To celebrate this year’s May Day we’re announcing Taco Truck Night. Take your family, your friends, or anybody else who loves tacos. Go out, get some carne asada or al pastor and support your local hard working taco vendor.
While you’re there be sure to hand out some posters and tell your fellow Angelenos what’s happening to our beloved Taco Trucks.
If you’re unsure where to go, or just want to try something new, check out The Great Taco Hunt for suggestions. And of course, check out SaveOurTacoTrucks.org for more information.
(Photo courtesy Luis E. Cerezo)
We recently heard back from Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina regarding her proposed taco truck legislation. Unsatisfied with the response, we here at YORK BLVD. have crafted an open letter below. Read it and let us know what you think. Better yet, write your own to Supervisor Molina.
Thank you for contacting my office to express your views regarding the
proposed changes to the Los Angeles County peddling ordinance. Please be
aware that this ordinance is effective only in the unincorporated areas
of Los Angeles County. The proposed changes to the ordinance allow peddlers to remain in one location in a commercial zone for one hour. The current ordinance permits 30 minutes in one location. For your information, vending from a sidewalk has never been permitted in Los Angeles County. Our ordinance will protect the health and welfare of our residents and respect the needs of our business community.
If you require additional assistance with a County-related matter, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (323) 881-4601.
Sincerely, GLORIA MOLINA
Supervisor, First District
Dear Supervisor Molina,
Thank you for responding to our concerns regarding your recent ordinance affecting taco trucks in Los Angeles County. As residents of Northeast Los Angeles, we wholeheartedly support a thriving business community that includes “brick and mortar” restaurants. While we understand there are many conflicting interests involved, we are concerned the measures passed by the board of supervisors do not best promote the health and welfare of our community. Forcing hard working men and women, who we object to being classified as “peddlers,” to move too frequently to earn a sustainable income is not an effective means of addressing the health needs of the community. If the aim of this ordinance is the health of the community, you might consider stepping up inspections and more diligent enforcement of existing health codes. If the aim is to improve the welfare of the community, find a compromise that allows more established businesses to reasonably coexist with nascent restaurateurs and other local business owners. Criminalizing these vendors, for what previously was essentially a parking violation, fails to acknowledge the reality that these vendors are an established institution of Los Angeles County and provide an affordable option for families unable to afford sit-down restaurants. Additionally, the culture and community created by taco trucks is enormously beneficial to a neighborhood’s welfare, as it brings people out on otherwise abandoned streets.
Furthermore, the fact that this ordinance only affects trucks in unincorporated Los Angeles County is of no comfort, as we fear this legislation will open the door for similar ordinances that affect us more directly in the future.
If you truly feel that the honest and hardworking families who work in these taco trucks are detrimental to the community under current regulations, we would urge you to find a compromise that better serves your constituents as well as your business interests. A healthy compromise, that allows restaurants to compete without eliminating taco trucks from the landscape, could include preventing the trucks from parking within a specific distance of an open restaurant. Please consider how this ordinance will affect all of your constituents before removing something so loved in our neighborhoods.
It’s been a busy weekend for the Yorkblvd duo. The save our taco trucks campaign is a hit and has taken on a life of its own. Still, we’ve found time for the important things: A few beers at the York, a burrito at La Estrella on York (which I’ve decided is significantly better than the stand on Figueroa), and Chilaquiles at Antigua (the only thing I may love about that place more than the beautiful and friendly employees). It was at the latter where I ran across a poster advertising something called the “Highland Park Transit Village”. The developers, McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS), are proposing to build condominiums, townhouses, and commercial space that could house a satellite branch of East Los Angeles City College on the public parking lots between Figueroa and the Gold Line between Avenues 56 & 59. (See the proposal on page 6 of this pdf)
Fortunately, I was able to meet Antonio Bermudez, a project manager for MBS, at Antigua and chat with him a little about the project. Mr. Bermudez seemed genuinely excited by Highland Park’s potential. He promised a certain amount of affordable housing, a continued presence managing the property to avoid some of the pitfalls of affordable housing, and underground public parking. Obvious benefits could include a renaissance in the somewhat blighted “Paseo Figueroa” district, increased property value, and increased investment in the community. Still, there is valid community tension here. Rumors are spreading that the development will be 4 stories tall (twice as tall as any nearby building save the Highland Theatre), not fit into the architectural aesthetic of Highland Park, and that increased density could exacerbate crime, making it more difficult for police to patrol. We’ve sent an email requesting an email Q&A with Mr. Bermudez but if you want more personal answers, MBS will be hosting a community forum on the development Wednesday, April 30th at the Ebell Club (131 S. Ave 57 90042) at 6:00 PM. Neither of us may be able to attend because of work commitments but if someone wanted to let us know how it goes, we’d love a first hand report.