Uploaded by H. Peter Metzger
                     (Freeman 80303METZ)

     What do you do when you need a small electrical repair done?   
     That's easy. Call a reputable electrical contractor and pay him 
to do the job. 
     But it's not so simple in The People's Republic of Boulder, Colo-
     I needed a 30 dollar electrical job done the other day so I 
called the  licensed electrician whom I had used for such things for 
more than 20  years. He came over and estimated the job but then, 
embarrassed and  reluctant to say so, explained that he was obliged to 
add a $40 sur-  charge to my bill "for City inspection", a charge 
which turned out to  be more than the cost of the work itself. 
     The City, it seems, has been sending out regulation enforcers 
which  cruise Boulder in cars. "Whenever they spot one of our trucks" 
he said, "they come onto the job and ask for our permit. Now that's OK 
on a big  job. But naturally, we've always done the small jobs without 
bothering  to get permits, and now the City says that we could lose 
our license to do business unless we have a permit even on the smal-
lest jobs".   
     I badly needed the work done, and soon too, so I agreed to pay 
the  City's 40 dollars, even though more than half of my final bill 
would go directly to the City. I even accepted the fact that I'd be 
charged  sales tax too, the first time I'd be paying taxes on my 
taxes. But so  what, I figured, I needed the work done right away. 
     Now because the electrician was an old friend, he then said, 
"I have to warn you. Once the City inspectors come to someone's home, 
they look  around at other unrelated wiring. Naturally, they often 
find something  wrong, no doubt to justify their jobs, and it could 
end up costing you  a lot more". He then told me a few horror stories 
to illustrate the  point. 
     Well, that did it. I said to my electrician friend that I 
couldn't  stomach that last part at all and would, reluctantly, find  
some  "gypsy" electrician who would do the job without a permit. I 
commented that this new City policy must be costing his company a lot 
of business. "It sure is," he said, "but we're a big outfit and can  
absorb it. But the little contractors and the one-man companies ...  
it's forcing them all to become illegals." 
     And me too, as I'm now forced to look "outside the Law" to buy an  
honest hour's work. 

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