Raleigh’s a great place for tech-savvy hipsters … to be upset with

The City of Raleigh keeps a web page devoted to highlighting all the publications bestowing accolades on Raleigh. Skimming the list, we see that Raleigh’s one of the best places to live, one of the coolest places to eat, a great area for dating, one of the best spots for startups, one of the most digitally inclusive tech cities, one of the top places tech industry workers want to live, one of the top places for grads just starting their careers, etc.

It all sounds exciting, vibrant, hip. Reading it all, you’d never think that this same city is teetering on the brink of atavism. But the Raleigh City Council keeps enforcing a revealed preference against disruptive innovation and playing protectionist for the 20th century modes.

E-scooters? They’re not like bikes or trains, so … regulate them into oblivion!

Outdoor dining? Wait, first define all the things!

Food trucks? That fight took years (and now, “middle of the pack” won’t make the city’s list).

This week it’s Airbnb

The council’s new target is Airbnb and other short-term rentals. The proposed list of rules is extensive and would be based on Asheville’s rules. (Yes, Asheville, the same city that’s trying to collect from one of its citizens close to a million dollars in fines for renting his own property.)

Last year, the city council spent a quarter million dollars on a new logo. You’d think a city that invested in rebranding would be more anxious to avoid being on the cane-waving side of the “Keep off our lawn” news stories.

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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