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It’s the Money, Not the Principle

June 26, 2014

When I first saw a headline about a company called MonkeyParking, I figured it was some dumb racist angle, probably because the TV in the background was droning on about the Redskins.  Turns out it’s not about racism.  It’s about the government seeing someone make money that the government wants to make on its own, but couldn’t figure out how fast enough.

MonkeyParking, the Rome-based startup whose iPhone app is used to auction off public parking spaces in San Francisco, is refusing City Attorney Dennis Herrera‘s order for the company to halt operations here.

In a newly released statement, MonkeyParking CEO Paolo Dobrowolny, derided Herrera’s cease and desist letter as “an open violation of free speech.”

“I have the right to tell people if I am about to leave a parking spot, and they have the right to pay me for such information,” Dobrowolny said.

It appears that the company provides a subscription service where people can alert other service members where they’re about to give up a parking space, and this space would then theoretically be held until the second member showed up to claim it.  If you’ve ever tried to park in San Francisco, you could understand why this is such a genius idea.  While I can’t say that I’d pay money for it, I’m sure there are plenty of people who absolutely would.

So naturally, if there’s some company making money, some government is going to either want a piece of it or want to take it over.  It’s a natural tendency for some flunky in government to begrudge some citizens’ ability to monetize something.  Well, guess what, at least one set of citizens is going to fight back.  I can’t say how successful they’ll be, but at least not everyone rolls over.

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12 Comments leave one →
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