If Life Gives You Lemons, Throw Them At The Health Inspector

Helen Jung at The Oregonian:

It’s hardly unusual to hear small-business owners gripe about licensing requirements or complain that heavy-handed regulations are driving them into the red.

So when Multnomah County shut down an enterprise last week for operating without a license, you might just sigh and say, there they go again.

Except this entrepreneur was a 7-year-old named Julie Murphy. Her business was a lemonade stand at the Last Thursday monthly art fair in Northeast Portland. The government regulation she violated? Failing to get a $120 temporary restaurant license.

Turns out that kids’ lemonade stands — those constants of summertime — are supposed to get a permit in Oregon, particularly at big events that happen to be patrolled regularly by county health inspectors.

“I understand the reason behind what they’re doing and it’s a neighborhood event, and they’re trying to generate revenue,” said Jon Kawaguchi, environmental health supervisor for the Multnomah County Health Department. “But we still need to put the public’s health first.”

Ann Althouse

Paul Chesser at The American Spectator:

So whose role is it to protect the public from excessive government? The health department says you can call and register complaints with the Multnomah County Environmental Health Services. Okay, so it’s for food illnesses, but you know, it’s easy to get sick of out of control regulators too. And Lillian Shirley is the head bureaucrat at the Health Department.

As for citizens, they are planning their own lemonade revolt at the end of this month.

Richard Lawson at Gawker:

Though she was using hand sanitizer, 7-year-old Julie Murphy’s art fair lemonade stand was shut down because it didn’t have the necessary restaurant license. People were outraged and anarchists (srsly) are planning a protest. Stay strong, government agents!

Katie Pavlich at Townhall:

The girl, Julie Murphy, was selling the lemonade for 50 cents, which means she would have to sell 240 cups in order to purchase a food license, and in addition 1000 cups to then pay off the $500 fine. I wonder if the government would then tax the girl’s revenues as well.

Moe Lane at Redstate:

Hey, if Blue State/Democratic-controlled governments want to avoid being raked over the coals because their convoluted regulatory schemes keep throwing up scenarios where public sector union employees have to threaten seven year old girls and make them cry, here’s a thought: don’t make the regulatory schemes quite so complicated.  True, doing it that way requires one faction of the Democratic party (public sector unions) to have a fight with another faction (trial lawyers), but why is that my problem?

Don Suber:

The little girl is adorable in the accompanying photo.

Now readers may have figured out that one of my favorite albums is “Whipped Cream and Other Delights” by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. It’s the music.

And OK, the cover.

Lemonade very pretty and the little girl is swell.
But the ade of the poor girl is impossible to sell.
Bureaucracy very rigid and you do what they tell.
But the fruits at the health department can all go to…

Chris Morran at The Consumerist:

Realizing the error of their ways, county officials have now issued an apology, meaning the little girl’s horribly unsafe lemonade can be unleashed upon the world once more.

In his decision, Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen said that while county health department workers were “following the rule book” when they stopped the girl and her mom from selling lemonade, he asked them to use “professional discretion.”

“A lemonade stand is a classic, iconic American kid thing to do,” he said. “I don’t want to be in the business of shutting that down.”

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