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Should L.A. ban food trucks from parking on city streets? Tell us what you think.

Tom LaBonge

TalkBackLAA Los Angeles City councilman intensified debate in the city over food trucks last Friday by introducing two motions that could lead to the trucks being banned on city streets.

One proposal from Councilman Tom LaBonge asks city staff to study what other cities have done and to look into prohibiting trucks from parking at metered spaces in commercially zoned areas. The other calls for a report on the creation of specially designated catering-truck parking zones.

Food truck owners and patrons -- famous for their fervor and their mastery of social media sites such as Twitter -- have mounted a campaign against the proposals and the councilman himself.

Someone has set up a Facebook page called "Los Angelinos Against Labonge." An online petition "against any city bill that would limit access to the food trucks" had racked up 2,000 digital signatures in just three days. Food truck supporters accosted LaBonge during his community bicycle ride Wednesday evening to complain about his proposals. On Twitter, where the controversy became a major local topic Wednesday, one post urged food truck supporters to attend the ride to tell LaBonge "you don't approve of his hatred of food trucks!"

The Times' Kate Linthicum reports on the growing food truck fight. What do you think? Share your opinions below.

Photo: Councilman Tom LaBonge, right, speaks with Dan Nathan about LaBonge's proposal to limit food trucks on Wilshire Boulevard. "Everybody in the building loves having the food trucks," said Nathan, who works nearby. Credit: John W. Adkisson / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (315)

I don't live in L.A. but know people who work down there. I know that many people appreciate the trucks because they provide different food than many of the over-priced, crowded eateries in the area. Who can afford to sit in a restaurant and pay $9.00 + tip for a BLT and a glass of water?!? However, as one comment mentioned the trash left behind, that would be a real issue. Someone should be employed to make sure the areas are kept clean.

Banning the trucks from residential areas seems to make sense, but from Wilshire Blvd.?! That makes no sense. As long as the trucks are feeding coins to the meter, don't they have an equal right to park, just like any other driver? Cite the trucks that leave constant trash behind with littering tickets. Let's keep business regulations that follow common sense, instead of stamping out innocent businesses in this bad economy.

Food truck should be allowed to park and service the hungry customers. As long as they are securing their permit. At this difficult time, people should be allowed to make a living, and not be harassed. Only rules will be time limit. 2 hours , then they should move on, so they won't block traffic, and pick up litters they created and their customers mess.

Go to North Hollywood and the rest of the ghetto areas and look at the mess these nasty trucks make. Food vendors with no place to wash hands or go to bathroom. Handling money with gloves that prepare the food. Especially the taco wagons Takes away from local business eateries.

(photo caption): LaBonge - "We need to eliminate jobs for theses truck employees and owners and eliminate food choices for LA office workers!"

Pretty soon one won't even be able to DRIVE down the streets. Don't these gus have better things to work on ? FAIL !

The one I frequent to always provides a trashcan, and I've never seen a mess there. man! Now I'm craving a carne asada mulita... mmmm Taco Zone rocks!

The food trucks are a DISASTER and should be regulated heavily, if not banned outright. These trucks simply don't have the capacity (unlimited running hot water) to properly clean and sanitize food prep surfaces, hands and tools, and the county health department has no way of inspecting and grading the trucks in the manner that traditional restaurants are regulated. The people who patronize these trucks think they're getting a 'bargain' are most likely getting an unclean, contaminated food product produced in an unsanitary, unregulated environment.

The trucks create a nuisance in the neighborhoods where they park, excess noise and trash is generated in their vicinity and the trucks don't provide waste receptacles or a trash pick-up service for their patrons. The result is trash is left in the street around the trucks. The trucks also don't seem to be paying any taxes...

The city should NOT ban them. The restaurants that complain are a bunch of overpriced places that can't take competition. If they ban the trucks, I will never eat at any of the restaurants supporting the bill again! Right now I eat at the restaurants and the trucks, but if they do this, I will bag a sandwhich every day until the trucks come back!

I support the food trucks, they provide a great service.

Banning them all together is a bit harsh, don't you think?
I believe there is a way for food trucks to operate in a safe and clean way for the owners, customers, and local areas which they operate at.
Just set some reasonable set of rules, and it shouldn't be a problem.

leave them alone! It's part of our culture in LA!!!!!

