Saturday, July 21, 2018

Feasting At The Public Trough


Or a Tool For Sexual Predators?

I was a renter in San Francisco for years. Last year I inherited some money. I then bought a house in Novato. Novato is the furthest town north in Marin County. As a homeowner I now pay real estate taxes that go to the City of Novato and Marin County. My understanding is they go to pay for infrastructure. Like police, sheriff, district attorney, fire department, animal shelter, 911, schools, recreation departments, etc. I also pay rent for my office, also in Novato. I pay insurance, advertising, maintenance and utilities for my office. I have a doctorate in Psychology, a license from the State of California and a business license from the City of Novato.

I’m wondering why the City of Novato subsidizes people using the City to earn a living. I’m talking about all the “instructors” who are paid to teach classes through the City’s Parks and Recreation Department. These instructors are getting a building and services free, as we taxpayers paid for it. 1. A building. 2. A building with tenant improvements. 3. A building with utilities all paid for. 4. A building with real estate taxes not charged on. 5. A building with fire and liability insurance all paid for. 5. These “instructors” have all their advertising paid for. 6. These “instructors” are not required to hold licenses for what they are instructing in. In fact, these “instructors” are not even required to have any demonstrable proficiency in what they are “instructing” in. 7. A building where all the maintenance, upkeep and landscaping is all paid for. 8. A building with parking. 9. A building with exterior lighting.

How can a business compete against these public trough subsidies? They can’t.

I add to these issues another one. The City does no sort of background check, does not require a bond, nor require proof of any sort of proficiency in what is taught. The result? A magnet for those deliberately looking to slip between the cracks. That, for various reasons, an individual won’t or can’t work elsewhere. That would be two types of an individual. One being the individual who works the system to feast at the public trough. Get out of paying all the costs I, or a restaurant, or an attorney, or an artist, etc., have to pay. Another is a predator. A predator that creates a class to draw in their victims. The victims usually are children and women perceived to be desperate. The roster of classes offered by the Novato Parks and Recreation targets that audience.

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7 comments on Feasting At The Public Trough

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By Steven Lane on December 13, 2007 at 03:29 pm
What are they instructing and are they charging for the lessons? Sounds crazy.
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By yesteryear on December 13, 2007 at 06:58 pm
It's actually not that cut and dry - course instructors for classes at most of these facilities aren't charged for use of the rooms because they have provided a 'proposal' to the city and are in essence 'hired' by the City to teach their course. It does pose a threat to other businesses (see my example below), but the City's benefit isn't financial - ideally it's a benefit to the whole community by providing a affordable, local way for residents to access enrichment and educational courses. But I do agree with the sentiment of your article. As a former small business owner with a business in the downtown of an East Bay city that will remain nameless, I was always furious when the "craft fair" folks would come to town for a weekend, block off the streets, drive away my regular customers, and take away all of the parking spots my customers used -- all for the price of a simple "vendor fee" for setting up their booth. Ironically, the city did not provide those of us who paid rent every day of the year, and taxes, with free booths so we could compete with the out-of-towners who came once a year. It's a racket.
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By Creedon on December 21, 2007 at 12:32 pm
It's the same story in LA. As a small business owner I knew about the unfair perks the city gives these jokers with no credentials to support their "proposals." What I hadn't considered before was no background checks as a way in for sexual predators. I also didn't know about the extra perks the cities give to the crafts fairs when they come to town. Probably the same for the flea markets. I shop and buy local from a local who is here 365 days out of the year.
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By Lois on January 03, 2008 at 06:18 pm
It's both feasting at the public trough and a tool for sexual predators. These "teachers" submit their "proposal" and then get half of the "tuition" brought in by the "students" that attend. Same for the community college's non-credit classes who also don't do background checks. These community college teachers and recreation department "teachers" are not good enough to "teach" at a legitimate place. It certainly is a racket. In many cases, the strong possibility for a dangerous racket.
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By Diana's Art on February 21, 2009 at 03:53 pm

Outstanding article! Aside from the obvious unfair financial advantage given to those that “teach” at these recreation departments without licenses, insurance or any check of their experience or credentials to “teach,” recreation facilities are major attractions of pedophiles and for that reason this link lists implications for recreational professionals to ensure they are keeping children safe by not hiring pedophiles. Realize that pedophiles and sexual predators of adults can be charming individuals who live double lives very well.  County commissioners have put a proposed ordinance on hold that would ban anyone who had ever been convicted of a sex crime from public parks or recreation centers.

The City of Novato, California Parks and Recreation Department’s email is  They and the City of Novato, California  must know they have some very grave injustices going on here as well as a publicly paid for invitation to sexual predators.

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By Greene on July 17, 2009 at 05:27 pm

How can a business compete against these public trough subsidies?

I naively assumed these sort of questions were being asked and satisfactorily answered before an instructor was hired.

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By Credo on October 10, 2013 at 07:19 pm

With all of these services being paid for by the city, there isn't any fair exchange of competition for the average business.

Businesses most come together on a political strategic level to combat city policies as a remedy to such problems.


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