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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 think new ideas should be given praise and not banned at every turn.
The trucks provide jobs and a need to the public that the restaurants in this city have never been able to provide. They give the public a much needed product for an excellent price and in this economy we need it. Please find a compromise that will work for everyone. Keep the trucks

I dont think they should be banned at work sites. I do believe that they should be banned in residential areas that do not have construction going on. I live in s. whittier and there are roach coaches that park at night in the residential off of meyer/leffingwell to feed the people there that are not working. It creates trash, extra traffic alot of pedestrians getting hit. Just alot of trouble.

How can someone be against food trucks when they have so many good things to offer; great food (tacos, grilled cheese, hot dogs, etc.),employment and they are time savers.
There is nothing wrong with the food trucks. They provide a quick lunch when you don't have too much time to drive and wait in line at a fast food restaurant. The food is good and hot; made to order. They usually have something different and most of the time it will cost you less than what you would pay elsewhere.
From the "lonchera" trucks that I've seen or visited they are fairly clean, they have a small sink inside in which they wash their hands and they provide trash cans/bags for the trash. Some people are just pigs, they will litter no matter where they purchase theyr food.
If someone is going to say that they are worried about cleanliness or food safety from the lunch trucks, you should be worried about the regular restaurants that you visit, you have those problems everywhere. So if you are worried about this you should just prepare your own lunch and be done with it.
Even lunch trucks are graded for their cleanliness, they must have a permit to sell and usually need permission from an establishment before they can park infront or around that place.

While unsightly, food trucks can be fun. And don't we have bigger things to worry about in this city? Jeez...leave 'em alone. Apparently Tom LaBonge doesn't have enough to do....

Posted by: MatthewScott | June 17, 2010 at 09:33 AM

Totally agree with Matthew and these food trucks are LA!

in this town of have and have not's retail store fronts cost way too much money for anyone to get in to except corporations. there for the corporations come in and sell us horrible low quality bad tasting food at high prices. on the other hand these trucks specialize in a certain type of food usually tacos. almost always they are the best place in town to get great mexican food at a super low price. besides if you are bitching about the garbage people leave behind i think you should point your finger at some of the corporations first like jack in the box, mc donalds ect. at least the taco trucks just use one plate if you order in and only wrap it if it's to go and they always have a trash can.

bottom line if you don't like these trucks you have never eaten at one because you are scared to, too bad they are delicious. i am tired of being forced to eat at some crappy fast food places like jack in the box because that is the only thing close to my house that stays open past 9pm. there are more than 9 fast food places within 2 miles from my house and one taco truck that recently got chased off by the police. i am tired of all the fat people walking down my street because of these fast food places, i am tired of the trash, i am tired of the horrible food, i am tired of the horrible customer service, i am tired of the grumpy people that eat there because the food makes them irritable, i am tired of watching the money be funneled out of the community. if you want to target someone target fast food.

I agree with Vanessa. It was only a matter of time before the traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants started getting their napkin rings in a twist over all the new taco trucks. The first area to complain? West Los Angeles’ Mid-Wilshire district, where such fine eating establishments like Toshi’s Fresh Asian, Koo Koo Roo, Baja Fresh and Johnnie’s New York Pizzeria are losing business.

It's not uncommon for local businesses to call the police to report a street vendor when their sales are slipping, as a business owner I am aware of the current financial situation and needs of my customers, and that’s what it boils down to, meeting the needs of the customer! It is obvious that a street vendor has less overhead and can meet those needs. From a consumer perspective authenticity goes a long way- maybe its time some of the restaurants re-vist their menu and follow the fast food model, VALUE, FACE TO FACE, GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE AND FLEXABILITY the taco trucks are doing it- if you don’t know how to compete, you shouldn’t be in business!

Los Angeles is the capital of entrepreneurs we should keep encouraging it!


If they obey the current laws, what's the problem?
If there is an exemption to the parking limits for food trucks, and you want it
to conform to what regular vehicles do, that's fine by me. Let them feed the
meter and abide by the 2 hour limit or whatever it is. And let them provide
a trash can to collect their waste.

Why is the City Council concerned about a few catering trucks when they harbor an entire community of illegal aliens (sorry, undocumented workers) within their city limits, which has a far greater fiscal impact than a few entreprenuers in their catering trucks?

Of course, instead of addressing that problem, let's have the city spend its resources designing and building special parking areas for the catering trucks. The city should be able to do that for the sum of (conservatively speaking) 42.4 million dollars (which is no problem, the city can just take a loan from the DWP's newly discovered financial resources!!!).

The gourmet food trucks make delicious food, bring a group of people together to eat, and have done beneficial things for our community, such as hold a Haiti earthquake fundraiser and contribute to the city via sales taxes.

