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Coquille considering mandated business license with annual background checks

Coquille considering mandated business license with annual background checks
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fingerprint-scanner-1According to a handout from the Coquille Chamber of Commerce, the City of Coquille may institute a requirement for business licenses with half the fees earned being directed to the chamber for “community marketing and promotions”. The other half of the as yet to be quantified fee will go to the city to pay for annual background checks.

Proposal: Advocate for a City of Coquille Business License Program.
Purpose:
1. Public safety – City would perform annual background checks on every business to vouch that each one is bona fide, has the proper credentials and is compliant with state and federal laws pertaining to their industry.
2. Business retention – The licensing program will provide a means to maintain the most complete list of active businesses in operation possible as a means for the Chamber to better serve its constituents.
3. Create a revenue stream for investing in business promotion and economic development.
Program:
1. Each business would apply for a business license from the City of Coquille each year.
2. The fee would be allocated between the City for running a background check and the Chamber for conducting community marketing and promotions.
3. Licenses would be mandated by City ordinance.

Coquille city manager, Ben Marchant has not responded to my email asking for clarification but according to witnesses at a chamber meeting last evening, many merchants are upset. Regarding the claim that licensing is a public safety issue it was pointed out that the city would merely be duplicating the work of the state regulatory agencies. One restaurant owner pointed out that in order to obtain a liquor license the state conducted a thorough background check. There is no explanation of what criteria might be used to deny a business license on the basis of results from a background check and some merchants believe the move is unnecessarily invasive.

The City of Coos Bay requires a business license and bases its fees structure upon the type and size of the business. The city “may request proof of possession of any license, certificates, or registrations that are required by state or federal laws to conduct the type of business listed on the business license application”, but does not require a background check. North Bend requires licenses for some activities but not a general business license.

The proposed ordinance and specified use of the fees toward the chamber’s marketing efforts implies a contractual relationship with the city and effectively forces membership in the organization if one is to do business in Coquille. My understanding is that some members of the city council may also be affiliate and/or associate members of the chamber without voting rights. Witnesses indicate the proposal was concocted by Marchant and Councilman Dave Chappelle and supported by Councilwoman Susan Heaton.

The council’s close relationship with the chamber offers the appearance of a conflict of interest but may not meet the legal definition. Nevertheless, any ordinance enacted by a governing body can be overturned by a referendum of the people.

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Avatar of magix When my oldest son, a Marine, left for war and crossed the border from Kuwait into Iraq in March 2003 I started writing my conscience. After two tours that young combat veteran’s mother is now an ardent peace activist and advocate for social, environmental and economic justice. MGx has matured since those early vents and ramblings and now covers relevant and important local and regional matters in addition to national and global affairs.

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11 Responses to "Coquille considering mandated business license with annual background checks"

  1. Rob Taylor  May 22, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    Both of these city councilors chided me and Mr McKirgan for asking the council to pass a resolution against the unconstitutional provisions of the NDAA. They do not want to protect our rights and in this case, they want to eliminate more of our liberties. One, forced membership to the Chamber of Commerce and two, the intrusion into our pravacy with a background check.

    Do these people belong to the NAZI Party or are they just assholes?……..You decide……

    Reply
    • Avatar of magix
      magix  May 22, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      It definitely has the “police state” air to it and most merchants think the council just wants to get into everyone’s personal business so they can gossip.

      Reply
  2. The Reminder  May 22, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Chamber of Commerce has gained the reputation of being a political tool for the republican party, affiliated and guided by the mantra of Grover Norquist. Its seems like they may want to choose who your money is going to support or maybe someone just needs the income.

    Reply
    • Avatar of magix
      magix  May 22, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      The architects of this endeavor haven’t thought this through properly

      Reply
  3. Pig Nuts  May 22, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    Hmmm, annual background checks for business license? Will it deter Chester The Molester from having a building supply company in town? What purpose does it serve? May as well throw in juggling my figs & a finger wave to the proposal…

    Reply
  4. susanp  May 22, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Is it legal to tax the public and send the monies to a private organization? At least the fact that taxpayers money goes to private SCDC is veiled.

    Reply
  5. The Reminder  May 23, 2013 at 6:26 AM

    Good question, looks like you gave the answer by pointing out that SCDC has been receiving tax dollars through memberships from tax dollar supported organizations, like the port and the county and the cities and who knows how many other sources of government collected funds that they redistribute to their pockets without the tax payers being aware. So yea, I guess it has been made legal or the whole bunch of local scammers and con men would already have been put in jail.

    Reply
  6. Wim de Vriend
    Wim de Vriend  May 23, 2013 at 8:27 AM

    On the practical side, we should wonder what this is going to do for downtown Coquille. Second Street, the town’s former commercial heart, has already deteriorated into a bunch of semi-vacant buildings and semi-alive thrift shops. Do these clowns think their scheme will improve that situation? Maybe not, but it promises to give job security to a Chamber of Commerce staffer. And all that under the pretense of “investing in business promotion and economic development.” It does sound familiar . . .

    Reply
  7. Dian  May 28, 2013 at 6:30 AM

    Merchants will be at the next Council meeting on June 3rd to speak in the public comment portion of the meeting. I hope they won’t be treated like The Concerned Citizens group that went up against the police and their abuse of authority a few years ago. I’ve already been shot down in a public meeting as being rude & disrespectful by the new City manager for informing the merchants that 4 City Council members who will be voting on this issue are also members of the chamber. Well the rabble have been roused and we will see how they are treated by this council and it’s constituents. Two council/chamber members who attended the chamber meeting got very bad reviews from the merchants (mostly concerning their attitude). Also, there is a lot of grumbling about our police chief and her handling of the trucker situation. My advice to her would be NOT to have her Pit Bulls (or gestapo as some folks call it) in attendance at the next council meeting. It reeks of intimidation and really is disrespectful.

    Reply
    • Avatar of magix
      magix  May 28, 2013 at 8:36 AM

      Too many appointed and elected officials forget they are there to serve the people. Instead they use their platform to verbally abuse some people who dare to express discontent at city council meetings. It happens at all levels and some members of the Coquille City Council sometimes takes it to extremes. Regardless, it is important for the public to participate in its own governance and give the council a taste of its own medicine.

      Reply

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