Unfortunately, you cannot idiot-proof government.


Regulatory Insanity, 2: A $17,000 Dumpster Ramp for the Handicapped

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:31 am

A reader from somewhere in Southern California writes to lament the regulatory roadblocks that are severely delaying the opening of his business:

We submitted our building construction plans for the restaurant last year to the county. We had over fifty revisions including a request that the trash dumpster have an enclosure. We stated that the dumpster had a walled enclosure of six feet in height and that the dumpster was rain proof. The County stated that we must have a roof over the trash dumpster. We had the architect draw it up. The plans returned rejected.

The County now rejected the dumpster enclosure because it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. They required that we build a ramp with a locking gate at the top of the ramp for any wheelchair-bound employee. We argued that the public did not have access to the enclosure and we would not ask any employees in a wheelchair to throw out the trash. The County stated that the lack of a ramp would create a barrier to hiring a handicapped person.

The additional ramp with locking gate increased construction costs by $17,000 and it will take my employees longer to throw out the trash on a daily basis.

Much more at the original, as well as some sound discussion, but Patterico is primarily concerned with the idiocy of foisting unnecessary regulations in a manner which will increase costs to businesses. Roughly five out of every six Americans who have jobs work for private businesses, and adding additional, unnecessary regulatory burdens places additional costs on just the people we want, and need, to create new jobs.

I noticed something a bit different.

We stated that the dumpster had a walled enclosure of six feet in height and that the dumpster was rain proof. The County stated that we must have a roof over the trash dumpster.

Think about how a dumpster is emptied. The truck comes, with the forks, which it puts in the slots on the side of the dumpster. The driver then picks it up and dumps the contents into the truck. If the dumpster pad has a roof on it, the truck must pick up the dumpster a few inches, then back out before it can raise the container and dump the garbage into the truck, lower the container, and then pull forward to place the container back in the enclosure. This is an additional burning of Gaia-harming diesel fuel, spewing yet more CO2 into the atmosphere where it will melt Antarctica and drown all of the penguins!

That, of course, is if the business owner is lucky. If he isn’t lucky, the truck won’t back up far enough, and when it raises the dumpster, it will tear the roof all to pieces, spreading debris and rusty nails and splinters all over the parking lot, where some customer will step on a nail or puncture a tire. And if he is really unlucky, in the process of destroying the roof, it will somehow snag the dumpster, and throw it to the ground, upside down, scattering all of the garbage through the parking lot.

In construction, you try to idiot-proof as much as you can. Unfortunately, you cannot idiot-proof government.
Cross posted on Truth Before Dishonor.


  1. Whilst out on the loader, I realized what the obvious solution to the dumpster problem is. Patterico’s friend will simply have to install a tracked system, which opens the doors and slides the dumpster completely out of the protective enclosure, so that the truck will not have to burn additional fuel maneuvering the container, and so that there will be no chance of the dumpster tearing down the roof.

    Of course, the rails will have to be set into the concrete, with only small grooves open, to prevent construction of a trip hazard. In fact, it may be necessary to have automatic steel covering plates, which retract only when the electric slide is in use.

  2. You have it all wrong, Editor. You don’t need the chain-link conveyor system, replete with covered tracks, for that dumpster. That would be a hazard. “Slips, trips, falls” lawyers, aka ambulance chasers, could make a killing (or is that too uncivil?) off of that businessman, especially in The Democratic People’s Republic of Kalifornia. I have a solution, for which we already have the technology, and which would not leave the professional victims vulnerable to “accidentally” get hurt.

    First, we can have a few options for a retractable roof.

    • Have the roof made of canvas, or vinyl, or fake wood slats (don’t want to murder a Sequoia (nevermind we’re using petroleum products)) and just roll it up out of the way.
    • Have the roof pivot up, then slide down on the inside of the back of the dumpster house (can’t have it slide down the outside because a poor, deserving chronic might be sleeping there).
    • Have the roof pivot from the center, using a three-point bracing system, where the outside edges of the roof are connected to a central point in the ground, again pivoting into the trash house. This will require extra-thick rubber roof-extensions (along the lines of hair extensions some women get) which will extend beyond the walls of the stink house when the roof is fully functioning as a covering.

    Next, we have an infrared sensor, which will be used in concert with a high-tech device that determines the mass of individual objects, to determine whether there is any object weighing more than 40 pounds with a radiant heat output of 98 to 100 degrees. This sensor will prevent the dumpster from moving in the unlikely event a human has made his or her way past all the security measures (and since even ethicists are busily explaining why infanticide is acceptable (along with Barack Obama), those masses with human DNA weighing less than 40 pounds don’t have to be deemed human or viable (you pick)).

    Next, we have telescopic arms attached, via large, pin bearing-laden bushings, to the top of the dumpster, which will raise the dumpster to heights greater than the truck. Those telescopic arms will be attached at the ground-end to large pivot points, causing the dumpster to be swung over the truck, while maintaining its upright state.

    Once the dumpster is properly over the truck, the clutches on the bushings release, allowing a synchronized motors to turn the dumpster at those bushings, thereby emptying their contents. Re-engaging those clutches will allow the dumpster to swing back to its upright position, and the reverse process will commence to put the dumpster back into its stink home and put the roof back over-head.

    These procedures will prevent nearly all the ambulance-chasing lawsuits, and will make it safe for all human DNA worthy of protecting.

  3. Pingback: Unfortunately, you cannot idiot-proof government. « Truth Before Dishonor

  4. I explained on CSPT a while back why I sold my shoping center development in Swuanee, GA an Atlanta suburb. I couldn’t get past all the red tape and constantly changing government regulations. Just when you think you’re okay with the county, the state steps in. Just when you’re okay with the state the feds add their two cents. And of course the moment you comply with the feds, the state tells you you can’t do what the feds want because it conflicts with state law.

    You know, what made America great were those dreamers who saw a piece of land, and empty lot or an abandoned building and thought to themselves: I can make something out of that. Those crazy inventors who thought they could invent a small wireless hand held phone or a piece of electronics with a screen that you could read a book off of. Those wildcaters who figured if they drill here they may strike it rich. Or those crazy investors who took their own money and backed a guy like Popiel. Well, we are regulating them all to hell and when the last dreamer dies, the liberals can turn off Americas lights. All because they’re more interested in “what’s fair” than what’s possible, equality than freedom and giving hand outs rather than hand ups. What a waste.

  5. That’s just it, Hoagie: the government needs to get out of the way, to do the minimum necessary, not the maximum possible. Patterico wrote, in part I didn’t quote:

    This is just one of many roadblocks that our system is throwing in my reader’s path. He is trying to contribute to the economy and put people to work. And government seems hellbent on trying to stop him.

    We see so many government officials trying to claim that they “created jobs,” but, of course, government doesn’t create jobs. In the case listed above, government is doing it’s damnedest to get in the way of jobs being created.

  6. It all depends on how much regulation is too much or too little.

    Down here in southern DE we have new businesses opening all the time, a very dynamic situation. Moreover, our property taxes are very reasonable, lower than any other state in which I’ve lived (PA, NJ, NY, and VA). Put that together with zero state sales tax and a coastal location with a mild climate, and we have a pretty good environment for small businesses here.

  7. Pingback: Governor Moonbeam strikes again « THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL.

Comments are closed.