(You see, years of experience in studying government have taught me not to declare anything the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.)

Thanks to CarolinaPlottHound I encountered the following compounding example of gratuitous local government obnoxiousness:

  • The City of Wilmington requires a local landmark barbecue business, Flip’s, to take down its 50-year-old sign
  • Business owner Bob Church incurs the expense of removing the sign to comply with the new city ordinance
  • The City then returns to harass Church with the following:

“On Tuesday, I get a call from the Zoning Department asking me if I had a permit to take my sign down,” said Flip’s Bar-B-Que owner Bob Church.

Church says a city code enforcement officer told him he needed clearance to remove the sign.

Apparently Wilmington requires a Compliance with City Ordinances Permit; unlicensed compliance is actionable and not permitted.

Church understands the underlying problem with such meddling:

“The amount of stress I’ve been under for the last two weeks has been crazy,” he said. “Like the president said last night (and) Gov. Romney: small businesses need to get the country going, and here they are beating the daylights out of us trying to ruin us, and I don’t understand that. What’s going on?”