Tacos Under Attack

In case you haven’t been following the news, the County Supervisors passed some stupid law that basically criminalizes the common taco truck in places like East LA. Even though I don’t consume meat tacos, I can still recognize that this attack on street food and the taco truck culture is foolish and unnecessary. You can keep up on breaking news over at LATaco.com as they’ve been monitoring the situation.

Thank you Gloria Molina, for yet more proof that you really, really hate the place you represent. Where’s the Biotic Baking Brigade when you need them? Someone ought to start a taco chapter!

PS. The pic above of a DF taco stand is unrelated, click here to see it in context.

21 thoughts on “Tacos Under Attack

  1. I am the first poster! Yay! … I live in New York City, where they have pretty much outlawed all street food vendors. Don’t let it happen in LA! Please!!!

    First they came for the taco vendors
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a taco vendor (and mostly eat pizza anyway)
    Then they came for the Jews
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for the Communists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left
    to speak out for me.

  2. This would not be happening if unincorporated East LA were a city, passing laws locally.

  3. This will only drive the taco vendors to go underground. Prepackage tacos sold from a stroller, just like what happened in downtown with the hotdogs.

    ummmm Hotdogs…

  4. This is a result of the brick & mortar restaurants that are bitching to the city about the Taco Trucks hurting their businesses. If they had as good quality food & low prices as the trucks have, they wouldn’t have this problem. Cabrones!

  5. Our site has started an online petition to forward to Gloria Molina. Please go to http://www.saveourtacotrucks.org and leave a comment. This situation would be laughable if it wasn’t such a typical blunder by our local government. Politicians only respond to two things: $ & votes…at least we can withhold one of those.

  6. This isn’t such a simple issue. It would suck to be a restaurant owner and have a truck park in front of your place and take your business because they can offer lower prices, simply because they don’t have to pay higher overhead costs associated with your building (rent, insurance, rest rooms, etc.).
    I loves me my taco trucks but not at the expense of others struggling to survive. Still, I’m sure there’s something less Draconian that can be done.

  7. It might not be a simple issue but the law makes it too cut and dry; its a sledgehammer for a tiny nail. It’s not hard at all to come up with creative solutions, like maybe proposing X amount of feet from another restaurant, but there is no will. No doubt the property owners have Molina’s ear, and this is going to be selectively enforced based on influence. What a surprise.

  8. I can see this being one of those laws that cops routinely ignore, however it does set a bad precedent that our beloved taco trucks can be used as political capital for restaurant owners and supervisors. And a Latina at that!

    Give her a piece of your mind:
    East Los Angeles Field Office
    4801 East Third Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90022
    Phone: (323) 881-4601
    Fax: (323) 887-7286

  9. If you go in for conspiracy theories, here’s one,
    The Taco Trucks and the restaurants have had their
    differences for decades, this is nothing new. So why
    is the screw coming down now on the trucks now?
    Is it because local restaurant owners have more clout today? Probably not.
    So what’s making the big difference in 2008 to finally get
    big attention from the local leaders? Some Malas Lenguas
    would say that with the growing interest in ELA from outside
    businesses, developers, investors, and speculators who
    envision big things, especially when the New GOLD LINE East LA Extension
    opens in 2009, some closed door meetings were conducted where
    said reps made it clear to the city and county that they must “clean-up”
    conditions in the Eastside before the investors can move in. (Kind of like
    U.s. Foreign policy!) It seems possible that The Big corporate Boys who plan on moving in later want to clear the way of interference in now, in advance, so that they won’t have to deal with these issues later and risk looking like taco killers.
    Meanwhile, the county licks it lips at the promise of the big new tax revenues and Molina voluntarily takes the heat.

  10. Al, what you’re describing is exactly what’s happening in my mom’s neighborhood of South San Gabriel. It’s always been a little wild up in the Lomas, the area is unincorporated after all. But in the past two years, the area has seen an influx of developers, spill over from the already saturated Monterey Park. Coincidentally, the county has started enforcing random rules, rules that she never had to follow in the 30 years she’s lived there.

  11. Hey AlDesmadre, that fits in perfectly with what developer Ron Mukai said in the LA Times the other day.

    “They prohibit a community from moving forward,” said Ron Mukai, a longtime developer in the community. “They make it unattractive for legitimate brick-and-mortar businesses to come in. Why would a restaurant come in when there’s 10 catering trucks on Olympic Boulevard? There was a time when catering trucks filled a legitimate need because there was no willing vendor in East L.A. But for the sake of bettering the community, their time has passed.”

