Reason.tv: Taco Truck Takedown! Why is the LAPD Harassing Food Carts?

Taco trucks pull up to curbs and offer LA eaters everything from tofu bowls to Korean barbeque. Customers flock to them, and recently so have police officers. Truck owners report being cited for everything from parking too close to curbs to parking too far away. Sometimes officers shut them down.

Why would law enforcement target taco trucks for nuisance violations?

Turns out nearby restaurants don't like the competition.

"Taco Truck Takedown" is produced by Ted Balaker. The director of photography is Alex Manning, the field producer is Paul Detrick and the production associate is Tannen Wels. Music by Magnatune.

Approximately two-and-a-half minutes.

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Related Reason.tv video: Food Fight: Battle of the Bacon Dogs, featuring Drew Carey and a woman who served 45 days in jail for selling something that is simply delicious. 

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  • Fluffy||

    Why not establish what restaurants are placing the complaints, publish a list of them, and then we can call and report random made-up health code violations on those restaurants every day?

    Officer, Officer - I saw a foot-long rat running across the tables!

  • Fluffy||

    Seriously, the libertarian movement really lacks an appropriate level of malice.

  • Kyle Jordan 2.0||

    +∞

    (Filter sucks nuts)

  • ||

    Oh, the malice is there alright.

    It's expressing it in the right amounts so as to not get thrown in jail over something that ends up being Quixotic. But, I like the cut of your jib with this plan.

  • Mango Punch||

    Oh, so reason is now against hard working resurauntuers?

  • ||

    Don't be ridiculous. This isn't about hard working restauranteurs, this is about businesses that are not willing to compete using police harassment to inconvenience the competition instead. It's the failing brick-and-mortar restaurants that are using the regulatory bureaucracy and the police, rather than competing in the marketplace.

  • Kyle Jordan 2.0||

    "Taco Truck Takedown! Why is the LAPD Harassing Food Carts?"

    Because in a dark, smoked filled room high in one of the LA's skyscrapers, sits Ronald McDonald, The Burger King, The ghost of Dave Thomas, Jack, The Real Carl Jr., Pizza the Hut, The Noid, and Papa John around a table. Bowing before them is the LA Chief of Police, ready to do there bidding.

  • Spelling Kow||

    ready to do there their bidding

  • @||

    Perhaps the establishments, burdened with obnoxious regulations, licenses and other impediments, feel abused by those taco trucks that literally fly by night?

  • ||

    The solution is never to reassess or streamline the existing regulations. It's always to pile more on top of everything else.

  • @||

    To do otherwise would be to acknowledge error. When was the last time a regulator admitted he was wrong?

  • ||

    The food vending trucks are burdened with the same regulations, licenses, inspections, etc, as the brick-and-mortar restaurants. They pay taxes like any other business. Just because their business is on wheels does not make them fly-by-night.

  • ||

    I am completely on the side of the street vendors; they are one the most persecuted entrepreneurs of our time. These people are what free-wheeling laissez-faire is about!

    So many of today's big businesses started out as a guy peddling goods and services on the street: Sears for example. But, it isn't surprising that these businesses are being attacked; after all, the established restaurants don't want anyone to rock the boat, right?

    If we are going to complain about who is affected by regulations, it is these vendors that are burdened. I don't think the restaurants have too much difficulty passing/bribing inspection.

    Often times regulation favors established businesses. Let us not forget that. The libertarian defends the newcomer; the conservative defends those who already have succeeded.

    I'm all for repealing these regulations; but, I'm doing it for the vendors, not the established restaurants.

    Every businessman is a mercantilist at heart.

  • ||

    I'm all for repealing these regulations; but, I'm doing it for the vendors, not the established restaurants.

    I'm for repealing the onerous regulatory burden for everybody in the prepared food retail business and letting the chips fall where they may.

    I have this philosophical consistency thing going.

  • ||

    Please forgive my vagueness; I never meant that I would leave the regulations on the established businesses. I'm in favor of removing the burden on everyone.

    What I meant was that I my main concern is how it affects the newcomers. Established restaurants probably don't have it easy, but they probably have an easier time with them.

