Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Simple Life

I was asking the mayor of the small town where I was staying in Oklahoma about planning permits. Specifically I said, to build on a piece of land outside city limits. 'Well, there are three types of building; housing, commercial and industrial. For housing, building a place on your own land, there are no requirements at all'. You just build... whatever you like. No one comes from Washington with papers and judges and bulldozers, no one from Oklahoma City tries to interfere in local planning.
Public official are there - and this is a novel idea - to help rather than to obfuscate as they must in Spain.
The town where I was staying - I'd been to visit two of my kids over Thanksgiving - is growing. There is no limit imposed by the regional or state capital about growth. It's simply supply and demand.
The mayor works for the interest of his community. He is helped by an official called a Town Administrator, a professional who knows the rules and regs. Such as they are.
Paperwork is minimal in Oklahoma. Your 'title' to your car, for example, you can keep in the glove-box, or at home. You can sell your car, transfer title, just by giving the buyer the paper, a bit like how in works in a game of Monopoly. You then go to the local registry (there's one in every town, not like booking a visit with Tráfico and then trailing into the City for an entire morning). Simple. The transfer fee is 25 dollars. For that matter, a driving licence, obtainable in a morning from scratch, is 25 dollars!
Sales tax is low at 9% in that town, as compared with the flat 21% enjoyed across Spain.
Parking is easy in Oklahoma. There's room because there's planning. Planning because it makes sense to have parking spaces for clients or visitors. It's a practical society.
Walking around the town, I saw signs in many shop windows looking for staff. 'If you don't have a job here', I was told, 'it's because you don't want one'.
Yes, there's more room than we have here in Almería; but looking out of the window of the airplane as I flew in to our airport, I saw a lot of empty space... We have an unemployment of 36%, a black economy of 31% and a kleptocracy for a government. If it wasn't for the guns, I'd prefer Oklahoma...

1 comment:

Blaise Alejo said...

Why don't you go and live in Oklahoma then ?
Why did you come to Spain in the first place if it is so awful living here ?