by Lou Binninger

California’s Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) notified Kumar Kairam, owner of Washington Avenue Market in Yuba City that after nearly three years his convenience store can finally sell a single 16 oz. beer. Kairam recently applied to have the restriction removed and never understood why his business was targeted in the first place.

The bizarre aspect to this case is that the store sells all kinds of liquor including beer, wine, and hard drink. However, the City of Yuba City asked for the restriction on Kairam’s liquor license in spite of the fact that his competitors can sell the product.

A Freedom of Information Act request of police responses showed his store having fewer incidents than his competitors that have the freedom to sell a 16 oz. beer.

He could sell a 6-pack or a case of beer but could not sell just one. Sound wrong? That’s because there is nothing right about fascist policies ruling over citizens and businesses.

President Ronald Reagan in a television interview discussing conservatism vs. liberalism said, “If fascism ever comes to America it will come in the name of liberalism. What is fascism? Fascism is private ownership, private enterprise but total government control and regulation. Isn’t this the liberal philosophy?”

Reagan concluded his thought by saying, “The conservative (way) so–called is less government, get off my back, get out of my pocket, and let me have more control of my own destiny.” Some city council members may consider themselves conservative but they act like socialists.

City management arbitrarily crippled Kairam’s ability to make a profit by chasing off customers wanting to buy a beer. So Kairam lost the ‘privilege’ to sell those customers hundreds of other merchandise items as they took their beer business elsewhere.

The single 16 oz. beer issue surfaced when Sutter Buttes Tea Party Patriots routinely frequented the store for coffee and learned of the owner being abused by the city. They attempted to intervene on behalf of Kairam to no resolve.

City Council candidate Jason Rikard drew attention to the city’s bullying tactics during his campaign. Rikard noted the fact that this was neither a City Council decision nor an ordinance forbidding 16 oz. beer sales but rather the arbitrary act of a single bureaucrat Director of Development Services Darin Gale.

Kairam and his wife have three children, 2 in college and one working for an anti-human trafficking organization in Sacramento. The hard working immigrant who never completed high school confesses to not understanding the myriad of rules governing business here. Kairam thought he just needed to pay someone money like he would in his former homeland.

Kairam has also gotten sideways with the complex city sign rules. Again, he sees the rules being stifling and applied inconsistently among similar stores. And, he wonders why the State Lottery sign can be on the curb but he cannot have his own curb advertisement. Why the favoritism?

Currently none of the five city council members are small business owners. If politicians were required to successfully operate a small business for 10-years prior to ruling over enterprises, maybe they would make fewer rules and regulations and quit jerking hard-working citizens around.

Politicians and bureaucrats have removed the ‘freedom’ from free enterprise. The city’s 16 oz. beer nonsense is symbolic of the government’s routine abuse of business people.

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