The Lakeside Diner in Forked River is just one example of a small New Jersey business trying to hang on for dear life in a state that treats small business like the enemy.

Alfred Brian Brindisi, the owner of the small diner, has been cited no less than seven times since early June for trying to survive in a state where it's hard enough in normal times. He got back into his own diner on Friday and changed the locks that the state had replaced in an attempt to lock him out of his own business. He's been operating on a limited capacity for the past few months, doing his best to stay afloat and serving his loyal customers, who continue to show up, unimpeded by Gov. Phil Murphy's orders to shut him down.

A few brave and desperate small business owners  who've been denied the right to make an honest living amid the state lockdown have been quietly and sometimes secretly operating and taking the fines. Some feel they have no choice but to pay the fines and try to survive. In the case of the Lakeside Diner, they've been allowing only 16 patrons at a time, practicing social distancing, while the place can hold up to 65 diners at any time. When the state allows large corporate-owned businesses like Home Depot, Walmart and supermarkets to operate pretty much unfettered, small business owners have struggled to stay alive or have gone belly up.

In a state with the worst business climate in the region and one of the worst in the country, how can decent, hard-working entrepreneurs hope to stay here? The governor doesn't seem to care, and in fact he doesn't. He and his ilk have long treated small business like prey, while the government gestapo, with bulletproof guaranteed incomes, go after business people like common criminals. In the meantime, hardened criminals with violent records and long rap sheets get released back into the public, sometimes with little or no punishment. The world is upside down in this state and it only seems to be getting worse under Murphy. Maybe the electorate will wake up next November and send him packing, or start packing themselves.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis' own.

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