Tuesday, May 19, 2009


OK, so I had a minute to re-read your suggestions about the taco truck issue.  Here's a link to the NY Times article.  Here's a link to the website for the L.A.-based organization.   In L.A. the taco truck owners have formed an organization and have also brought legal challenges against the ordinance.  Here is a passage from a newspaper article last September:

On Friday, September 19,2008, Judge Dennis Aichroth of the Los Angeles Superior Court, in Division One of the East Los Angeles Courthouse heard arguments from both side in the so called “TACO VENDOR ORDINANCE CASE.”

Previously, on August 27, 2008 Judge Aichroth had declared Los Angeles County Code Section 7.62.070 “unconstitutional” on various grounds, including ambiguous language, restraint of trade, not for the “public safety,” etc.  The arguments on September 19th related to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office seeking to have the Judge reverse his decision.  The motion made by the DA was for “Reconsideration” of the decision.

After granting the District Attorney the right to file certain “Declarations” by Deputies of the Sheriff’s Department, along with “Exhibits,” the Judge announced that he was NOT CHANGING HIS ORIGINAL ORDER of August 27th, holding Section 7.62.070 of the Los Angeles County Code UNCONSTITUTIONAL.  The TACO VENDORS were represented by Attorney Philip C. Greenwald.  The DA was represented by Deputy DA Steven L. Gates.

According to the website, the county decided not to appeal (Stupid blogger and your stupid autoformatting of fonts!).  I liked Snufkin's idea about contacting the La Galeria Posada board, but I don't really know anything about that organization, and their website doesn't have any info, besides basic contact stuff.  Does anyone want to draft a preliminary letter?  Can you think of other organizations we could contact?  It seems like there has to be some legal involvement, and I have no idea how we would get money for that.  Maybe some taco-loving attorney would take the case pro-bono?  That sounds like a great TV movie idea.

Here's a letter from that website:

Thank you for responding to our concerns regarding your recent ordinance affecting taco trucks in Los Angeles County. As residents of Northeast Los Angeles, we wholeheartedly support a thriving business community that includes “brick and mortar” restaurants. While we understand there are many conflicting interests involved, we are concerned the measures passed by the board of supervisors do not best promote the health and welfare of our community. Forcing hard working men and women, who we object to being classified as “peddlers,” to move too frequently to earn a sustainable income is not an effective means of addressing the health needs of the community. If the aim of this ordinance is the health of the community, you might consider stepping up inspections and more diligent enforcement of existing health codes. If the aim is to improve the welfare of the community, find a compromise that allows more established businesses to reasonably coexist with nascent restaurateurs and other local business owners. Criminalizing these vendors, for what previously was essentially a parking violation, fails to acknowledge the reality that these vendors are an established institution of Los Angeles County and provide an affordable option for families unable to afford sit-down restaurants. Additionally, the culture and community created by taco trucks is enormously beneficial to a neighborhood’s welfare, as it brings people out on otherwise abandoned streets.

If you truly feel that the honest and hardworking families who work in these taco trucks are detrimental to the community under current regulations, we would urge you to find a compromise that better serves your constituents as well as your business interests. A healthy compromise, that allows restaurants to compete without eliminating taco trucks from the landscape, could include preventing the trucks from parking within a specific distance of an open restaurant. Please consider how this ordinance will affect all of your constituents before removing something so loved in our neighborhoods.


Anonymous said...

2009-year of the taco truck
and the idea of a taco loving attorney is priceless, just think of the crazy situations a corn(or flour-your choice) tortilla addicted barrister might get into . .

-Ed C

and . . no one will believe me but my password is partier

Anonymous said...

Al Pastor - Attorney at Law.


fft said...

we could put on a pretty bangin second saturday taco truck benefit show. probably get one of the trucks to pull up to the open lot where the show is, too

beckler said...

We should try to procure John Goodman to portray Al. Failing that, George Wendt. Failing that, that guy on King Of Queens.

but seriously, who's gonna write a letter and who should we send it to?

I keep trying to think of an acronym. How about Taco Trucks Aren't Criminal Operations? T.T.A.C.O. That's pretty good, right?

Snufkin said...

