cohort with which they have no alliance, allegiance, or sympathy, you gotta know how very boolsh***! it is.
ie: significant percentage of whom are elderly or disabled on fixed income and with limited mobility.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
13 days ago

So you are probably opposed to rent control. Economic Equity comes with a price tag. Increase in costs was used as a reason by Richard II to maintain serfdom. I would point out to Keith that his own push poll reflected that a substantial MAJORITY of West Hollywood voters favored increasing the minimum wage, and that was even after the poll question was couched in terms on increasing costs when you go out to bars and night clubs. It is tough to run a business in West Hollywood; but does that mean the employees should work for less than a… Read more »

Bill G Skywatcher
Bill G Skywatcher
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

I agree with everything you say, Steve, but I also believe that there might be things the city could do to alleviate the impact on small businesses. For example, the city could give businesses with few employees (<15-20) but for whom the increase results in negative cash flow a break on city taxes with a sunset clause after a certain period of time.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
11 days ago

No doubt. Business assistance should be in the equation.

Malibu Boy 🌴
Malibu Boy 🌴
10 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

it is when the government mandates it. All it does is cause unemployment and more work for those who are employed and inflation all across the board because businesses simply passed that increase in labor on to their customers by raising prices. So the minimum wage worker now gets a raise but everything he goes to buy costs more. can’t you see that that doesn’t accomplish anything except cause inflation?

C.R.
C.R.
9 days ago

Everything continues to cost more ANYWAYS! While wages stagnate. Just SIT DOWN!

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
15 days ago

The SHE Squad are performing to an audience outside of West Hollywood’s borders. I’m glad Keith Kaplan is here to continue to make the case for sanity and sound municipal governance that is lacking, and getting worse. I will likely regret offering my commentary in what has become a cesspool of toxic anonymity complete with ad hominem attacks here in the WEHOville comments section.

Stripe & Yellow
Stripe & Yellow
14 days ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Rather than an honorable, dedicated effort to enhancing the affairs of their own community, these folks merely envision a CC position as a stepping stone to a future aspirations through attention getting tactics.

They and everyone should read the charming story of Stripe & Yellow in HOPE FOR THE FLOWERS. A children’s book valuable for every adult that missed the point and has to do with the idea of noble pursuits.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
14 days ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Do you need to state your regret at the end of every comment now? Is someone forcing you to leave comments on Wehoville? You could just not chime in if you’re so afraid of people replying to you. We would certainly all appreciate the silence.

Crookies
Crookies
15 days ago

This is era of Democrat anarcho-tyranny:

BlueTeam tryanny that consists of tying honest and law abiding citizens, up with Kafkaesque regulations and bureaucratic red tape, while allowing criminals/homeless to run amok with polices such as’defund the police’/no enforcement of misdemeanors/early release of felons, that degrade the average tax payer community into conditions of anarchic lawlessness.

You foot the bill for all this too! Compliance, is part of the social contract but they’re not keeping their end of the bargain

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
13 days ago
Reply to  Crookies

Well we are all footing the bill for the Trump era tax cuts.

Crookies
Crookies
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Trump?

You’re telling on yourself

Longhorn Special
Longhorn Special
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Oh no!! It’s the “Trump’s Fault” default argument when you have no argument. This is NOT Trump’s fault by any measure. Biden’s first 9 months have yielded: Highest ENERGY prices in 7 years. Inflation rates not seen in 20+ years. A chaotic military pullout from Afghanistan that let 13 service men and women be killed. Left countless AMERICANS behind. And worse. Get the juice or lose your job. Are we in 1940’s Germany now? Ports in LA and NY are a mess. Goods are in short supply. Airplane travel is beyond crazy. Fights, mask mandates (they don’t work) and other… Read more »

Graham
Graham
10 days ago

Oh my God it’s Trumps fault.. Border insecurity, homelessness, rising crime, censorship, lying media owned by the liberal elites, CRT, ANTIFA, racists school boards and processors, Big Tech and Big Pharma owned by liberals establishing dangerous public policy. Lying about alternative Covid treatments that saves lives because it doesn’t make money for the liberal establishment. Steve I use to like you but your part of the problem.

kab1200
kab1200
9 days ago
Reply to  Graham

So now you are calling Fox News the liberal elite? Interesting. All you said here is BS. All of it.

Graham
Graham
10 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Lol…Spoken like a true liberal.. what’s your excuse for the disastrous government we are living under now?

