Letter: Men Of Straw

Editor’s note: The following letter is in response to Lisa Hyslop’s letter titled “Calling Out Red Barn Was Not Fair” published June 15 and last week’s letter “Eicks Respond To Lisa Hyslop.”

Regarding letters published recently from Mrs. Lisa Hyslop and the Eicks, I write as principal of one of the small businesses Mrs. Hyslop’s husband wants closed. I write also as a resident of Loxahatchee Groves and a supporter of freedom.

For the record, the Eicks should never have been attacked in this un-American way. The United States was founded on free enterprise. Competition is always good, in any form. Markets invariably find their own level.

Record this too, as too many don’t know: The complainant instigating the (now suspended by a wise council) code enforcement action against the Eicks (and others) was Mrs. Hyslop’s husband, Beck, minority shareholder in Red Barn.

The Hyslops don’t attend council meetings. They weren’t even there when the wonderful people of Loxahatchee Groves showed exactly what they thought about their complaint three weeks ago. One may wonder, why not?

Forget personalities. The issue here is greater: freedom — that ethereal quality America holds dear, and which young men and women of this country and mine (I’m British) are fighting and dying for in unspeakably awful foreign wars.

Mrs. H. mentions the good Red Barn has done. This was in the past. (Before your husband was part owner, Mrs. H.) Forgive my cynicism in pointing out there are significant tax breaks for companies helping out in times of national emergency.

Over the past few years, Red Barn has fallen hard from its once proud place of respect. The feeling in the town, as so bravely put by Councilman [Ron] Jarriel, is that if people want to choose where they buy their hay from, they should be able to. (The Eicks’ freedom is not the only freedom Hyslop targets. He endlessly lobbies code enforcement to close down all he fears.)

He claims Red Barn pays more taxes than most businesses. That’s true. They sell more, too. If he really wanted “fairness,” as his wife opines in her letter, wouldn’t they both be campaigning for competitors to pay commensurate taxes? Not pitching for that, though are you, folks? The ultimate sanction of Beck’s endless code enforcement manipulation is to have competitors closed down!

As Voltaire observed, “Ultimate power corrupts absolutely.” Monopolies in the free world are just plain wrong. In Britain, the Monopolies and Mergers Commission stops large companies controlling markets unfairly. Hyslop’s complaints wouldn’t be entertained. (Agreed; we’ve had a millennium to develop our industry regulation against Loxahatchee Groves’ six…)

Seriously, Loxahatchee is not a prosperous town. Lines of foreclosures, barren wildernesses where businesses once were, and a fraction of the youngsters graduated last month able to find work. This town desperately needs its prosperity back.

How will that happen if this continues? Since Hyslop’s disrespect of the town and its people was publicly aired, I’ve lost count of the number of townspeople who’ve told me they’ll never shop at Red Barn ever again! The proud people of this town have principles. Despite Hyslop’s best efforts to rob them of it, they also still have their freedom. Many, many of them now demonstrate that by driving out of town to Wellington, Boynton, Clewiston and Okeechobee to shop.

When they do, they take not only their freedom but also their dollars — dollars that go into companies which then prosper. Those companies create jobs — jobs that should be jobs for our young people in our town! In his greedy scramble to remove competition, Hyslop is actually driving prosperity from our town.

The engine of any economy is small business. Hyslop doesn’t understand that. The truth is, if he put as much effort into positive marketing as he does into negative complaining, and made a serious effort to return Red Barn to the well-respected company it was before he arrived, competition would be of no consequence!

Sadly, leopard’s spots don’t change. Red Barn cannot recover with Hyslop around. There is, however, change in the Loxahatchee Groves air. The Eicks and the other small businesses Hyslop has failed to close will now, thanks to the wisdom of the council, prosper — ironically at the expense of Red Barn. I personally will also do all I can to support the Eicks, other small businesses and preserve freedom.

Tim Hart-Woods
The British Feed Company
Loxahatchee Groves