Galeria Posada's site is down, but thanks to Google cache:
La Raza Galeria Posada Board of Directors

Mario Gutierrez, M.P.A.
Board Chair

Roberta Sandoval
Board Vice Chair

Raquel Simental

Roy Siañez

Jose Montoya
Honorary Director

Rudy Martinez
Board Director

Juanita Polendo Ontiveros
Board Director

Gustavo Reynoso
Board Director

Gabriel Cruz Vivas
Board Director

Graciela Ramirez
Honorary Director

Juanishi Orosco
Honorary Board Member

Marie Acosta

Gabriela Gutierrez

Gustavo Reynoso
Installation Coordinator

Roberta Sandoval
Store Manager

Sandro A. Aguilar

Board of Director meetings are held every first Thursday of the month at 5:30 pm, La Raza Galeria Posada,1022 22nd Street.
I worked on archiving their collection of broadsheets from the Royal Chicano Airforce and Self Help Graphics about 5 years ago. LRGP/RCAF did a lot during the 70s beyond just helping the UFW, but within the community at large. LRGP was a pet passion of Joe Serna's and at the time I was there, Deborah Ortiz (who'd taken over his seat on city council before being elected to the legislature) was heavily involved. So it seems a little ridiculous that the city would be talking out one side of its mouth about preserving local culture while going after another.

Also I don't know if they'd care, but we do also have a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

-- your friendly neighborhood librarian/archivist

Anonymous said...

what about Al's secretary- Connie Asada? She can help, she has a lot of connections.

we do need a letter,and the acronym (dan acronym?) sounds pretty good.

-Ed C.

Anonymous said...

I asked the Kogi BBQ taco folks if they would come to Sacramento as a fundraiser for a save the taco cart rally but they couldn't. Didn't think truck would make it up here and they keep getting run out of OC so why would they want to get hassled in Sacramento?

Talk about one hell of a taco. Some of the best street food, and I love street food.


And why don't we have a falafel cart? Or kebob stand?


Liv Moe said...

i have a connection with the RCAF. i'll email him now. a kick ass poster campaign would be pretty sweet too.

smitty said...

Here's the email I just got from my councilmember Steve Cohn:

Thank you for your email regarding your concerns with a City ban on taco trucks. After some research, I have learned that in fact the City is not banning taco trucks. There are however, regulations under which Mobile Food Vendors (MFVs) must comply under City Code.The "regulations under which MFVs must comply under City code" seems a bit weasely. Of course, like everyone, I don't trust politicians much. At least his response was a bit more researched then the quick response from KJ.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to the yumtacos.com petition drive to challenge Sac City Council's ordinance? Did this go anywhere?

Anna and I just got back from Portland, where dozens upon dozens of food carts, food stands, food trailers, etc are serving up some of the best food in town. http://foodcartsportland.com/

It's too bad that the ban went into effect, but I don't think it's too late to get it overturned, or at least get some parts of it changed. Demonstrate how important mobile food vendors are to the community, and put in place sensible rules that work for everyone... use places like Portland, NYC, etc as a model.


beckler said...

Yeah, they're not being banned, they just have to move every 40 minutes, which will really cut into their business because people will not be able to find their favorite ones.

Here's a quote:
Last year, however, the Sacramento City Council saw fit to declare food-vending vehicles at permanent locations a nuisance, effectively a death sentence for Sacramento’s taco trucks, this despite similar measures being struck down throughout California. Only a handful of local trucks survived the ban—and they’ll disappear, too, by 2012.

Yeah, we should get yumtaco to join T.T.A.C.O

beckler said...

Read this yumtaco post!

dj b janks said...

yall trippin. taco trucks aint gong nowz!

smitty said...

I guess, based on my condescending response from Steve Cohn, that sending any email not written IN A SERIOUS MANNER also gets blown off. Although maybe he checked his records and saw that I haven't donated any money to his campaign.

The internet. It's serious business.

Anonymous said...

T.T.A.C.O = ?

Liberty said...

Cohn and Johnson are holding a "Town Hall" meeting at Sutter Middle School tomorrow night at 7:00 at which they request constituents come and "share thoughts and ask questions." If someone attends and raises this issue it would be good to point out that although Cohn's response to Smitty's e-mail said that the ordinance does not "ban" taco trucks, the ordinance itself is a de facto ban due to the fact that the 30 minute time limitation coupled with the definition of the word "operation" precludes taco trucks from actually engaging in their lawful business activities.

beckler said...

Taco Trucks Are Not Criminal Operations