    You should have your Malas Lenguas speak up!

  12. We must remember that from a developers perspective, a community does not become vital, important, or legitimate until they show up, discover it and redevelop it. (and make their profits from it, of course) that means that whatever was there before was of little importance. It’s their master plan that not until all the lofts, condos coffee houses, wine bars and boutiques are built will the REAL (ie. yuppies, rich hipsters, “urban pioneers”) people move in who will require these new services, thereafter creating a NEW economic community base that said developers can continue to serve (and profit from) along with the investors and politicians. As things are now, plenty of greedy interests have surely taken keen interest in that ELA residents spend lots of $ locally, and they must feel it’s time they got of piece of that booming market. Another thing to consider with the Taco Truck issue is that
    it’s not only the brick mexican restaurants hurt. It’s also McD’s, Pizza Hut, the bigger corp. chains too. The more people that are spending their lunch money at
    the taco trucks is less potential money that could have gone to their pockets, so I’m
    sure they have a beef as well.
    We need to save our trucks. Would you prefer to spend your $5 on lunch at a truck where you get a freshly made huge burrito or 3-4 tacos with free guacamole + salsa+condiments, or would you get a Value Meal?

  13. My guess is that the politicians will say that they want to outlaw the taco trucks in order to protect the livelihoods of your hard-working, mom-and-pop, immigrant shops.

    And who could argue with that?

    Of course, the problem is that for every mom-and-pop restaurant protected, ten corporate franchises will also benefit, and things will increasingly shift in favor of the rich and powerful. In a few years, the family-run, brick-and-mortar restaurants won’t have to compete with the taco trucks, but they will have to compete with the enormous chain stores (who always have a huge advantage).

    I really hope that you can preserve these trucks!

  14. I received this email from Gloria Molina’s office yesterday, make what you will of it:

    “Thank you for contacting my office to express your views regarding the
    proposed changes to the Los Angeles County peddling ordinance. Please be
    aware that this ordinance is effective only in the unincorporated areas
    of Los Angeles County.

    The proposed changes to the ordinance allow peddlers to remain in one
    location in a commercial zone for one hour. The current ordinance
    permits 30 minutes in one location. For your information, vending from a
    sidewalk has never been permitted in Los Angeles County. Our ordinance
    will protect the health and welfare of our residents and respect the
    needs of our business community.

    If you require additional assistance with a County-related matter,
    please do not hesitate to contact my office at (323) 881-4601. Thank
    you.

    Sincerely,

    GLORIA MOLINA
    Supervisor, First District”

  15. So, wait, I’m confused… it seems like the proposed change would actually be better for taco vendors (1 hour in one place instead of 30 minutes). Can anyone clarify?

  16. Sure. The previous fine was minimal, and the “old” law was typically not enforced, unless there was a complaint or something. Vendors rarely had to move at all, and if they were fined it was generally affordable. Under the new law it is presumed that it will be strictly enforced and the fine is huge for small time vendors such as taco trucks who would not be able to absorb regular fines of this magnitude.

    Further, the law is only in effect to taco trucks in Unincorporated East LA, meaning anything East of Boyle Heights. Taco trucks in LA proper are not effected, which blows for East LA taco trucks.

  17. I would also add that the new law carries the potential of jail time as well, as each infraction will be considered a misdemeanor. Even though this is for the county, the City in all it’s stupid glory led the way by passing their own anti-taco law two years ago. http://chanfles.com/blog/?p=97

  18. Street vibrancy is only a good thing when it involves wealthy white people, when “we” are the ones creating the vibrancy it is a health or safety problem. The city reinforces this notion by only fixing a place up once us beaners move out and white/rich kids move in, Boradway was negelcted for a half century by civic entities but it was us mexicans who made it dirty, and now we are spending billions to get these rich white kids walking around like poor mexicans without cars. of course this is more class based than race, I mean “white” in the context of wealthy american, not skin tone.

  19. Pingback: LoterĂ­a Chicana » Placeholder for Ed’s clever post title

  20. This is BULLSHIT, Molina. When I get back to L.A. I know I’m back in L.A. for a few reasons, and loncheras are one of those reasons. As Kristoff said, Fuckin’ bullshit!

    I got hungry reading this post. Only one more month!

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