Letter Re: Doing Business in Urban California

Mr. Rawles:
Your book has been highly recommended to me by an acquaintance in another state. He asked if I’d read your book because you and I seem to have the same opinions on being in a large city (like Oakland, California where I live) when any kind of disaster strikes.
These people rioted when The Raiders
[JWR adds: For the benefit of our overseas readers, The Oakland Raiders are the local professional football team] made it to the super bowl and rioted again when they lost.
A good friend of mine lost his thriving auto body business because his insurance would not cover the damages to his business (civil disobedience = no coverage) His equipment was either stolen or destroyed and was sued by several insurance companies for damages and theft of customer cars. He even lost his house. No one had informed him of the [State of California] Homestead clause that would protect a family dwelling in such cases. Can’t do it after the fact. Now he drives a taxi and lives (barely) off cash tips. He had to close his bank account. Wages garnished. You name it.
Until recently, I too was the owner of a successful auto repair shop. I had to close the doors last year because I was being taxed and fee-ed out of business. Though I was grossing nearly six times what I was in 1989, by October 2004, I had slipped hopelessly into debt, so I called it quits. Zoning and various other government restrictions had escalated the rental value of prime auto repair property. My rent was locked by a 10 year lease but, because of the P&L and the high rent the landlord was demanding, no one could negotiate a low enough rent to make a purchase worthwhile. A large specialty chain wanted my location badly. They gave me a lowball offer that was downright insulting. Their “rep” bluntly told me to take the offer because they knew I couldn’t sell the business because of the rent and they could just wait me out. I instead sold all the equipment and got a little more than what they offered. It was not enough to pay my debt but at least I didn’t wait to the point of even having to leave my equipment behind for them. They got my place but they didn’t get my stuff. Small victory, but a victory nonetheless. Now I drive a truck and struggle to pay off my debt and feed my family. My credit is shot and it’s gonna take a long time to get back on my feet.
Anyway, I’d really like to read your book but it’s out of print and used copies are going on eBay for triple digit figures. I just can’t do that. Do you have any copies you can sell or know of any sources that still have affordable copies? The acquaintance who recommended it loaned it out and never saw it again so…It’s probably on eBay now! LOL!|
Thanks, – Joe

JWR Replies:  Your letter is more evidence that my description of California (see my Retreat Locales page) was correct. I lost patience with that Mickey Mouse state many years ago. Just the gun laws alone are enough to drive anyone rational away. Methinks it is best to “vote with your feet.” OBTW, the opening scenes of my screenplay (Pulling Through) take place in Oakland. The screenplay is available for free download. I’m praying that some Hollywood or Indy producer has the guts to make a politically incorrect action-adventure movie.

You are correct that my novel Patriots is no longer in print, but there are still a few dealers that still have case quantities. One good source is Fred’s M14 Stocks. As of this writing, Fred is currently offering a great three book package deal: one copy of my novel Patriots + one copy of Matthew Bracken‘s novel Enemies Foreign and Domestic + one copy of Boston’s Gun Bible, all for $50.