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Readers React: Yesterday’s taxi and hotel laws don’t work for today’s Uber and Airbnb

To the editor: Dave Rochlin’s op-ed article on the sharing economy misses the mark. (“When ‘innovation’ means rule-breaking,” op-ed, July 27)

Rochlin ridiculously compares the sharing economy to the drug trade, saying both are “gray markets” that form when there is an unmet need within regulated industries. The sharing economy is bringing desperately needed jobs and innovation to regulated markets while serving consumers’ needs. It’s not a dangerous underground market.

Rochlin insists that regulations need not stifle innovation, but that’s exactly what we’ve seen in the taxi and hotel industries. Uber and Airbnb are dragging these industries into the modern world and bringing economic opportunity along with them.

Of course we need regulations, but those regulations need to be smart and modern. Regulating new companies under laws that were written for bygone eras is old-school thinking that will limit society and the economy. Sharing-economy companies are exposing the need for modernizing government. This is the way change happens.

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Mike Montgomery, Pacific Palisades

The writer is executive director of the technology industry group CalInnovates.

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To the editor: If I pay someone to drive me in a taxi, limousine or a bus, I expect government regulations to make sure the driver is licensed and has a clean driving record, and that the company has insurance. I expect the driver will be drug-tested and background-checked so I don’t get into a car with a felon or sex offender.

The state program that red-flags drivers who get moving violations is a great plan, keeping bad drivers from driving commercially. Will that program report to Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing companies? And will they be required to drop that driver from their list?

Is my safety as a rider less important in an Uber or a Lyft car than it is in a taxi?

Michele Rico, Los Angeles

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook

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