  • ||

    Besides, you heard them; their competition (the restaurants) are selling unwanted goods and jacked up prices. Some of it is probably due to regulatory burden and taxes. But, I think it comes down to an attempt to con the laws of supply and demand.

  • ||

    Besides, you heard them; their competition (the restaurants) are selling unwanted goods and jacked up prices. Some of it is probably due to regulatory burden and taxes. But, I think it comes down to an attempt to con the laws of supply and demand.

  • Spartacus||

    Whay is the LAPD harassing food carts?

    Because they can.

  • ||

    Why would law enforcement target taco trucks for nuisance violations?

    Turns out nearby restaurants don't like the competition.

    I'll bet it also turns out that certain taco trucks aren't, err, adequately expressing their appreciation for the Boys in Blue.

  • ||

    Whay is the LAPD harassing food carts?

    They're a bunch of badge-kissing, self-important twits. That's why.

  • ||

    I guessing there must be a sudden shortage of REAL crime for the cops to deal with. Either that or they have become scared of real criminals!

    Jess
    www.privacy-tools.de.tc

  • Spartacus||

    Whay is the LAPD harassing food carts?

    Goddammit. When are you guys going to get a preview function around here?

  • skr||

    I think the real reason is to raise revenue. There was a piece on the news out here last night about a new proposal to raise revenue. It seems the DWP keeps a database of the locations of dog owners on each meter checker's route. The city wants to use that database to crackdown on unlicensed dogs which they estimate to be 80% of dogs. The city spokesperson said that in tough times they have to get creative with revenues. I suggest everyone here in LA start setting their parking brakes when they park on city streets if that is the way they are going to be.

  • Corey||

    I got ticket in West Hollywood just yesterday for not turning my wheels the appropriate number of degrees toward the curb on a downslope. Turns out the regulations say 30 degrees where I had turned my wheels about 10 degrees toward the curb. $20 for the city of West Hollywood.

  • Anonymous Backstabber||

    Korean BBQ tacos SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOD

  • ||

    In case you are in or near NYC: Seoul Station

    Really nice guys, too.

  • Anonymous Backstabber||

    I was thinking of Los Angeles' Kogi BBQ truck.

  • ||

    I read about it. I wish I had roving Korean food trucks. We do have three Korean restaurants... which is not bad for Kentucky.

  • ||

    PIGS. They are like libertarian kryptonite. If there is something we enjoy, they are bound to fuck it up.

  • kinnath||

    You got some problem with Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain?

  • ||

    It wouldn't be so bad if they, you know, actually focused on crimes with victims. But, if men were angels...

    Meanwhile, in the real world:
    -they consfiscate drugs from peaceful users, arrest them...and probably smoke/snort/shoot-up on the side.
    -beat up anybody who isn't white and rich, or at least in office
    -Search without warrants, thanks to the PATRIOT act
    -ticket black people for speeding...while letting all the white speeders off with a warning
    -pull out guns at a snowball fight

    A complete list would fill a book. I now understand why "real" (ie anti-capitalist) anarchists hate the police so much.

  • White Speeder||

    I have gotten my share of speeding tickets. In fact, nearly every time I ever got pulled over for speeding, I got a ticket, not a warning.

  • Tsu Dho Nihm||

    Another reason they're being targeted is that they don't have to pay the property tax for a business/retail zone. Governments aren't able to legally steal as much from the taco trucks as from the ol' brick-and-mortar shops.

  • robc||

    They have to pay property tax on the vehicle.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    I expect some whiny pussy to try and point out: "The streets and sidewalks are a public right of way! It is up to the users to determine the acceptable use!"

    I will say fuck you, as long as its public property it is there for anyone to do as they wish, and if you don't like it, the simple solution is for the streets and sidewalks to be privately owned.

  • ||

    If libertarians had their way, taco trucks would not exist.

    Taco trucks exist only because we have publicly owned streets and street parking. There are no taco trucks parked next to the food court at the mall - the free market choices made by the mall owner drives them out.

    If you privatized the roads, parking spaces would be used for business patrons, not for setting up competing businesses that do not share the costs.

