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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)

NO! Why would you do that? You will be taking out another "FUN" part of LA.

Food trucks give tourist another reason why they want to visit LA.

I used to own one of those trucks and I tell you one thing: Profit is everything therefore we would NEVER throw anything away, we would make it into tomorrow's special, were we ever check by the health department? never, we could be serving dog, and (as long as it was cheap) people would eat it. Think about it

I absolutely think the food trucks are an integral part of LA culture. The city needs to embrace this and figure out a way to not alienate entrepreneurs as they are doing with this bill. Ridiculous, figure it out for them instead of trying to shut down innovation.

The Labonge notion of "the village" is rigid, fascistic, and out of date. Many times we find these trucks parked near bars where there is no food within walking distance. A little food helps mitigate the effects of alcohol-a good thing in a town where everybody drives.

They should include Trailer parking on residential streets. It makes it very difficult driving nevertheless getting out of a residential street onto a main street with children present. As for Food trailers, they should only be present when employers allow them too within their own company parking lots, not on the street. It is hazardous to drivers, pedestrians and also polute ocean waters...as if we need more things polutting our oceans.

i hate food trucks - it's unsanitary and takes up space, slows traffic and very annoying to have in my neighborhood.

Some of the comments here are amazingly stupid and naive. Los Angeles City Council members clearly need to focus on the real issues of government such as the budget, crime, lack of city services, monitoring the out of control management of the Department of Water & Power, etc, etc, etc!!! For those trying to imply that there are food handling safety issues or truck owners are not paying taxes...what makes you think a fixed location owner is honest enough to pay their fair share of taxes and certainly we know that some of them have very dirty kitchens as evidenced by the ratings in their windows and closures.

City gov't should be facilitating business, competition, and free enterprise. This is such a non-issue when compared to the real problems facing the city; homelessness, funding schools & libraries, providing viable public transportation, let alone balancing a budget! As stated before, food trucks are licensed, taxed, & inspected. Let the people decide; with their money! This is America, remember? If you don't like a business, don't patronize them. If people really don't want the trucks then they wouldn't have any customers.

LaBonge should try taking on something that *creates* jobs.

I agree with him ban the food trucks and make them pay taxes.

Oh, boy! Here we go again! You guys must not have anything else to do other than to think who and how to screw someone.

If the truck (company) pays the DMV fees, license fees and taxes why the hell are you thinking of hurting them?

I work for a trucking company and I don't think that anyone at any government level really knows or understand the damage caused to this industry.

I think it's time to start voting people out of office.

Please get off the backs of these food venders. The restaurants need to feel some heat and the public needs the service and food provided by these businesses.

It is not up to patrons to take pity on restaurants that can't compete with trucks. If trucks are taking away a restaurant's business, the restaurant should consider why that is. Maybe your food isn't good, maybe your prices are too high. Competitors don't "take away" business, they provide a better alternative. Customers drive the business. For LaBonge to say he ate at a food truck as a kid (which obviously was a looong while ago) shows that he is out of touch. Those of us whom are ecstatic to have a variety of tasty food options at decent prices, would like to see the trucks stay. Also, L.A. is at the forefront of this mobile truck trend and thanks to us, it's catching fire in cities across the country. This is not a fad, it's a new way of providing great food options to people who want it.

Ghetto, causes traffic jams, not regulated, cuts in on local businesses, ban them.

Keep the trucks!

First of all for those of you that are arguing that "these trucks are taking away business from local establishments":

We live in a CAPITALIST society. It's up to the people to have a CHOICE where they want to spend their hard-earned money. That's just the way it is. If you don't like choice go back thirty years and live in the USSR where you're choices are bread or nothing.

As far as "there's trash everywhere because of these trucks":

The food truck personnel are not responsible for the irresponsible clients that want to be dirty. I personally don't care about the trash but the responsibility is on the hands of the clients. Those of you using this argument should stop buying oil from BP or any other corporation that pollutes the world or you're a HYPOCRITE. :D

They should ban the trucks with options that just in case the restaurants start over charging the customers that they could go back and use these trucks.

Leave them alone. As long as they have their permits and pay their fees, they should be able to do business. I have been thankful for them being around when my kids are thirsty and hungry when I am out doing what i need to do with them by my side. They are not as crazy with their prices like some restraunts either. Isnt there more important things to worry about and fix in the city?

Of course not. There might reasonably be regulations governing the scope of their activities, such as requiring them to leave the areas where they park clean afterward or preventing them from parking before residences at late hours, but to ban them outright would be destructive to capitalism and to the culture of Los Angeles.

Your article is very imbalanced & 1-sided. There are no interviews with restaurant owners who have been in place in the neighborhoods for years and deserve the neighborhood lunch business more than itinerant food peddlers. Not did you adequately address the use of public parking meters for doing business, overstaying the legal limit and depriving the shopping public of parking spaces, nor did you say anything about what's being done about the illegal activity that is part & parcel of this situation. I think you owe the other side another article stating their case more failry.

Tom LaBonge is right. The food trucks create big problems for the neighborhoods where they park. Most of them don't clean up the trash their customers throw on the sidewalks and streets. And contrary to the argument that they produce tax revenue, many of these trucks pay little or none of the taxes they legally should. Because it's a cash business, it's easy for them to claim they are making little money, and to fleece us taxpayers. Once again, these are businesses that capitalize the profits, while socializing the costs (forcing neighbors to clean up after them, etc.). If you are willing to have a food truck parked right in front of your house, then okay, go ahead. But I don't want one parked in front of my house. And I'm guessing that some of the biggest proponents of food trucks are people who lived in gated communities and suburban areas where they would call in the SWAT Team if a food truck ever pulled up to the curb!

Ban them.

And while you are at it, ban the illegal advertising banners on trailers parked on city streets. And the overpriced fruit-stand scams.

There is garbage, sidewalk congestion, people dashing across busy streets to get to these "eateries."

It all gives LA that out-of-control appearance of a third-world city.

Let the consumer choose. The only reason the food truck exist is because the consumer is willing to pay for their food. Government bans will only limit choice and increase restaurant prices because of less competition.

I believe that food trucks are a great alternative to the archaic fast food industry. They are safe to eat from, being that all food truck companies need to pass health code inspection, all employees must be trained in food safety, hygiene, and other areas similar to restaurant food training. They are a significant facet of LA food culture and it would be unfortunate to limit this growing food trend, just because a councilman thinks it would be better to eliminate them. I would really like to see his reasons for argument. Also, by prohibiting food trucks, we are once again hampering small business owners to make a living for themselves and the employees that work for them. We don't need more restrictions in this already heavily restricted job market. If unemployment wasn't in the double digits, then there might be some weight to the councilman's proposal. If your going to enforce something on them, just make sure they are following the laws and paying for metered spots, and working with the local communities to make sure that the food trucks aren't infringing on neighborhoods, like some fast food and big box retailers.

For me it's an issue of health. How can I feel safe when food is prepared in an invironment which has no adequate running water for preparer to wash hands and utensils?

FOOD TRUCKS, IN THE STREET IS WRONG....DO THEY HAVE THE RIGHT HEAT FOR THE FOOD...YES PLEASE BAN THEM...I AGREE..ALSO BAN PEOPLE SELLING FOOD ON CORNERS, WERE DO THEY PREPARE THE FOOD? WERE DO THEY WASH THEIR HANDS?

No, they should not ban them. My husband works on many construction sites all over the city and him and the other guys would starve without these trucks. And, surprisingly, the food is really good on most of them. Come on, these trucks have been around forever and they serve a purpose. Do we have to ban everything now?

 
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