Most Read
Image 01 Image 02 Image 03

Will San Francisco ban delivery robots?

Will San Francisco ban delivery robots?

Law in response to the $15/hour minimum wage law, which is working out as just as expected!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Le46ERPMlWU

California’s Bay Area is is a technological capital of this country, where thousands of highly trained computer and engineering professions strive to created the latest digital and mechanized wonders.

In a move so rich with irony that the Russians are looking for mining rights, San Francisco politicians are mulling a ban on one of the most recent creations: Delivery robots.

A hi-tech start-up aiming to bust congestion and reduce pollution with wheeled delivery robots is facing a backlash from the very city it is aiming to help.

Order a delivery meal from a local restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission and Potrero Hills neighbourhoods using Yelp Eat24 and it might arrive at your door in a suitcase-sized wheeled robot.

The tech company Marble’s bots use lidar, camera and ultrasonic sensors to avoid pedestrians and navigate pavements, delivering small packages and takeaway food within a mile or two, at walking pace.

But if one San Francisco official has his way, every pizza the Marble robot delivers could come with a $1,000 fine and a jail sentence for its human controllers.

San Francisco supervisor Norman Yee recently proposed legislation that would prohibit autonomous delivery robots – which includes those with a remote human operator – on public streets in the city. He told technology news site Recode, “our streets and our sidewalks are made for people, not robots.” He also worries that many delivery jobs would disappear.

Yee’s motives sound so noble…until you consider the origin of this legislation. Legal Insurrection readers recall that Sacramento just mandated a $15/hour minimum wage throughout the state. One of the consequences is that that many restaurants are now having customers pay a “dining surcharge“.

The new eating “tax” isn’t the only aftereffect of this legislative inanity that Californians are now enduring, either. The robots that the tech companies are building are small businesses’ response to the wage hikes.

A new resource details just how badly small businesses (which make up the majority of American eateries) are struggling with the politicized wage levels. The Employment Policies Institute (EPI), a nonprofit which recently launched “Faces of $15,” chronicles the stories of small business owners throughout the United States who are struggling to keep up with all the minimum wage increases.

…The website contains 100 stories of small businesses that have been affected by the increased costs. “The real Faces of $15 are the business owners who’ve been forced to close their doors, and the employees who’ve lost their jobs,” says Michael Saltsman, managing director at EPI, “Policymakers shouldn’t be fooled by labor’s rose-colored rhetoric on a new wage mandate.”

…The EPI argues that while it might be easy for corporations to adopt the $15 minimum wage, it’s much more challenging for small businesses which form the backbone of the US economy.

In fact, a quick glimpse at “Faces of $15” reveals one of the San Francisco area victims:

http://www.facesof15.com/business/roosevelt-tamale-parlor/

So, a whole business worth of workers went from earning something to being unemployed. A sad end to what must have been a shop that produced tasty tamales for nine decades.

However, the Los Angeles Times would have you believe that only “businesses that stink” are succumbing under the new law. The “newspaper” featured an analysis by the husband-and-wife team of Michael Luca of Harvard Business School and Dara Lee Luca of Mathematica Policy Research that examines the closure rates of restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area from 2008 through 2016.

The data, they say, “suggest that a one dollar increase in the minimum wage leads to a 14% increase in the likelihood of exit for a 3.5-star restaurant…but has no discernible impact for a 5-star restaurant.” Lower-quality restaurants, which are “closer to the margin of exit, are disproportionately impacted” by the higher minimum wage. To put it another way, the higher minimum wage does drive restaurants out of business— but chiefly restaurants that weren’t very good to begin with.

So, two elite academics take a look at the results of a law passed by elite politicians and their work is essentially promoted by an elite news outlet to persuade the public that the businesses killed off by the mandate deserved it.

I wonder what excuse the Los Angeles Times will given in the end, as both its readership and revenues are plummeting?

Meanwhile, California’s politicians will continue to crank out new laws to fix the problems created form the old ones.

DONATE

Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.

Comments

“… Sacramento just mandated a $15/hour minimum wage throughout the state. One of the consequences is that that many restaurants are now having customers pay a “dining surcharge“.”

