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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)

These truck should be banned. They take up parking that we really dont have. They are nasty and roach and rat infested any way. What is the point. I dont want to eat what the rats and roaches eat!

LaBonge clearly hates LA, small business, and entrepreneurs. LA has always created trends and movements that sweep the nation, and old out of step guys like LaBonge always do their best to fight them. He is a disgrace to our city.

It's a matter of choice....not for La Bonge to choose...he's just a politician and that bears no merit at all...

If you think the food is better on "The Roach Coach", then that's your call...the food and speed to use it might be better. The restaurant may not have what you want and it might be busier to get your food. When you are on your lunch hour, you basically have 22 minutes to shovel it in before it's 1pm....most of the time when I was downtown, I'd choose "The Roach Coach" because there were soo many of them and smaller lines and cheaper...plus, they were putting coins in the meters they were occupying..so, the city is getting paid for the spots they were taking.

I think they are disgusting. They make areas look blighted.
.
Ban them.

People are just trying to make a living...Los Angeles banning food trucks is as bad as LADOT ticketing us for minor infractions just to generate revenue during this horrible economy. We're in a recession for goodness sake. Give us a break...

There are bigger fish to fry than the ones in the food trucks, dude. How about you get the budget under control first, then we'll tackle the menance that is the food truck industry?

Excuse me Tom, but WHY is this suddenly an issue? I smell somethin' nasty cooking and it ain't food!

Tom LaBonge IS A HERO. YOU GOT MY VOTE.
FOOD TRUCKS HAVE DESTROYED THE CITY.
THEY THROW TRASH ON THE STREETS.
THE VENDORS BRING CHAIRS AND OFTEN BLAST THEIR RADIOS.
PEOPLE LINE UP ON THE STREET AND URINATE AND DEFECATE NEARBY. IT MAKES THE CITY LOOK LIKE A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY.

THE SANITARY IS ALSO QUESTIONABLE ABOUT THESE TRUCKS. THEY HAVE LIMITED RUNNING WATER AND ONE WONDERS WHAT THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT IS DOING TO MAINTAIN THIS.

A LOT OF THESE TRUCKS ALSO ILLEGALLY SELL ALCOHOL DISCRETELY.

THESE ARE CASH BUSINESSES. DO THEY PAY THEIR TAXES?
THEY DON'T GIVE YOU RECEIPTS AND ITS CASH BUSINESS.


OTHER CITIES LIKE SANTA CLARITA BANNED THEM.
YOU DON'T SEE THEM IN MALIBU.

ONLY IN CITIES THAT DON'T CARE, ALLOW THESE.

LA AND THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY HAVE BEEN DESTROYED BY THESE TRUCKS.

THEY ATTRACT TROUBLE. PERIOD AND BRING REAL ESTATE PRICES DOWN.


Forget all the parking hype. Putting a few quarters in the meter will always be cheaper than paying rent in a brick and mortar building. I'd be more concerned with the health standards of the person preparing and serving my food. Next time you're stuffing your face with some of that gourmet fare from a mobile roach coach ask yourself one question: Does the dude who just handled my food look like the kind of guy who washed his hands after leaving the rest room at the gas station, or is he just in hurry to get to the next parking meter? Who knows? Maybe that's the special ingredient that gives all that delicious "colorful" food its extra special flavor. I'm not saying it doesn't happen in a sit down restaurant, but I do think the standards are higher there.

I am business owner and it really hurts my business, I pay high rent to have a location and it really is hard to stay in business when someone doesn't have over head cost, so I am for it to ban the food trucks or have a location where they have to pay for the space too just like every other business.

learn how to cook yourself and realize how not so important food trucks are

Just an example of busybody government officials interfering with our freedom.

A food truck is more more cost effective than a restaurant, with high overhead in a City like L.A. Those with little money need cheap eats.

If you examine it, you will find that it is the folks with money that are opposed, as they can afford restaurant meals.

Anyone who's against this proposal has clearly not found a food truck they love. I agree with Vanessa that food trucks are part of LA character. They're a social place where you interact with everyone from day-laborers to corporate officers.

I do agree that truck owners need to take responsibility for trash and clean up of the area and most do. The mess after first Friday on Abbott Kinney is not solely because of the food trucks. I've lived in Venice for four years, and I would argue that the food trucks have contributed to the popularity of First Friday. I'm sure they help encourage people to stay longer and I doubt there are many businesses on Abbott Kinney that would want them banned.

The only valid complaint I see here is the trash that's left after the trucks leave. However, the trash left in the street is not the responsibility of the trucks. It's the responsibility of the patrons who throw it there.

