County Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously passed a law making it a misdemeanor crime for [taco] trucks to stay in a spot longer than one hour.
Restaurant owners complained that the trucks draw customers away from their businesses, particularly in predominantly Hispanic East Los Angeles.
"Many restaurants are forced to close their doors because they cannot compete with a catering truck's prices," said Louis Herrera, president of the Greater East Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. "It's unfair competition."
The punishment for doing damage to the struggling East L.A. Mexican food industry? Up to six months in jail and/or a $1000 fine. The Los Angeles Times adds some context about the fight:
Some say that newly emerging businesses in a community with more restaurants and cafes than ever are rendering mobile restaurants obsolete—and unwanted.
"They prohibit a community from moving forward," said Ron Mukai, a longtime developer in the community. "They make it unattractive for legitimate brick-and-mortar businesses to come in. Why would a restaurant come in when there's 10 catering trucks on Olympic Boulevard? There was a time when catering trucks filled a legitimate need because there was no willing vendor in East L.A. But for the sake of bettering the community, their time has passed."
This is a cover story, of course, for the real issue: Truck-bound vendors don't have to pay property taxes.