Monday, October 19, 2009

Holding a grudge.

I should be over it by now, but I'm not. I can accept that 201 CMR 17.00 has been reduced to a feeble checklist which only provides real security in the form of political cover for OCABR, the Office of Consumer Affairs Abandonment and Business Regulation. I cannot accept OCABR's behavior during the process, however. The hearings were scheduled for weekday mornings in an inconvenient location in downtown Boston, an arrangement guaranteed to skew attendance to those with a business need or justification. The location and timing of the events was very effective at keeping average citizens (aka victims) from attending or speaking. I have to hand it to AIM, they did an outstanding job of educating their members and rallying the troops- and their arguments carried the hearings. Of course, it is generally easier to win when you are largely unopposed.

The first hearing I attended was in a too-small room, many people were left standing, more couldn't get in and left, or left once the sweltering and stagnant air in the room became too much for them. The most recent hearing was in a slightly larger room, but still nowhere near adequate- it was completely predictable, unacceptable, and avoidable with reasonable planning. In such situations you might expect those responsible to be apologetic for their failures, you would be mistaken to expect such from Undersecretary Anthony and her team. Just another embarrassment for the beleaguered Commonwealth.

I am also astounded that in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, one of the most openly hostile business environments in the US, OCABR chose to abandon their responsibility to protect consumers and repeatedly caved in to business demands. Come on guys, be consistent in your hostilities.

The OCABR welcome page states "At OCABR, we are committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education." If you happen to believe that, please contact me about some sure-fire business opportunities I have available for a nominal investment. Prospectus is on display in a locked file cabinet in the dark basement of a local planning office. Disregard the "Beware of Leopard" sign.