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UCLA law students help taco truck operators overturn L.A. ordinance

June 10, 2009 |  4:32 pm

Carne asada tacos will soon be returning to a Los Angeles street corner near you, thanks to a legal team that included students from the UCLA law school's clinical program.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court commissioner has nixed a city law that cracked down on taco trucks and other food coaches. The ordinance, approved by the City Council in 2006, forced operators to stay on the go: Trucks were prohibited from parking in the same spot in a residential neighborhood for more than a half-hour, or in a commercial area for more than an hour.
 
Commissioner Barry D. Kohn on Friday ruled that the city overstepped its legal authority. Catering trucks are regulated by the state, although local governments have the authority to impose additional regulations to protect public safety or health. Kohn found that the city ordinance was not based on either.

The legal challenge was filed by Francisco Gonzalez, who has operated a catering truck in East Los Angeles for more than a dozen years and specializes in carne asada. He received a $150 ticket in December for violating the ordinance.

A few months before that, a judge in August overturned a controversial ordinance passed by Los Angeles County supervisors that made it a misdemeanor in unincorporated parts of the county to park a taco truck in one spot for more than an hour.

-- Phil Willon at L.A. City Hall

Photo: Los Angeles Times

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