Putting Out the Litigatory Fire
These two items aren’t directly related, but reading them in close proximity to each other, I discerned some dots that could be connected. First is RI Senate Majority Leader Teresa Paiva Weed’s defense of the General Assembly’s failure to reform our state’s fire code:
Following enactment of the new code in 2003, the Senate has responded when necessary with legislation to address concerns that were expressed to us about the code by the business community. Clarifying the code’s flexibility in 2005 is one example. Additionally, Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski championed the effort to create more flexible options for fire safety in churches and houses of worship. Using the flexibility of the existing code, I worked to ensure that consideration was given for bed-and-breakfast establishments. The Senate provided substantial staff support to the Council of Churches and the Bed and Breakfast Association in these successful efforts to find workable and practical interpretations of the code.
I’m not sure what “concerns” the “business community” has “expressed” to the legislature, but I’ve heard tales from electricians on various jobsites, and seen evidence, of ridiculous requirements that cost much more money than they appear to be worth. I’ve also discovered that the school next to my house is being rebuilt in part so that the younger children can actually enter the cafeteria, which the current code forbids.
On to the next, which is a bit of autobiography from Eric of Classical Values (who is not speaking of Rhode Island, specifically):
After spending years running a very popular but commercially unsuccessful nightclub, I was advised (by some attorneys who meant well) that the ideal career change for me would be to sue business owners for non-compliance with the ADA.
“Attorneys fees are there by statute!” I was told.
Great. Now that I was out of business, I could be born again as a despicable parasite and help ensure that other business owners would be put out of business. It struck me that if I became a homeless derelict, I’d be doing more for the world than if I helped ruin other people’s businesses. (It didn’t help much that one of the many reasons my business failed was that the building was cited by the fire marshall for inadequate handicapped access, and there was no way to remedy this without major alterations to the building, which I did not own, for patrons in wheelchairs who never came.)
Senator Paiva Weed makes much of the fire code’s flexibility, but there’s flexibility, and then there’s flexibility. I’d suggest that the flexibility of business owners and taxpayers to switch jobs and rebuild buildings should not count.