What Were They Thinking: 'Not making a profit, or so they say'

Say what you will about tourists, you have to either loathe them or else dislike them intensely. And if it is in fact tourist season, I do not know why we cannot shoot them.

Well, if we cannot shoot them, the least we can do is send them home with some sort of contagious disease. And Daytona has pretty much nailed that one with their disease-sharing plan.

Yes, I know. When you think of Daytona and disease, your first thought is something picked up privately from one of the “professional ladies” or “working girls” over there. But this time, it is COVID-19 in the bars.

To help get the germs spread this year, Daytona shut down outdoor seating at one of their big Bike Week attractions. This was punishment for last year’s failure to heed orders that the city failed to properly deliver.

Last year, Daytona canceled all the special-event permits without notice, hearing or even written orders to shut down. Main Street Station did not shut down fast enough to please the authorities when the city canceled everything. So, as punishment, outdoor seating was banned there this year.

Instead, everyone was required to stay indoors and share germs. My guess is that lots of motorcycle folks will take home something extra this year. Fortunately, the incubation period is long enough that the illness will not count in the Florida statistics.

It all goes to show the advantages of code enforcement over real due process. Daytona hires a code-enforcement magistrate, who receives his paycheck and instructions from the city. Yes, the same city whose officials are issuing the orders and notices of violation. Since the city is paying the magistrate, they know they can count on him to rule favorably.

In real court, the judge does not answer to the prosecuting authority. Some of them may be former prosecutors, which may indicate bias, but their paychecks do not depend on maintaining favor.

Code enforcement does not have the disadvantage of independent fact-finding or impartial decision-makers. The magistrate knows who signs his check, and there is at least subtle pressure to stay on their good side. And that is why you know what the folks at Main Street Station in Daytona must be thinking — we’re sick of code enforcement, and the bikers will be sick of COVID!

— Andrews is a DeLand-area attorney and a longtime government critic. For purposes of the column, he finds it convenient that there is so much government to criticize.