It is now being widely reported that dining out is taking a big dip across the country, especially people going out to lunch at work. The cost of going out to lunch was already too high before the minimum wage hike. And there is the ever-present health risk of illegals’ reintroducing TB into the country. I can cite several restaurants in Pasadena that were shut down temporarily for TB.

The minimum wage hike is proving to be too much. Now I’m waiting for people to wake up to how much it costs to make a couple of runs a day to Starbucks. Ten dollars a day for work alone amounts to $50 a week, That’s $2,600 a year just for coffee! I buy 3 lb bags of beans for $12-15 and that lasts me over 3 months at home!

Welcome to the government generated wage-price spiral. It will not end well.

San Francisco’s knee-jerk reaction to using robotic technology to deliver food/things is to look at forcing[*] employers to use people to make those deliveries anyway. And it does that by taking away choice, here, by banning the new technology.

Now this Luddite thinking can be taken to all kinds of extremes which, given the loons running that place, might actually happen.

For example, haven’t computers put a lot of secretaries (or, to use the au courant PC term, personal assistants) out of clerical work? What about trucks generally. Goods at one time were delivered using teams of horses (controlled by “teamsters”) pulling wagons and drays. Self-serve gas stations put a lot of energetic teenagers out of work.

Oodles upon oodles of other examples where new methods have made life easier/better could be given.

Com’n, SF, you can do it. Take us back to great days of yesteryear where horse dung filled the streets. And gave lots of jobs for street sweepers with hand brooms!

[*] There’s that word again. “Force.” Force under-girds everything about the PC/liberal culture.

A sad end to what must have been a shop that produced tasty tamales for nine decades.

C’mon, Leslie, you need to get in touch with your SJW side.

“Roosevelt Tamale Parlor? Clearly a case of cultural appropriation. They deserved to be shut down!

Wrathchilde | June 4, 2017 at 10:05 am

Off the cuff thought experiment:

Assuming I’m delivering your Pizza under the $15/hr wage…

It takes me 12 minutes to make the delivery and return to my shop. 20% of $15 is $3, but there’s 7 others working in the shop – 8x$3 = $24.

It also takes 12min to make the pie ($24).

Ingredients plus profit margin for the shop – say $20 for a large pie.

Your 1 large pizza delivered = $68 plus tip.

You want a coke with that? Heh. $10.

How many times do you now order out each month?

    Tom Servo in reply to Wrathchilde. | June 4, 2017 at 10:31 am

    With respect to your post, some groups have come up with very clever ways for getting around the minimum wage laws, and you have seen them, although you probably didn’t recognize them.

    In most urban areas, you have probably noticed the great rise in asian-owned small businesses in any variety of fields – a restaurant is one of the easy and quickest to get into. (and asian can mean vietnamese, philipino, taiwanese, Korean, etc, etc) Their business model is almost always that of a family owned business, with everyone having a part share and no one actually collecting a paycheck, just paid out of family funds as they need. (yes, this is legal)) The trick is that they get all of their young help from the mother country, bringing them in on a job visa (arranged by the family) and then letting them have room and board in exchange for working 12 – 14 hours a day for little actual compensation. Most of them won’t speak much english and will just do the menial work, and they know they dare not complain or else their job visa will be yanked and they’ll be kicked out of the country overnight.

    And that’s how almost every asian owned business you frequent can semi-legally stock itself with employees earning the equivalent of about $3.00 per hour.

    That’s also why every asian owned business you frequent can easily out-compete any business that tries to do things the way that employment law actually envisions things being done.

      Wrathchilde in reply to Tom Servo. | June 4, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      Indians (Hindi) often work on the same model.

      I once worked for a business that was bought by Indians, and soon after we found that they brought in a whole new workforce. They lived in apartments that the owners rented, carpooled to work…

      Many were older (60+) and worked 50-60 hour weeks. Few spoke any real amounts of english, and often we had to have 2 people translate to them – Hindi to Urdu, Urdu to Pashtun.

      These folks couldn’t do the skilled work, supervision, repair, quality…But they sure would put in the hours on manual labor.

      Very reminiscent of the old Coaltowns with the company store.

        murkyv in reply to Wrathchilde. | June 4, 2017 at 9:17 pm

        That’s happening in my neck of the midwest cornfields.

        The local convenience store( only business in town) sold to Indians. Wasn’t for sale, but they asked owner to name a price, he set it ridiculously high, and they said OK on the spot.

