EDITORíS DESK: Tilting at windmills
You ought to know us by now. We believe in standing up for the little guy, for taking time on local issues bigger papers ignore. And perhaps most particularly, we
support the Westside's small businesses and their independent owners (we're among them!) as they grapple with increasingly complex government regulations in
pursuit of the American Dream.
So I hope some of you don't take it the wrong way when I say that I oppose Senate Bill 07-025. For those of you unfamiliar with the numbers, that's the title of a bill - which the majority of Statehouse politicians evidently approve - that adds "sexual orientation" and "religion" to the list of (quoting from the bill) "characteristics for which a person may not be discriminated against under state laws."
The bill would add to an existing state law that bans discrimination based on disability, race, creed, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry.
I'm sure that many pundits have penned lengthy scrolls pro and con on this issue. I prefer to keep this short and simple. Consider the current list. Is there a characteristic on it that can't be seen at a glance (other than creed)? And as for creed, it can readily be discerned in someone's work habits. But what are business owners to make of this new law, which protects behavior areas that they normally would not know or care about? Ironically, it would only be when an employee made a big deal about those behaviors that an employer would wish he'd never hired him or her. And yet that situation is the very thing the law would protect.
But isn't that diversity? you might say. No, it's the government telling us what actions we can or can't accept... and maybe someday deeming this sort of criticism a hate crime.
Look, business is not a social experiment. It's an attempt to get work done. If people don't like the business where they're employed, they have the glorious option in this country (at least for now) of starting their own. That's what we did here. Not unlike other Westside small-business owners, we would prefer to keep what we've worked for, not risk losing it to malcontents and opportunistic lawyers.
(Note: Letters in response to this column are welcomed, but will only run if they meet our standard letter rules and if they stay on the topic herein: The law's impact on small businesses.)