There is not much you can do in the City of Altoona without either a permit or license. Want to replace a worn out water heater or a window you need a permit. (The City just recently increased the permit fees) How about starting a small home business? Nope! Not until you get a license and possibly a zoning variance and maybe even a planning module. Why? Because it is the rules. City council is fond of making and adding and modifying rules and regulations. You could say that rules rule in Altoona, PA. There are rules and regulations for just about everything. If you live in or operate a business in Altoona you are expected to follow a myriad of rules. Do you have a residential rental property in Altoona? You need to get a permit. Do you have a family living in your residential rental property in Altoona? The rule is that you must fill out forms telling the City the names of tenants. Why? Don’t ask; it’s the rule! Do the rules make sense? They don’t need to! And, if you don’t follow the rules there are penalties.
So don’t question or complain about The Rules. That is unless you are Altoona City council. It seems that rules and regulations are meant to be followed by everyone except them.
When City council learned that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted federal food safety guidelines (another name for rules) which require the City to begin inspecting not-for-profit kitchen facilities, City Council balked. They didn't like the rules that were laid down for them to follow. One councilman said the rules were “dumb.” Another council member observed that “this is pinko commie. No way it’s constitutional.” During the discussion these verbose rule makers talked about ignoring the Commonwealth's rules. There was even a suggestion that they won’t follow these new rules. A council member proclaimed “let’s not do the inspections.” Another agreed, “Yeah just ignore doing the inspections.” One councilman proclaimed “the people should rise up against having to follow rules!” The boys were becoming animated. (It was certainly not the typical council meeting.)
Needless to say there are a lot of people around town that are enjoying hearing City council members squeal about not wanting to follow rules themselves.
Well boys, Welcome to Our nightmare! It's the nightmare you have made over the years for other people who live, work and do business in the City of Altoona.
Monday June 22nd
James B. Huntington, PH.D
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