        They have bought up several of those types of businesses around here, and never hire any local kids, like the other owners used to do. The help is, more often than not, unable to speak much English. The one that manages the one near me must have been educated here or has been here a long time. Perfect English, but speaks only their native tongue with the help.

        My works keeps me moving around in a 50 mile or so radius, and I see the same workers working in the different stores.

        I just assumed they were doing what you said about the Asians, since they often work 12 hour shifts, and don’t appear to have much of their own assets. Only one has a nice car, and he is one you never see behind the counter

“The data, they say, “suggest that a one dollar increase in the minimum wage leads to a 14% increase in the likelihood of exit for a 3.5-star restaurant…but has no discernible impact for a 5-star restaurant.” Lower-quality restaurants, which are “closer to the margin of exit, are disproportionately impacted” by the higher minimum wage. To put it another way, the higher minimum wage does drive restaurants out of business— but chiefly restaurants that weren’t very good to begin with.”

So once again, the elites, in this case elite restaurants, will not be affected, but struggling new businesses and ones that predominantly serve the “less elite” will go out of business. With the jobs they produce.

Don’t you just love academics? And being one, I am thoroughly disgusted with these…

    One thing I miss from when lived in Boston is the great number of great “hole in the wall” restaurants. It is (was?) one of the great sports out there to try out these new restaurants while they were still small and inexpensive. Many were run by certified chefs straight of culinary academy working on developing their concepts.

    Word of mouth was very powerful in getting these restaurants going. Low cost is what created the opportunity in the first place. The idea that these would now be dismissed as “not very good” and deserving to die is a tragedy.

    Despite having two highly-recognized culinary academies in Pasadena (one shut down last year), we don’t see these “hole in the wall” cafes and restaurants. You have to go big and succeed from day one. Failure rate is very, very high. Unless you are a national or major local chain or backed by venture capital, don’t bother even trying.

    Barry in reply to Dimsdale. | June 4, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    It’s why big business of any kind favors regulations. It cuts the competition.

    I can design and build electrical control panels for industry without a damn license from the state. But if I wish to cut hair I’ll need to be licensed…

      nordic_prince in reply to Barry. | June 5, 2017 at 12:35 am

      Exactly. It also highlights one of the many hypocrisies the Dems engage in: they claim to champion the cause of “the little guy,” yet they push rules, regulations, ordinances, licensing, etc. – all of which play into the hands of “big” whatever and drive the little guy out of business.

      Rather than hang all the lawyers, let’s go after these bureaucrats. They’re worse than power-hungry lords over petty fiefdoms. Between them and the IRS, it’s a wonder that anyone can successfully navigate all the crap involved in owning one’s own business.

    openeyes in reply to Dimsdale. | June 4, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    As soon as I saw this I thought – doesn’t “disproportionate impact” sound familiar? Yes!

    So since liberals always claim that minorities are poorer (and thus eat at the lower-quality restaurants) – this law has a disproportionate impact on minorities and thus, according to liberal “logic” – is racist and illegal. Therefore a case should be made before the California Supreme Court to block implementation of the law.

    Any Californians who can take this on?

Only the 5-star tamale emporia can manage to stay in business?

Damn. I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore …

The nearest McDonalds to me did away with their value menu due to the increase in the minimum wage.

You can’t legislate prosperity. This isn’t a difficult concept to understand but apparently it is above the comprehension level of your basic prog politician.

“suggest that a one dollar increase in the minimum wage leads to a 14% increase in the likelihood of exit for a 3.5-star restaurant…but has no discernible impact for a 5-star restaurant.”

The reason is simple– 5-star restaurants already charge a lot more for their food than 3.5-star restaurants do! Any increase in prices due to a minimum wage increase at a 5-star will be much smaller in percentage terms than the same increase at a 3.5 star. High end diners won’t notice.

This has little to do with compassion, and all to do with creating a permanent underclass and buying their votes: 15 bucks and hour, food stamps and free (but crap) health care.

In any event, San Fran is used to using robots do work for them. Just look at crazy pelosi.

The study didn’t prove anything about restaurant quality. It merely demonstrated that unless you can open your doors as a 5-star restaurant, don’t bother opening your doors at all.

Font Resize
Contrast Mode
Send this to a friend