There’s been a lot more interest paid to Gloria Molinas Anti-Taco Truck Law than there was to the one the LA City Council passed, both examples of laws meant to be selectively enforced so as to benefit the politicians that can pull the proper strings to make a few select business owners feel properly accommodated. I hope that something positive comes out of all this media attention to an issue that effects working people, no matter what side of the taco counter they position themselves. But I found it sorta sad, though not at all surprising, when I received the Zocalo lecture series email regarding an event to discuss this topic and all their choices for panelists turned out to be just “foodies”. I don’t want to suggest that there is any problem with their choice of speakers, they all have a good reason for being part of the discussion. But for some people the word “zocalo” still means the public plaza where people of all backgrounds can show up to see what’s happening around the city, which in this case should naturally include some of those most affected by this law: the taco truck vendor. It seems like a tremendous oversight to not think of going down the street to get the Taqueros viewpoint. Or how about the non-foodie taco eater that visits regularly for the affordability and convenience? It’s an utterly simple situation to remedy, which I hope the “zocalo” people will consider correcting.
One thing I’ve learned growing up as part of that Other Los Angeles is that media (new and old) always find it easier to write and talk about our communities without even asking us any questions, finding the middlemen tale-tellers just as worthy as the source. The day is coming when it’ll be harder to talk about us without acknowledging our presence, when we might actually be considered as legitimate voices and participants to city life, be they in Spanish or not. Someday we will be able to tell you about ourselves, in our own words.