Fight Over Uber is Battle Over Innovation in Dallas

9/3/13Follow @amuse

I’ve lived in Dallas almost my entire adult life, but until this week I had never attended a city council meeting. The meeting started off with a bang as a woman dressed in traditional African costume (along with an accompanist on drums,) who serenaded Mayor Mike Rawlings just before she accused the sergeant-at-arms of “wanting” to rape her. Shortly after the entertainment concluded, the Mayor asked the members of the council if they had a motion on addendum 5, language that would have made it impossible for Uber to do business in Dallas.

#DallasNeedsUberThe motion was brought by Councilman Sheffie Kadane to move the matter to the transportation committee and then back to the full council for a briefing. Councilmen Philip Kingston proposed an alternative motion, that a full investigation of the entire matter, with subpoena power, be conducted. Some general arguing ensued and the mayor suggested they go into private session to come to an agreement. When they all returned, the original motion was approved by adopting the amendment saying that the mayor would be responsible for defining the investigation. Then the mayor thanked us for coming and continued with the rest of the agenda. No comments from the public were allowed. Almost the entire room stood to leave, causing quite a ruckus—so much so that the mayor had to ask us to leave quietly.

I was on the agenda to speak about the issue and, had I spoke, I was going to explain how I thought we could turn this unfortunate event into something positive for Dallas. Whenever government picks winners and losers in business, we all lose in the end. Regulations designed to favor one business over another are abhorrent. Regulations should be enacted to solve problems that exist and yet no one has ever given me a cogent argument as to what problem Uber causes the citizens of Dallas.

Now that the council has moved the matter to committee, it is the perfect time … Next Page »

Alexander Muse is a serial entrepreneur based in Dallas. His latest startup is The Haul Company. Follow @amuse

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