PIECEMAKERS FIGHT FOR SMALL BUSINESS FREEDOMby Don Hull
Marie Kolasinski loves the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Bible. And she can quote them all at the drop of a stitch. Perhaps that's why she's not crushed into subservience by regulatory code enforcers, even in the face of "official' violence like the District Attorney' stormtroopers' stampede into her tea room last week.
On Oct. 26, about 25 legally armed thugs - some in bullet-proof vests - from the Orange County DA's office and Costa Mesa Police Department, wheeled up in several unmarked SUVs, stormed into her crafts store - pushing, shoving and shouting to the quilting ladies, even frisking some of them while pepper-spraying a carpenter.
Altogether, seven Piecemakers people, most of them over 50, were roughed up, handcuffed and hauled off to jail where they sat for four hours until they made bail. Marie's injuries were the worst, perhaps because she's the smallest, (4'11") and oldest (84 and still working full-time).
Marie's crimes? She refuses to buy goverment permits or remodel her store to satisfy arbitrary rules of the central planners.
"I can't afford to meet their codes and stay in business. No customer has complained. Only the government complains, because we don't bow down to them. This raid was an attempt to force us to knuckle under to their petty rules and 'send a message' to other small businesses."
Even after the trampling of her civil rights, her property rights, her Fourth Amendment rights, and the failure of the arresting officers to read her her Miranda rights, Marie still believes in a Constitutional America.
"It is up to us, The People, to see that our servant government obeys the Constitution," she says. "Codes and regulations are not 'laws', but the wills of tyrants. They protect the regulators, not The People."
"Regulations are killing us," she says sadly. "Taxes and regulations have driven most of my American suppliers out of business so I have to buy many of my crafts supplies from overseas."
The Piecemakers store, established in 1978 to serve the interests of quilting ladies, has grown into a seven-figure business with customers all over the world. Their crafts fairs are widely known, giving craftsmakers around the country, mostly retirees supplementing their Social Security, a wider marketplace. They even sponsor a Country Band of employees who perform at Friday's lunch hour. It's down-home, small-town America alive and well here in urban Costa Mesa in 2005.
Her store supports 30 people and numerous outside contractors. She recognizes the irony of how her own taxes finance her oppressors and how being charged with "assault" by the invader himself is turning logic on its head.
"Home-grown terrorists," she calls them.
One Piecemaker lady told a Costa Mesa Police Department officer, "Tell your wife what you did today, she will never sleep with you again."
Marie recalled a quote from Thomas Jefferson, "I tremble for my country when I realize that God is just." And from the Declaration of Independence, "He hath sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance."
Marie says that small business today is being bludgeoned by "swarms of officers" that threaten to turn America into a police state. "Raids like this cannot go on."
Citizens who believe in the right of small business to serve customers before the government, can support the Piecemakers by shopping there; by complaining to our local officials about thuggish code-enforcer behavior, and by standing up at their court appearance Nov 28.
- Don Hull