Taco Experts Needed

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.

7 thoughts on “Taco Experts Needed

  1. Great post. I totally agree. The city should be for those who live in it!

    To cite a very pertinent slogan from Paris 1968:

    “Humanity won’t be happy till the last capitalist is hung with the guts of the last bureaucrat”

  2. Yeah, I have found the lack of taquero viewpoints intriguing, although I did hear one taco truck owner on Patt Morrison when they were talking about it. Counts for something, perhaps.

    But I do have to say that I shocked at how much I hear Jonathan Gold commentating on this issue. Not that there is anything wrong with Mssr. Gold, but I would say that he is hardly representative of the average customer or purveyor of these tacos.

  3. Your point about not including our voices, or firsthand voices, in explaining experiences which are rooted in our communities is typical of the dominant culture and their minions.
    If it wasn’t for ethnic studies we would have less of a voice and would probably be viewed even more as the conquered masses / former slaves / mix breeds who need to assimilate quicker to serve them better.
    When they can’t insert themselves into our narratives or can’t market them to their benefit they simply ignore or criminalize those experiences.
    History is a battleground.

  4. The people putting these shows together are very busy, and, to get ahead, they need to spend all their free time hanging with affluent yuppies.

  5. I have been to a few Zocalo presentations on other subjects. The last 20 minutes are open to questions and comments from the public. Feel free to go down and tell them what you think.

  6. Just an update on the Zocalo event: There was a taco truck owner present on the panel and she talked as much if not more than the other speakers. In fact, the event lasted a good 2 hours because of all the audience Q&A from self-professed taco lovers.

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