While I like the idea of gourmet food trucks, they have grown in numbers and have become a nuisance, especially during First Fridays on Abbot Kinney. The entire street is lined with food trucks, lines of patrons blocking the sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to walk into oncoming traffic. You can't even get into half the stores/galleries because people are blocking the entries. What started out as something fun has quickly turned unmanageable. Banning them all together isn't the answer, but something needs to be done.

The food truck companies say it's all about competition and we want this to be fair right? So...let the food truck companies pay $100.00 for parking for 2 hours. This would go to the city to help the city budget and it would be fairer to the restaurants in the area that have to pay thousands a month for rent and employees. Money that food trucks don't have to dish out!

to the councilmen "Leave the Foodtrucks alone and worry about other thinks,
for eg. lately the city has look very dirty trash everywhere.

Some of these restaurants pay up to $20,000 a month leases in the Mid Wilshire area. These trucks pay a small daily parking fee (they don't pay the meters). Its not fair that the anchored businesses have such a huge overhead and these trucks don't. It does not allow for fair competition between these various food vendors. The trucks should pay a lease equal to what the restaurants do in whatever given area they do business in.

Food trucks are amazing because I can always find one in LA. And I know restaurants despise them because I remember one Art walk night in downtown, I saw a restaurant give a couple of hundreds to one of those city security guards so they can call the cops on the food trucks. Unfortunately they all closed down and moved from the location.

Either way the food is sooo much tastier at a better price. Food truck owners have better sense in adapting to the economy...and there is no need to ban them.

If the trucks are forced to move away from metered parking spaces, they will move to the residential streets only a block or two away from their old metered spaces. I know I wouldn't like having a food truck parked outside of my house for 5 hours a day multiple days during the week.

I frequent tacos trucks around L.A. on a daily basis, I would break my heart to see these trucks not be able to operate. There has to be a way to make it so the trucks can continue to serve us that great food we love so much.

Removing food trucks off city streets is just another way of taking jobs away from people. We cant have any more of this happening. people make their living from owning/operating these lunch trucks, where are they gonna go? LA City is HUGE, where are you gonna force them to go for work? SCREW YOU POLITICIANS!

If you drive down Foothill Blvd any evening there is a truck about every 20 yards. Getting into the business's in that area is dangerous in the best of times never mind when you can't see what is coming at you going 45 - 50 MPH. Also, are these trucks inspected like a restaurant is? Do they pay the business and income taxes that a fixed building is? If there is an area where the trucks can park where they do not interfere with safe driving (including the people that park on the opposite side of the street and then run across in heavy traffic), they are inspected for cleanliness and food safety, they police the area that they have been parked in and make sure that the trash has been picked up and correctly disposed of, they pay their taxes like the rest of us have to - then I see no reason not to have the trucks. Some of the fees from their licences can go towards additional parking enforcement personnel.

I agree with fred. Let's ban Labonge's "bike club". They hold up traffic, are a cause of congestion, bring in no revenue to the city, and are irritating and condescending to boot. Food trucks, on the other hand, actually serve a purpose - they bring in money for the city and provide jobs in this bad economic climate. A REAL solution would be to establish parking spaces that are specifically for the food trucks, which could be rented to them for say, $1.50 a day for the hour the truck is there. They could pay for their spaces on a monthly subscription basis. And all that silliness about infringing on "established" businesses. Food trucks get established too! Just because they're not in a brick-and-mortar store doesn't mean they don't have a clientele and a reputation, don't pay taxes and get inspected, just like a restaurant. Get informed, people.

I worked in this part of the Miracle Mile for years. My company did not allow much time for lunch and there wasn't a lot of choices around. However, this boils down to choice and free enterprise. We could go to one of the restaurants, or we could go to the truck. The employees in my company would go to both. But the reality is that many of us are working paycheck to paycheck and to go to Baja Fresh would be more expensive than going to a truck. The trucks are not interfering with the restaurants, they are giving us a choice. In this day and age, thank goodness for the trucks. Don't ban them, and if you are going to create a zone for these trucks, they need to be in an area where the customers can find them. Could you imagine the problems if you put the truck zone on a side street near the residential area?! That would be the nightmare!

Dear Mr. LaBonge,
How bout you leave those folks alone and focus on some bigger issues. Not only are they providing jobs and paying taxes, they are additionally creating a sense of community and cameraderie among the citizens of Los Angeles. We can use all the help we can get to join together.

If Jose and Pepe can sell hamburgers and hotdogs on the street corner (without any licensing or regulation) and Juan can sell corn on the cob in front of my house - I see no problem with licensed food trucks.

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