El Paso Food Trucks Fight Back

In El Paso, Texas, it's illegal for food trucks to sell within 1,000 feet of a bricks-and-mortar restaurant, convenience store, or grocer. Which, as you might guess, doesn't leave a lot of territory:

The always righteous Institute for Justice filed suit yesterday. The El Paso case is slated to be the first in a nationwide initiative in defense of food trucks, carts, and other purveyors of calories on wheels.

Watch IJ's video about some of the vendors that are affected by the law here. (Sample quote: "We not living on welfare or anything. Work and work and work. If it's a crime to work, I guess I'm a criminal.")

Reason has been all over the illegal mobile food beat.

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  • Jozef||

    They shouldn't complain. It still leaves more space to sell than sex offenders have to live in Atlanta...

  • ||

    Yeah. That's a fair comparison. Totally.

  • Warty||

    joe from Lowell says:
    September 16th, 2010 at 9:38 am
    Matt,

    Don’t get suckered by the IJ. They seize on cute, fuzzy poster boys in order to push radical changes to the law in the service of corporate deregulation.

    “Simply put, the government is not allowed to require people to get a license in order to talk.”

    Simply put, this outfit is committed to eliminating the distinction between commercial speech and individual speech.

  • Number 2||

    "Simply put, this outfit is committed to eliminating the distinction between commercial speech and individual speech."

    And that is a bad thing because....??

  • DRM||

    Go on, read the stuff the New York Times Company prints, and try to tell me it'd actually be a bad idea to take away the right of that corporation to publish stuff intended to affect public policy.

  • ||

    Simply put, this outfit is committed to eliminating the distinction between commercial speech and individual speech.

    Preach it, joe! Its right there in the Constitution, after all:

    Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of individual, but not commercial speech, or of the press provided the press owned by an individual, and is not used for commercial purposes.

  • Number 2||

    But RC, that is exactly what is says in my desktop copy of the Living and Breathing Constitution For Intelligent People! At least for now..until it breathes in again.

  • ||

    This is why joe can never come back; he will be destroyed. It's both a pleasure and a shame. That one day he tried to come back was pretty funny, though. And brutal. Very brutal.

  • Warty||

    I would take our endless parade of SM-level trolls over joe. At least there's variety in their idiocy.

  • cynical||

    "At least there's variety in their idiocy handles."

    FIFY

  • robc||

    Speaking of joe, whats with the Editors Note at the top of the comment section?

  • ||

    If it's a crime to work, I guess I'm a criminal.

    Everything not mandatory is prohibited.

  • Restoras||

    Rent-seekers. A pox on all their houses.

  • ||

    Individual food vendors being harassed for the sake of rent-seeking connected people.

    Now that can cause real problems.

  • ||

    Good link - I was gonna bring that up myself.
    And who was that guy who said, "The power to tax is the power to destroy"
    ...I'm thinking Big Bird.

  • Gregory Smith||

    Great, pretty soon they're gonna make America look like Latin-America. Filthy! Food carts are disgusting. As for the freedom issues, gee, am I free to play music loud enough to wake up my neighbors at 3am? Am I free to drive at 140 mph and not get stopped for speeding? If you don't like the law, change it, this isn't even a issue of big government of Mexican-occupied San Antonio, TX.

  • Warty||

    D+

  • ||

    SHUT UP DANNY DEVITO

  • ||

    I like eating from my girlfriend's filthy taco...truck - adds to the flavor I says. But I do stray, eating the Chinese girls gooey delight, and the Louisiana's girls clam surprise - spicy!

  • ||

    I think if you asked Ragin' Cajun, he'd tell you those are oysters.

  • ||

    Great, pretty soon they're gonna make America look like Latin-America.

    If that means America is soon to have scantily-clad Latin hotties everywhere, I'm all in favor.

    Because I was just in Latin America, and that's what I saw.

  • Gregory Smith||

    Never judge a country by your experiences as a tourist.

  • Spoonman.||

    This is in El Paso, not San Antonio, you bigoted fuck.

  • ||

    Back under the bridge, Smith.

  • ||

    Houston's regulations are similarly intended to stifle or eliminate food trucks.

  • Spoonman.||

    That seems surprising, given the hundreds of them around town, but I don't doubt they have to deal with some asshats at City Hall.

  • ||

    Many are probably illegal. When Houston's food truck owners won a big lawsuit against Houston, Houston retaliated with onerous regulations intended to evade the court's ruling and punish truck vendors. Requirements like demanding food be prepared off-truck in a central commissary, location and advertising restrictions, and daily waste dumps (but only at central city-operated sites) all serve to make trucks uneconomic.

    Houston also prohibits street vending anywhere in Houston except downtown, where it's impossible to get a permit.

  • ||

    The real issue: street food just tastes better than restaurant food.

  • Paul||

    I wish the IJ the best of luck, but I'm thinking they won't win this one.

  • ||

    I'm thinking they have a good case here. There is no plausible rationale for this law other than stifling competition.

    Its not a food safety law. Its not a traffic safety law. Its a restaurant safety law.

  • Hired Gun Expert||

    Actually, studies show that people who consume food-cart food within 1000 feet of a brick and mortar store are significantly more likely to smoke tobacco products, engage in binge drinking, use vitriolic rhetoric, and oppose high-speed rail. Uh-huh, and for true!

  • hrm||

    If those foodtrucks are allowed to park wherever they want, El Paso will become just like Somalia.

  • ||

    Mmmmm, pirates...

  • cynical||

    Lies! Foodtrucks rely on roads.

  • Old Man with Candy||

    If those foodtrucks are allowed to park wherever they want, El Paso will become just like Austin.

  • ||

    We don't have food trucks here in Houston...well on the road anyway. There are some on private property (That are really run down and only serve tacos, etc) that might as well be brick and mortar.

    Curiosity question - are these trucks just allowed to stop in the road (like the ice cream man)? Do they have to park in a parking spot? Do they have to pay a parking meter if they are parked there?

    I can see a restaurant forbiding them from using the spots in front of their establishment if they have to pay for the upkeep, etc.

  • robc||

    In general, they park in parking spots. And if its metered they would have to pay the meter.

    I dont think anyone thinks it is okay for them to park in a restaraunts private lot.

  • Spoonman.||

    There are lots of food trucks that come to construction sites and blow their horns.

  • ||

    Something Obama could have done in his speech, while he was blathering on about American energy blah blah, was give a shout-out to food trucks as a sterling example of what makes this country great.

    Because they are.

    But, since they aren't part of the kleptocracy, they are invisible to him.

  • ||

    1000 feet from ANY restaurant or grocery or c-store is excessive. I could see prohibiting them from being within 1000 feet of an establishment with a similar type of menu. As far as I'm concerned, if you run your business on top of public property which is intended for other uses, you subject yourself to being removed at the public's whim.

    I wonder, do you guys think I have the right to roll a bed into a parking space, put a tent over it, and rent it as a hotel room?

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