Solution: fine litterers. The revenue collected should cover the cost of the extra police needed, and then some.

I find it illuminating that most of the anti-food truck opinions are based on such ignorance as to the current state of regulation, basic economic theory, pure ethnic bias, and existing state laws precluding the "banning" of food trucks.

Food trucks are subject to ridiculously high (and frequently inconsistent and unfair) regulatory barriers. Some of the mid-level bureaucrats consistently violate due-process norms.

In terms of economics, food trucks aren't even competing with most restaurants. Restaurants don't see food, they sell service and ambiance. Anyone who has ever done analysis of restaurant revenues versus various inputs, including food quality, knows this. Food trucks really compete with people bringing their own lunches.

If a restaurant is losing business to a food truck it means that the restaurant is a failure that is somehow being sustained by some captive audience. Food trucks, due to improved technology enabling clean, efficient high-level food preparation, are changing the value of an office-building restaurant tenancy. A lousy restaurateur cannot simply purchase the right to feed people low-quality food, slowly, at a high price. So commercial real property owners or management companies may have to reduce their rent because they cannot sell a captive audience.

But let's think about this. People actually are in support of a Las Vegas-style model of making it impossible to get competing goods or services? How is that in anyone's interest other than people who own big business and politicians who take their money?

It seems to me that people who are anti gourmet food trucks are anti-choice, anti-freedom, and anti-market. They are probably against just about everything that doesn't give them something for nothing or more control. We all know the types who sit on condo boards or try and run for neighborhood councils. So one can dismiss their opinions on that ground.

Memo to those calling for a "ban." That's precluded by a state law. So, yes, you do sound uninformed.

The issue is whether a city councilman should be pushing for a probably illegal measure that is an attempt to restrain trade in favor of an already favored constituency. If the food trucks (highly regulated already) were not delivering a good for a fair price then they wouldn't exist. Labonge has made things worse by a) being dishonest about what is in the motion and b) explaining that he's just anti-mobile society (what is this, the 1930s?) and for community (at 5700 Wilshire? it is an office building).

This is a no brainer. The anti-truck minority's commentary reinforces that conclusion.

no, no, noooo! I work on Grand and there is a truck that has been there for years. We need to keep that one!!

I have to say it isn't fair to those businesses that pay rent and try to run a resturant while these guys park and put coins in a meter taking their business offering lower prices because of much lower overhead. Soon you will be seeing empty buildings along these streets and people will complain about the economy when in fact its these "Roach Coaches"

I grew up in LA and have always eaten at food trucks. I don't see what harm they bring to the city. Is the argument that restaurants are hurt by the food trucks? If so, try making better food then them or have a more attractive price. But for the city to ban a business because it hurts another business, just seems wrong.

All these trucks are toxic waste dumps of bacteria and grade-Z food.
They are a blight on the community, pay no taxes, employ illegals and purchase food from black-market trucks from Mexico.
They take business away from legitimate employers and tax-paying restaurants.
They always - ALWAYS leave behind a pile of filth and garbage that the City has to clean up.
Ban them all and impound the trucks of violators. This is the USA, not some third world rathole.

Should L.A. ban food trucks from parking on city streets?

√NO

The truck owners have an unfair advantage over their competitors- they only have to cover a truck payment whereas the restaurant owner is paying rent- this particularly unfair in areas such as Miracle Mile where rents are high. Do the trucks have to carry workers comp?
Probably not- ban the trucks or restrict them to certain areas where they do not compete with existing restaurants.

Sorry, businesses who are paying rent or invested in a location should not have to suffer loss of business to a mobile business parking by their address.
Put yourself in the position of these stationary eateries. This should not be allowed.

no they should stay I dont see why they need to go unless its really creating aproblem for the community or traffic. other than that they should stay

no they should stay I dont see why they need to go unless its really creating aproblem for the community or traffic. other than that they should stay

With all the ridiculous rules that the L.A. county health department and the building and safety department inspectors demand when someone embarks on opening a restaurant, these lunch trucks have it easy. Every 3 to 6 months a health inspector visits an establishment and grades it. Has anyone seen a grade on a lunch truck? However, these lunch trucks have very little contact with health department inspectors, let alone when they charge a patron and not wash their hands. They don't provide restrooms especially to their workers. It's also questionable when and how much sales tax do they pay to the state. Many of these lunch trucks have substandard hygiene and suseptible to rodent and insect infestation.
Thank you councilmember Tom LeBonge, I hope that you will be able to contain these facilities.

 
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