Bill G Skywatcher
Bill G Skywatcher
13 days ago
Reply to  Crookies

When the other (Republican) party regains sanity, please send us a postcard. I’m serious. Between homophobia, racism, anti-vaxxing, enforcing evangelical beliefs on the rest of us, believing in “stolen elections” and tearing down services people depend on I’m rather glad to live in an area in which their ability to control my life is minimal.

Crookies
Crookies
12 days ago

Republicans?

You’re telling on yourself

Bill G Skywatcher
Bill G Skywatcher
10 days ago
Reply to  Crookies

Am I? Good. There is nothing worth saving in a party that thinks science is dependent on their opinions, that religious dogma should be enforced in laws, that democracy is only for their few, and that elections are stolen if they lose. Republicans aren’t a political party, they are a virtual mental asylum.

Graham
Graham
10 days ago

Says an AIDs spreader concerned about everyone’s health…it’s a woman’s right to kill a baby but the AIDS spreaders insist you must be vaxxed because they make such good decisions about their health? Irrational and psycho much?.. those short shorts are cutting off your brain waves Karen..

Graham
Graham
10 days ago

Okay Karen keep looking in the sky maybe the truth will hit your little sad world in the face. You can’t handle the truth. A huge part of the gay community support Trump no matter how much your party lies, steals, and censors. “Let’s Go Branden” you washed up dementia ridden old pedo.

Scott
Scott
15 days ago

If your business model is predicated on not paying your employees a living wage, you have no business starting one. But let’s be real: this isnt’ really about “small business owners” or “social justice”. The mandates by the city largely affect big businesses who in reality aren’t going to leave WeHo because people come here not for any one hotel, or restaurant, but for the history, geographic location, and the cultural zeitgeist that can’t be replicated easily in Mid-City, or Fairfax District, or the Times Sq dump that is downtown Hollywood. We’ve seen more small businesses shutdown from greedy landlords… Read more »

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
15 days ago
Reply to  Scott

There we go again with this “living wage” crap! A job pays what it’s worth. It is not the employer’s responsibility to assess what an employee’s expenses are and then match that with a wage. The competition with other businesses and the pool of competent workers available and willing to do the job should be the only considerations in deciding what the wage will be. Wage increases should be based on merit when the business owner determines how valuable an employee is to him/her. Government is way overstepping to require a minimum wage. It is particularly presumptuous when officials have… Read more »

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
14 days ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

So you don’t think wages should increase with inflation at all?

Thank god there are people in government with more sense than you.

Tom Van Patton
Tom Van Patton
14 days ago
Reply to  Scott

Excellent post, Scott. You hit the nail on the head The rents are so out of touch with what a new small business can generate that it is just plain sad. There used to be a wonderful shoe repair shop on Santa Monica Blvd near the Bank of American a little west of Hilldale. Also a great electrcal repair shop in the Bank of America building on Hilldale. It is totally unfeasible economically to open businesses today with the rents they are asking. Large corporate groups can afford to open and pay that kind of rent but not someone who… Read more »

Stripe & Yellow
Stripe & Yellow
14 days ago
Reply to  Tom Van Patton

Many of the smaller community businesses that actually made WEHO a working series of neighborhoods have been lured into oblivion or sent to Siberia by land owners/landlords believing they can strike it rich in the Development Monopoly World. This same theory regarding hotel development is being effected on another level. The hotels overproduced and were broadsided by the pandemic. The landlords seeking their golden rainbow are focused on future profits from a new retail alignment that likely may never arrive. We will be looking at a landscape of tourists until they discover there is no there, there or here, empty… Read more »

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
13 days ago

An astute but troubling observation.

Stripe & Yellow
Stripe & Yellow
12 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Afraid WeHo has become an angry toxic bubble with continuous complaints from folks that see themselves as myriad victims rather that resilient solution finders. Then false saviors find their flock….and so it goes. This is another observation, not a complaint.

SeeMe
SeeMe
15 days ago

Very thoughtful piece. Gentrification is typically applied to poor communities that get infiltrated by wealthy new residents and business owners with no ties to those who have lived there for years – ultimately pricing them out of existence. We need to be mindful that just because there is a significant percentage of wealth in West Hollywood it doesn’t mean there isn’t a significant percentage of those just getting by. It is the responsibility of the City Council to both recognize and protect these residents, as they depend on affordable local businesses and housing.

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