Porterville, CA — The state knows no empathy, logic, or reason and will enforce its most asinine decrees—even if it means targeting an innocent five-year-old girl's lemonade stand. Without resistance, this encroachment upon our everyday activities is as inevitable as the tide.
In Porterville, California, a family is learning this harsh reality of the state after they were issued a citation from city hall for $59—the local fee for applying for a new license—plus a fine.
Autumn Thomasson proudly set up the stand outside her family's home last June as a means of raising money to buy a bicycle. She sold lemonade, candy, and snacks and raised a whopping $82—enough to buy herself a new bike.
Her family took to Facebook to celebrate the young entrepreneur's hard work.
“It meant so much to know she earned her own money, that Mom and Dad didn't need to go buy her. She got to bring her own wallet and buy it herself and pay at the cash register," DeHaas told Fox26.
However, her entrepreneurial spirit was crushed this week after her mother received the threatening note of extortion in the mail.
"What kind of world do we live in where kids can't do lemonade stand or any kind of stands for that matter without getting in trouble?!" Gabby Dehaas wrote of her daughter's extortion over lemonade. "How are we suppose [sic] to show our kids to work hard for what they want and to expand their ideas/entrepreneurship if they need a license for every little thing! I just got fined for my daughter have a 3 hour lemonade a couple months ago, so she could know how to earn enough money, to know a value of a dollar!
I'm not mad about the money for the fine I'm mad about the pettiness of the reasoning. These things are just straight wrong!"
The citation included a print out of Dehaas' Facebook post advertising her daughter's stand.
"I was thrown back by that. I didn't appreciate a screenshot of my daughter sent back to me," DeHaas said.
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After Dehaas' post began to pick up steam, however, authorities quickly back-peddled once their ridiculous extortion scheme was exposed.
Porterville City Manager John Lollis told Fox26 the letter was sent in response to a complaint filed with the city. He is now apologizing.
“There's no excuse why it should have been sent,” he said. "We want our youth to be engaged and looking at business opportunities.”
DeHaas told Fox 26 that her daughter learned a valuable lesson about this entire debacle. "There's always gonna be bitter people or bad people," she said. "But there's always gonna be good outweighing everybody."
Despite claiming that this letter "should not have been sent," the reality of the matter is that municipalities across the United States carry out similar rackets on a daily basis—especially in California.
As TFTP previously reported, Orange County authorities shut down Annabelle Lockwood’s “small business” and gave her 30 days to get the proper permit and license.
The permit was said to cost around $200, but in order to secure the permit Annabelle was told she'd need to meet a bevy of government requirements – costing $3,500 – just to serve fresh-squeezed fruit juices to thirsty passersby.
Bearing down on the age-old tradition of youngsters setting up lemonade stands demonstrates how obsessed the State has become in “regulating” small business.
It appears that Annabelle made it through the gauntlet, with the help of many who donated to her GoFundMe account after reading her story and Thomasson received an apology. Others, however, are not so fortunate.
In Portland, Ore. an 11-year-old girl wanted to sell mistletoe from their farm at a holiday market to help her dad pay for her braces, which cost $5,000. But the Parks Bureau refused to let her set up without a permit, lease or concession agreement. She was told she could beg instead.