Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children?

Ξ August 30th, 2009 | → 2 Comments | ∇ Food, Politics |

There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about and that is being not talked about. – Oscar Wilde

While most newspaper columnists wax poetically about their children going off to college this time of year, it was nice to catch Pat Morrison’s piece in Saturday’s LA Times proving we’re still relevant bloggers in the minds of a few.  The Mt. Washington resident interviewed County Supervisor (and fellow Mt. Washingtonian) Gloria Molina, to, in part, touch on last year’s taco truck debate:

Were you surprised at the huge reaction against your ordinance cracking down on illegally parked taco trucks?

Absolutely. The people who made it kind of a gag almost certainly don’t know any of the issues. I had a taco truck in front of a school — they wouldn’t move, they just paid the citations and parents complained they were crossing with their children and couldn’t see around them. I had no ability to move it out of there. We spent a lot of years negotiating — “Come on, guys, move on” — and they wouldn’t do it. I remember getting a letter from someone in West Covina who said, “What is wrong with you? There’s nothing better than going into East L.A. and having these wonderful tacos.” [These] weren’t people who had these trucks in their neighborhoods. Why is it they don’t have them in Pasadena on Colorado Boulevard? Because they don’t permit it. I’ve had good meetings with the loncheros and said, “I’m not trying to ruin your business.” [But some operators are] urinating on lawns, making noise, they’re there until 2 or 3 in the morning.

This comment needs to be addressed because we can’t allow Supervisor Molina to portray this issue in hindsight as one of privileged out-of-towners slumming it in East L.A. without regard to the health of local children.  The opposition for her legislation began in her district among her constituents. Furthermore, her characterization of our efforts as a “gag” is not nearly as troubling as minimizing the hundreds of families she was putting out of work.  It’s a shame that Supervisor Molina is preying on emotion by making this an issue about child safety when the debate is ultimately one of economics.  She attempted to please a well-organized group of moneyed businesses by pushing out a competing group of individuals with less money and even less influence.  There is an honest economic discussion to be had here, but the introduction of children into the debate is a shameful scare tactic.  Fortunately, the loncheros have legal council from the UCLA Labor Center and have organized into a lobbying association, which will make it harder for them to be the prey of Big Taco.  Supervisor Molina can call us whatever she wants (“blogosphere alarmists” comes to mind), but like it or not, the loncheros have become a special interest that Southern California politicians would be fools to ignore.


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