  • Fluffy||

    This is true, but it would be balanced by the fact that large areas of low-density suburban development would also not exist, and that would destroy a lot of chain restaurants so losing the taco trucks would be an acceptable trade-off.

  • Fluffy||

    I think I also should point out that there is such a thing as vacant lots, and many of those vacant lots would probably be pressed into service as open-air fora or agora - the property owner could quickly and easily monetize the vacant space by allowing transient or temporary vendors to set up there.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    I see taco trucks pull in to factory and construction site parking lots all the time. I also quite often see seasonal vendors utilizing parking lots in front of retail establishments, some type of agreement being worked out no doubt.

  • robc||

    Yep, some businesses negotiate with vendors to get them to come on site (one client I was working at subsidized purchases from a sandwich shop that delivered in order to encourage employees to eat lunch at their desk and take shorter lunches).

  • Colonel_Angus||

    That's a good idea, but it will never convince me to mix food and work. Its not sanitary and not enjoyable. During my lunch, I intend on using my full time allotted and then some, and will be nowhere to be found.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    The best soft pretzels I ever ate came through the parking lot where I worked one summer in college. Hot, fresh pretzels right off the truck.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Right, because absolutely no business owner would ever rent out space to a vendor.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: tomhynes,

    If libertarians had their way, taco trucks would not exist.

    Totally correct - there would be instead taco mobile houses.

    Taco trucks exist only because we have publicly owned streets and street parking.

    I thought they existed because there IS demand for tacos, but I guess it is because one can park anywhere. That's how business works then, I guess.

    There are no taco trucks parked next to the food court at the mall - the free market choices made by the mall owner drives them out.

    It is actually more of a liability (i.e. stupid government interventionism) issue. In Mexico, the only thing a taco stand or ANY stand needs to do is just rent the space from the proprietor.

    If you privatized the roads, parking spaces would be used for business patrons, not for setting up competing businesses that do not share the costs.

    Well, the question then becomes: Would they operate in privatized streets if they shared the costs?

    Because you have not said anything that would absolutely preclude taco stands from existing in a libertarian, purely private property society.

  • JD||

    Given that in many cities, the sidewalks are private property and yet there are still food carts on them, I would venture to say that argument holds zero water.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Technically speaking, the private sidewalks are usually zoned with a public right of way easement that requires the owner to maintain it while the city actually governs its use. Not that there wouldn't be carts and panhandlers if the sidewalk were owned outright.

  • ||

    Why would you say that? I'm sure that some owners of a section of road would be more than willing to rent out some space for the vendors-same for parking spaces. The money would be used to pay for upkeep-as would toll boths for drivers.

    Some roads, lots, and parking spaces could also be owned on a cooperative basis. Such a model works well for a number of enterprises. Why would asphalt surfaces be any different?

    Then there is another option; some roads could be set aside as part of the commons. Common law would help regulate the use.

    In other words, privatizing the roads doesn't have to mean the end of streetside vendors.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Private streets don't necessarily mean tolls. Going way back in history, streets and roads were often owned and maintained by adjacent property owners while basically being available for use by all. Trade roads could be considered owned and maintained by the merchants using them despite whatever government was trying to control and tax their use. In the present day there are tons of "private roads" off the main roads that form the access for businesses and parking lots. Private streetcar operators were often required to maintain the public streets that they used, in theory I could see how a streetcar operator could own the street outright without having a monopoly on the transportation method. The key is access easements (contracts negotiated between property owners) established by precedents formed from historic use.

  • Don||

    Taco is a euphemism for female genitalia and it's obvious what bacon dogs represent. Selling this to children conditions them to have sex or become prostitutes.

    Chocolate bars?? would you let your child eat a chocolate bar--where will that lead--a toilet in a gay bar??

    People should only be allowed to eat raw vegetables, or grass, like in N Korea.

    We must save the children by putting them in prison for smoking, being fat or taking photos of themselves naked.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Black Taco?

  • ||

    Choco Taco.

  • Spartacus||

    I'm not even gonna ask about the Volcano Taco.

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