**cross posted from the Future of Money Kickstarter Backer update**
The Sharing Economy gets Political in Twentynine Palms
In my local community of 25,000 people, AirBnB is illegal. This is being revisited with a new proposal for review by the City Council. Last week I spoke at the City Planning Commission Meeting - it was a heated discussion with local hotels bringing out every fear based story they could to build a case against allowing AirBnB rentals. (They see it as competition and are doing everything they can to block it.)
This has been my call to get involved in local politics. The Sharing Economy is critical to our future economic success - whether you live in a big city or small area. It brings money into the local community and economically strengthens it - encouraging local entrepreneurs to start businesses. Businesses people have pride in, get paid a wage where they can live a decent life. Not to mention connect you with passionate locals in unique lodgings.
In a city like Twentynine Palms - which has been economically dependent on the local Marines base (Where will Military spending go in the coming years? Not to ground war resources I can guarantee you.) - economic diversity is critical to our longevity. I want this crazy (in a good way) little desert town thrive - and that takes a diverse ecosystem. When you come visit the gorgeous Joshua Tree National Park, I want you to experience unique locally owned restaurants, visit cool locally created retail shops, drink artisan beer, take home locally produced honey and return home with memories of the gorgeous desert sunsets.
The way local politics works in Twentynine Palms in this situation - the Planning Commission hears community concerns, makes a recommendation to the City Council and then the City Council votes. Last time they considered the idea (5 years ago), they voted against it, despite a positive recommendation from the Planning Commission. I'm working to ensure we allow AirBnB style rentals in this community this time around.
Last Tuesday, after three hours of discussion we had only gotten through 5 of the 15 sticking points. The planning commission saw the community benefits - but had many regulatory concerns to discuss. We're reconvening on August 5th to go through the remaining 10 points. I'll be there again to be part of the discussion.
This is my first foray into local politics and wow, is it a lot of time and energy! Worth it on so many levels - not least of which it's material for the series!
I'd love to hear (and share with the commission) your comments about the Sharing Economy and AirBnB. And if you by chance want to join me August 5th, there's always crash space in the dome.
AirBnB has more than an economic impact - it facilitates human connections making the world more friendlier.
I queried my Facebook Community for their experiences on AirBnB. Here's what they had to say....