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A “victory” for National City small-businesses

Created: 19 February, 2010
Updated: 13 September, 2023
3 min read

Herman Baca, stands tall for the small businessman.

A local community activist and small-business owner in National City is calling the refund of illegal fees charged by the city for business permits “a victory for struggling business in the city.”

Herman Baca, president of the Committee on Chicano Rights and owner of Aztec Printing, said that “the NC Council was forced to vote to return the illegal collected monies because of the community’s political and legal actions.”

Baca continued that even though the amount might be small the fact is “it represents a victory for over 3,000 businesses in NC who are struggling to survive in this dire economic times.”

City Attorney George Eiser, in a report dated January 21, 2010, recommended the National City, City Council to approve the refund proposal, citing Weisblat v. City of San Diego, in which “the Fourth District Court of Appeal invalidated administrative fees charged by the City of San Diego to offset the City’s costs in collecting business license taxes. The court found that while a city could impose fees to offset the costs of providing services, the services provided must be “regulatory” in nature, that is, they must be charged in connection with regulatory activities (such as conducting health and safety inspections).”

But the city took several months to refund the funds since it adopted a resolution on October 20, 2009, to get rid of the business license administrative application fee of $21.50 and the business license administrative fee of $10.50.

“The bottom line,” added Baca, “Mayor Morrison and the City Council were forced (after 6 months) to return the illegal collected fees to over 3000 businesses because of the political actions taken by the community; and legal victory by Attorney Edward Teyssier in San Diego (Weisblat vs. San Diego), and the class action claim (Aztec Printing Co. vs. National City) filed against NC.”

Baca said the refund represents the self-determination that local businesses need.

“For community this is a victory because, as I stated, this affects predominantly Mexican and Filipino small businesses,” he said. “Those are the businesses that are struggling to survive in these tough economic times. As I said, it’s not the amount of the fee, it’s the principle. They keep taxing the poorest residents of the poorest city in San Diego County.”

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In closing the CCR president concluded, “the only issues remaining concerning the reimbursement of the illegal collected fee issue are; the additional costs taxpayers will have to pay because of Mayor Morrison’s and City Council’s delaying actions; and who at city hall will be held politically liable?”

Baca encouraged all small-business owners and residents of National City to get organized and stop the atrocities that the city council is committing against them.

“People have got to get involved, informed,” he said. “They have to organize themselves to protect their own interests, to change the existing structure. It is rather incomprehensible that only a handful of people are saying something about these issues.”

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