Life & Times

As you may have heard, approximately 30% (give or take) of Americans work from home.
What you probably haven’t heard is the story of how working from home became legal. Chances are that unless you were trying to work from home prior to the mid 1990’s, you probably never even knew it was ever illegal to work from home. Here’s the story of how one of America’s (and the world’s) norms came to be.
Prior to the early to mid 1990’s it was literally illegal to work from home in most of America with a very few exceptions: If you worked on a farm or ranch, if you worked for a church or in some rare instances if you had a store or business on the 1st floor, you could live above it, or if you lived on a military base, or were a Fireman, etc. In 1989 I lost my business/building in Hollywood and became homeless living in my car until I figured out how to lease a home with credit cards. Within a year I was busted by the City of Los Angeles for working from home, so I moved. Then within a year I got busted again, this time I started a “Neighborhood Watch” program in an effort to go from being the person complained about to being the person being complained to. But then was busted
again. There was this guy from LA “Building and Safety” that would come by to write me citations for being in violation of LA Zoning laws. I remember telling him it was crazy that I couldn’t work from my home and him telling me “This is the way it is, this is the way it has always been, this is the way it will always be and there is nothing you can do about it”. So I began trying to lobby the Los Angeles City Council Members and the Mayor’s office. Unfortunately, there were many, many gate keepers, you couldn’t just go to city hall and ask to see the Mayor (trust me, I tried on several occasions). Writing letters didn’t seem to help much either. Ironically, being a director/cameraman I seemed to be in the loop for shooting campaign ads for folks in smaller cities around southern California that were running for public office. This gave me face time access to newly elected Mayors and City Council members open to an out of the box thinker such as myself. With time my pitch, along with charts, graphs and testimonials…
1. According to the LAPD, there is less crime in residences were folks work from home as burglars don’t like to break-in to places where there’s activity.
2. According to the LAFD, there are fewer house fires when people work from home as most house fires are from people leaving in a hurry to get to work and forgetting to turn off stoves, ovens curling irons and other appliances.
3. According to both FedEx and UPS about 30-40% of the folks in my neighborhood are working from me. If all those people were to get into their cars and drive to work, smog, traffic, congestion crime and fires would be much, much worse!
4. Lastly, if “Stay at home Mom’s” (and dads) had to stop working from home and were forced to put  their kids in day care, many couldn’t afford it and would have to go on public assistance.…were helping make it legal to work from home around Southern California. Also ironically, you could (as I did) literally go to the City of Los Angeles, apply for a business license, pay the fees and within about a month or so, they would show up at the address you had given and bust/fine you for working from home!

Then in 1995 some AMAZING things happened. 1 st I was somehow able to turn/flip LA City Council Woman Laura Chick (who went on to become the LA City Controller and then the California Attorney General under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger), then we got CNN involved. They said I was “an in-home outlaw” (which really freaked out my Mom in North Carolina when she saw the CNN News story), when they interviewed me, I said “I think it’s totally ridicules that the President of the United States can work out of his home, but I can’t”, they also interviewed LA City Council Woman Laura Chick, then they ambushed LA Mayor Richard Riordan, played him my
interview as well as Chick’s, then interviewed him. Amazingly he was immediately on-board (guess it was the CNN camera or light or mic or Reporter, or perhaps the planets just finally aliened for us), CNN ran the story, every TV station in LA picked up and reran the story.

With-in about 2 months the LA City Council introduced a “Home Occupations ordinance” making it legal to “Work from Home”. It passed overwhelmingly 14 to 1, the only council member to vote against it was LA Councilman Nate Holden. When I spoke with him later, he told me he wasn’t against the new ordinance; he was against that it wasn’t specific enough.

Then Mayor Riordan gave me amnesty for all my fines, penalties and interest AND invited me to speak at a Luncheon”. But it wasn’t just any luncheon, it was a luncheon for a National Mayor’s Association were I was able to speak and get my message in front of a few hundred Mayors, City Council Members and City Controllers from across the country! I received a standing ovation, and then upon returning to my seat I was blessed by a steady stream of Mayors, City Council Members and City Controllers from across the country giving me their business cards and wanting me to help them get the laws changed in their cities. Within about two years we were able to make it legal to work from home (with some restrictions) pretty much anywhere in the country!
Here are the approximate $ savings numbers (in addition to helping save countless lives, reducing crime, traffic & smog): In 1995 (a mid point) there were approximately 266M people living in America. Now there are approximately 333M or an average of approximately 300M since 1995. According to Google, approximately 62.5% of those folks work. Of those 187.5M that work, about 30% work from home. Also according to Google the average saving to someone working from home (just in transportation, not to mention man hours) is about $7K.
That means that helping get this one law changed has helped save countless lives, countless man hours, and Americans (300M x .625 = 187.5M x 30% = 56.250M x $7K/year = $393.75B/year x 29 years = $11.41875T) more than $ELEVEN TRILLION DOLLARS. As well as remove about 5 Billion Tons of Carbon Emissions from our atmosphere.
For more information, or to arrange an interview, or meeting, or to help with current or future endeavors (L O N G List) please call or text Eddie Barber 818-640-7775.

Telecommuting Bandit