Two Quick News-Takes

Hi again, Catallarchy audience! I apologize for my long absence-- a very stressful + long cross-country move followed by a very busy first week of work left me w/o much mental energy to blog until now.

Anyway, this weekend's SF Examiner contained a couple of items of interest.

First, this local item details a "Lost Liberty Hotel"--style revenge action; sadly, this one is not just a publicity stunt.

"Mehran Esmaili, the owner of Shoe Biz at 1420 Haight St., claims John Brennan, owner of the would-be Urban Outfitters building, is waging a war of revenge by filing Planning Department complaints against his shoe store. Esmaili, who collected signatures in opposition to Urban Outfitters, says the "campaign" is "an attempt of one citizen to chill the First Amendment rights of another...

The Brennans... are going after Shoe Biz for building an illegal 70-square-foot elevator mechanics room on the building's rear roof. While the structure is not visible from the street and is several blocks away from Brennan's property, the Brennans have fought it with zeal, writing a dozen letters on the matter to planning commissioners and staffers, according to records...

Attorney Mark Brennan said his family was simply holding Shoe Biz to the same standards applied to Urban Outfitters.

'The idea that we are retaliating and quashing their First Amendment rights is a smokescreen,' he said. "We were held up to the proper standards and it didn't go our way. Now after he snuck in and built without permits, we are holding him to the proper standards.'"

Question for discussion: is this in any substantial way morally different from what the Lost Liberty Hotel folks are proposing to do?

On another, cheerier, note, the Examiner also reports (can't find the link, sorry) that CNOOC is sweetening its bid for Unocal in part by agreeing to pay Unocal shareholders $2.5 billion if it fails to complete the acquisition. This sounds a lot like Alex Tabarrok's dominant assurance contract idea: you've got to get a bunch of folks to cooperate to accomplish what you want, so you offer to pay a "failure bonus" if not enough cooperation happens, thereby making it in each individual's interest to cooperate whether or not others do.

The differences are that, first, CNOOC only needs 51 percent of the shareholders to cooperate in order to complete its acquisition, and second, as far as I can tell from the article, shareholders get paid the failure bonus whether or not they individually agree to sell their shares to Unocal if the deal goes through. But still, if even a bunch of Commies think this sort of private solution to a coordination problem is worth trying, that's a pretty good point in its favor.

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Hi again, Catallarchy

Hi again, Catallarchy audience!

Hi, Dr. Nick Riviera, er, Weininger. ;)

[/simpsons]

I am in favor of more

I am in favor of more statism, more guns being pointed and shot at peaceful people who have not violated the rights of others, more innocents being imprisoned. The more the better. Hell, I'll be first in line. The collectivists want a world of all theft and no property? Let it come to pass. Let the world see exactly what that will entail.

One 420 Haight? He could

One 420 Haight? He could rent out mailboxes. Couldn't think of a shew business joke. I'm thinking urban outfitters has deeper pockets than show guy, and that California would be very receptive to tortious interference with business kinds of claims. Seems like mutual assured destruction.
I express no moral judgments about who started what.