Friday, March 4, 2011

San Francisco Restaurants use Police to Fight Food Trucks

Restaurants are calling the police when food trucks get close. Is this the best use of the Police? You tell me.


Restaurants, Food Trucks in Turf War


A food fight is breaking out in downtown San Francisco, with a group of restaurants squaring off against an incursion of food trucks that they say pose unfair competition.

The rift broke out a month ago after a food-truck vendor called JapaCurry began parking in front of restaurants in a South of Market neighborhood, selling to-go meals during the busy lunch hour. "They just showed up right in front of us, and didn't even ask," said Jasmine Tran, a clerk at Tart to Tart, a bakery café on Mission Street. "It hurt our business, definitely."

Lori Eanes for The Wall Street Journa

A dozen other nearby restaurants in the Mission and Second Street area signed a Jan. 21 complaint to San Francisco police asking to keep the vendor from parking so close to them. The complaint prompted the police to revoke JapaCurry owner Jay Hamada's permit for that street. Mr. Hamada disputes that he posed a business threat because his menu of mostly Japanese curry dishes isn't offered at any of the area's restaurants.

"I feel sorry, but I don't think I'm taking their customers," said the 40-year-old Mr. Hamada, who started his mobile curry business in November with a $100,000 investment.

Meanwhile, restaurateurs have expressed concern about a possible onslaught of food trucks under a new city ordinance designed to promote their growth. Some 65 to 70 currently ply the streets, according to a city official."

Click here to read the rest of the article

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Food Truck Task Farce….

Reprinted by permission of Matt Geller

"MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28TH, 2011...7:04 PM
Food Truck Task Farce….

Last Wednesday the Los Angeles City Council, Transportation Committee met to discuss a CLA (Chief Legislative Analysis) report concerning food trucks in Los Angeles.

 The report claims to be a product of the “Food Truck Task Force,” (created to work with the City to create substantive municipal code revisions concerning food trucks).

The CLA report claims that the task force met “several times.” This is completely inaccurate, the task force met twice. In those two meetings, we only discussed substantive policy for about 30 minutes (out of six hours). The rest of the time was spent listening to competition complaints from Business Improvement Districts (BIDs)and some safety complaints from residents in the Beverly Glen area. Safety issues are a completely valid discussion topic as this is required by State law to make regulations. Competition issues are a waste of time and can not be taken into consideration when drafting new regulations.

The CLA recommendations were handed out at the second meeting and we had an opportunity to briefly discuss some of the bullet points. Almost all of the “new” additions to the code are already in the LA municipal code. The one substantive addition was a regulation that would only allow one truck per block. The CLA claimed that there are public safety concerns when food trucks congregate. However, they did not provide one actual example of public safety peril regarding multiple food trucks. Instead they used possible scenarios that were put forth by BIDs who are more concerned with regulating competition and limiting consumer choice.

CLA- public safety claims:

Trash: There is already a regulation concerning trash. To our knowledge there has not been one citation issued for a violation of 80.73 (b)2(E) which regulates trash pick up around trucks.

Limiting the free flow of traffic: This is Los Angeles, the “free flow of traffic” is always limited.

Blocking views: Are we going to limit UPS, FED EX, USPS, RVs and busses on all blocks as well?

Distract drivers: Seriously? How about we get rid of electric billboards.

Cause people to park illegally or conduct illegal maneuvers: So because people allegedly park illegally or make illegal U-turns to eat at food trucks, the City has to create a restrictive regulation for food trucks? Totally nonsensical.

Fail to abide by parking regulations: Not a public safety concern.

This report shows a total disregard for State law requirements for creating regulations. It looks like Tom LaBonge’s office wrote it. The CLA is supposed to be a neutral party.

Luckily, Councilman Alarcon, a voice of reason on the Transportation Committee hearing pointed out the ridiculousness of the report. He then suggested that the Food Truck Task Force reconvene and work on what it was created to work on: Substantive code revisions for food truck regulations.

Thanks Councilman Alarcon, your leadership and foresight on this matter is unparalleled.

By the way, Councilman Tom LaBonge didn’t even bother to show up to the Transportation Committee hearing even though he is the Vice Chairman and the driving force for new food truck regulations. Additionally, his office instructed the Department of Transportation to cite food trucks on Wilshire for every possible violation they could think of.

Please help us get Stephen Box (Candidate for the 4th district) elected. It’s the only way to protect this industry from LaBonge and his Museum Square cohorts."

Related article: Stephen Box for LA City Council
Stephen Box for LA City Council