Drive-bys blast “attack on free-market”!


Yeah.  I thought my eyes were deceiving me, too:

In the arm-wrestling match between the Invisible Hand of Capitalism and the Heavy Hand of Pinehurst, the People’s Republic of Pinehurst is winning.

After hearing the Village Council’s latest run-through of its proposed ordinance to ban short-term rentals from most single-family neighborhoods, it is more evident than ever that Pinehurst is where conservatives retire to become liberal big-government throttlers of free enterprise. […]

Yes, this IS our local paper owned by the folks who ran the horrid N&O for aeons.  I swear I did not hijack – or hack into – the op-ed page.  The fact that THIS site, and the leftist local paper, see the same issue the same way should be plenty of indication of just how wrong The Pinehurst Politburo is re: their latest quixotic misadventure.


[…] The way it’s looking now, the Village Council will likely vote 3-2 sometime this fall for an ordinance that would restrict short-term rentals to three zones: multi-family, commercial and multi-use. Rentals anywhere else would be banned and their owners given three years either to sell the properties or return them to long-term residential use.  […]

In other words, this is the nightmare you get stuck with when you either (a) don’t vote, or (b) vote for people because they throw good cocktail parties.


[…] Inconvenient Truths

Not since the council spent months fretting and overanalyzing its deer population “problem” a few years ago has a single issue been so obsessed over as short-term rentals. […]

Strickland spearheaded that nonsense over the deer when he was just a councilman.  A few old ladies came forward to complain about deer eating their flowers.  Strickland decided hunting needed to be legalized WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS.

In Pinehurst, we have more than a few golfers wandering through the woods looking for their wayward balls.  We also have a lot of people walking their dogs on our bountiful supply of wooded trails in town.  I don’t believe either of those parties wanted to have bullet-dodging added to their list of daily activities.

Thank goodness the idea was mercifully and quickly killed off.


[…] Several village homeowners have brought concerns to the council for months about noise, parking, sanitation and perceived safety problems with rentals.[…]

Those “homeowners” all belong to a shadowy organization called The Friday Group, which seems to have an inordinate, oversized level of influence on village government.  Strickland and Pizzella know those folks well.  Ask them about the group the next time you see them.


[…] Neither village police nor code enforcement, however, has ever had data to back this up as anything more than anecdotal and sporadic.

Seeking to get its arms around the issue and get data to support action, the village authorized a quality-of-life survey of 401 residents a few months ago.

The survey drilled down on short-term rentals. It asked homeowners to quantify the number of such properties near them and rate their quality of life on issues such as noise, improperly placed trash cans, parking, observed drug use, trespassing and prostitution. Yes, really.

In short, the survey found that approximately two-thirds of residents near short-term rentals still rated their quality of life as excellent or good.

“You have a valid survey here not supporting” problems, said Council member Jeff Morgan. He, along with Council member Lydia Boesch, support using existing regulations to address concerns.

So what happens when the data don’t support the conclusion? For crackdown kommissars Jane Hogeman, Patrick Pizzella and Mayor John Strickland, you go another way.

Assuming this vote goes as it’s looking — and it’s looking pretty locked in at this point — short-term rental owners will jockey to be the lead litigant against the village for violating their constitutional property rights.

The village is headed for an expensive, protracted, multi-year court fight. And that’s assuming there won’t be more damage.[…]

Huzzah.  Bravo. Amen.


[…] In Their Own Words

Strickland, who had a career in finance and free markets, gave his regulation rationale as this: “Short-term rentals are being created at the cost of the benefit of people who want to own homes and, to be more specific, the issue is we have investors coming in to Pinehurst … who are buying up a lot of homes, paying over market, paying cash, paying anything to secure these properties and then flipping them into rental properties. […] 

Strickland worked at a bank.  Janitors and tellers also work at banks.  I can recall one occasion where  a teller at a major bank failed to properly cash my check three consecutive times.  While I sat stunned in the drive-thru, she kept handing me back an amount different from what was on the check.  On one of the occasions, she gave me nearly TWICE what the check said. I had to go park and step inside the branch to see the manager, who finally got me the correct amount of cash. 


[…] “The public who wants to own a home is being priced out of the market because so many of these properties are being taken away…

“The issue of taking properties off the market, driving prices up, taking equity opportunities away from those who legitimately want to work and live in an area, is an important aspect to my decision of how I’d like to proceed.”

In other words: Market forces be damned, government is stepping in.

And here’s Pizzella, who briefly was U.S. Secretary of Labor during the Trump administration: “If we’re wrong, as a council, we can correct that immediately … However, if the people who want to let the status quo go on … in two or three years, it’s out of control. It’ll have metastasized beyond belief. We will be hanging out a sign at the entrance of Pinehurst, “Open for business, STR investors!”

Yes, Pizzella compared investment in Pinehurst to cancer.

Capitalism has capitulated in the People’s Republic of Pinehurst. Don’t turn around, uh oh. The kommissar’s in town.

I like it.  More, please.