I think LaBonge needs to focus on more important issues facing Los Angeles, such as violent crime and pollution, and stop wasting taxpayer dollars.

The food trucks are great for everyone who don't have time to travel to go eat good food with value.

Also city generate taxes and fee$ from these truck. Also there are new employment for many people who need JOBS right now.

The problem is the established restaurants lose business. I think if you set a rule for the food trucks to be at least 2 blocks away from restaurants it may work for everyone. Especially for the People of LA.

Food trucks should be allowed to continue operating for the following reasons:

- They reduce the volume of auto traffic on our streets during busy time. 1 food truck parked near a place of work at lunch time can keep dozens of people from getting in their cars alone and driving to food.

- Unlike many fast food options, these are all local small businesses. They promote the local economy by not siphoning money out of our pockets and into those of some big corporation.

- As long as they hold proper permits, obey all posted parking restrictions, and pay if they are in metered spaces, they should not face any additional burdens than any other vehicle. That would be unfair, and more importantly, unconstitutional.

Those truck are inspected and cleaned everyday, loaded with fresh food and prepared at the site. they fill all the requierements of the city, pay the licenses and permits. they are like any other business. They are conviniently parked were they pay the meter and you can have a quick lunch. so why not leave them alone. there are another stablishments arround L.A were the roaches are climbing on the chairs. but who? is complaining to the health deparment.

i support the ban. as a former business owner, i was forced to comply with paying rent, insurance, taxes among other things. alot of the time, these trucks park in front of brick and motar stores that they compete with. There is no over sight of these trucks. no health dept inspection. these trucks park in metered spaces and do not pay the meters. These are city streets that are maintained by the city for the public. There should be a yearly inspection, plus an assesment added to their business license fees for the use of city streets. I am not against the food trucks, but i think they should follow the rules that everyone else has to when operating a food business. Just think of all the extra money that can be generated by the fees. why would anyone want to open a business if these people can squat on public land (i have seen some trucks in the same place for 4 - 5 years)and not have to submit to the same regulations as someone a brick and motar shop. this needs to be fair reasonable for both sides. maybe a city parking permit and sanitation inspection certificate with heavy fines for non-compliance may work.

Yes a few thoughts…..
Councilman Tom LaBonge you have nothing better to do than to pick on the Food Trucks!!! Get out!! If you aren’t happy with how LA is .... The food trucks have been here and will stay!! For Vanessa who lives off abbot kinney you to go back where you came from! I LOVE LA that’s why I moved here! Emily Really I agree with you but REALLY your quote of "aren't needed. This city has enough fast food / restaurants to serve every type of customer." I say that we need them more than ever $$$ is tight right now and they are a great source! If we where to travel to Portland, Oregon or Italia, New York they have a lot more Trucks and a lot more restaurants and they are not complaining. Fred Yes! They do have permits and the same ones every other business do so they have to be legit. Councilman Tom LaBonge is just not happy in LA then get out! So let’s eat!

"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."

I don't see why either of these things would be a problem...

For me it's a health issue: How can I feel safe consuming food that is prepared in a place which has no adequate running water for washing hands, counters and cooking utensils?

No Way. Nope. This is completely absurd, and it sounds like an infringement on the use of public property. No laws are broken by parking a vehicle OR by selling food. Whoever backs this initiative needs to think beyond their own personal annoyances.

Safety, safety, safety,.........that was what LaBonge has said.
Do most of these truckes ran by Latinos?
Arizona laws are in the march!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh - another great idea to make it more difficult for businesses to operate. LaBonge is a liberal who has never owned a business - just another out of touch government fat cat.

I love food trucks. They offer a different eating experience from restaurants, are cheap & quick. I have never gotten sick from them. Can you get sick? Yes of course, but people have gotten sick eating McDonalds food too. I think they are part of the overall cultural landscape of LA/So.Cal. They need permit just like any other restaurants. If LaBonge wants eliminate all our street businesses then he might consider moving to Rancho Cucamonga or some other places where all the eating places are in "nice" strip malls.

Best burritos in town come from those trucks. Why close down hundreds of small businesses? Let them be.

Today, there are at least 12 food trucks along Wilshire. Dont you think that this is a little unfair to the restaurants along the Blvd that were there first? It is like once one see's how well someone else is doing they all appear.. Not right!!

Funny. When it was just a matter of outlawing the taco trucks, nobody cared. Now that we have the Mac-n-Cheese truck and the gelato truck, all of a sudden, everyone is concerned.

Just saying... I actually love the taco trucks and some of the new-fancy trucks.

I love the food trucks. I believe there should be areas that they can park conveniently and safely. They provide a great service to Downtown employees that are tired of the same fare day in and day out. They need to stay!

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