The Taco: Enemy of Freedom

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Los Angeles County has vanquished one of the greatest foes of commerce in SoCal:

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.

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  1. “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.”

    Those guys could not possibly move out of the storefront and into trucks, with their “unique” yummy Tacos of course, and compete on the street?

    Then again, I see a possible positive consequence of patrons no longer having to hike to the taco trucks, one will be along pretty soon.

    Wonder if the taco truck guys could find out which shops were complaining about them and make sure a different truck is stationed right out front, changing every hour?

    This is a cover story, of course, for the real issue: Truck-bound vendors don’t have to pay property taxes.

    Yea, I can see that.

  2. 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.”

    A lower price is unfair competition? What a bunch of old boys club assholes. While not as disdainful of the public as sweetheart legislation the beer and wine distributors get here in Michigan, having the state harass your competitors is pretty damned fucded up..

  3. The question is: what is the purpose of property taxes. Is it a user fee for fire protection and other brick and mortar only needs? Or, is it a convenient way to fund police, schools and libraries? If the former, then they need to be better competitors. If the latter, then the brick and mortar people are being stuck with an unfairly disproportionate part of that bill. Sort of like letting internet firms off on state sales taxes, while forcing brick and mortar firms to charge them. It sounds cool to demand no taxes on the internet, but to use that to shift them onto brick and mortar firms is wrong.

  4. Lonewacko in 5…4…3..

  5. It’s not unfair competition because the prices are too low, but it is unfair in the sense that the trucks (1) don’t pay property taxes and (2) are essentially rent-seeking on public land paid for largely by gas taxes with the intent of being used for transportation.

  6. “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.”

    I’m not sure I know what “unfair competition” is unless it is declared so by law (such as, I believe, selling at a loss to drive your competitors out and then raising prices is illegal). Unfair in this case seems to refer to how the vans are better meeting their customers’ needs.

  7. It’s not unfair competition because the prices are too low, but it is unfair in the sense that the trucks (1) don’t pay property taxes and (2) are essentially rent-seeking on public land paid for largely by gas taxes with the intent of being used for transportation.

    The nerve of some people, thinking that they’re here for some purpose other than to fund a perennially cash-hungry government.

  8. There was a time when catering trucks single-family homes filled a legitimate need because there was no willing vendor large commercial development in East L.A. New London, Conn. But for the sake of bettering the community, their time has passed.

  9. “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.”

    “Some say that newly emerging businesses in a community with more restaurants and cafes than ever are rendering mobile restaurants obsolete — and unwanted.”

    Uh, so which one is it? Can’t have it both ways.

  10. It’s not unfair competition because the prices are too low, but it is unfair in the sense that the trucks (1) don’t pay property taxes and (2) are essentially rent-seeking on public land paid for largely by gas taxes with the intent of being used for transportation.

    When did CA exempt taco trucks from commercial licensing? If LA has a sticker requirement, how are taco trucks the only ones who don’t pay for it?

    Can I label a ca parts truck as a taco truck and escape all those taxes that other commercial trucks have to pay?

    Next we can discuss how taco trucks magically get to escape inspections and other unconcionable regulatory hoops that any other food vendor has to go through.

  11. “Next we can discuss how taco trucks magically get to escape inspections and other unconcionable regulatory hoops that any other food vendor has to go through.”

    They are inspected? Phew, that’s a relief! After all the tacos de cesos I have eaten at 230am.

  12. rana,

    I did not mean to imply that I am in favor of that government inspection crap either.

  13. “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.”

    Ways to compete without whining to the government:

    Atmosphere: A taco truck may be a good place to fill your belly, but it’s hardly the best stop for a romantic date. I cannot confirm this, but I’ve heard rumors that young taco-truck-customer men and women like to court each other same as white Americans do. Perhaps some of the men would like to take their lady friends to a nice yet affordable restaurant? And then Louis Herrera could work this to his advantage.

    Climate comfort: I prefer sitting down in an air-conditioned restaurant to standing on a hot sidewalk when I’m eating. Many others feel the way I do, and a restaurant is far better suited than a taco truck to provide AC and comfy chairs.

    Variety: due to space considerations, a taco truck can’t possibly offer as many food choices as can a restaurant with a permanent kitchen and room for storage. Perhaps a smart restaurant owner could somehow work this to his advantage?

    There you go. I am neither a businesswoman nor a restaurateur, yet I was still able to come up with three possibilities. I’m sure an experienced person like Louis Herrera could come up with even more, if he’d go back to minding his own business rather than whine to the government to mind it for him.

  14. If you’re not paying your fair share of taxes, you’re stealing from the government.

    In this situation, the element of competitive unfairness seems to be differentiation. The nerve of those hombres, providing quick-and-easy snackery.

    Choose one:

    “everybody always wants tacos from a truck”
    “nobody ever wants tacos from a truck”

  15. Why would a restaurant come in when there’s 10 catering trucks on Olympic Boulevard?

    This is exactly why there are no restaurants at all in Manhattan. The hot dog carts have run them all into the ground.

  16. A sit down place that can’t compete with a mobile taco truck?

    Improve the cuisine! That should be like Ruths Chris getting put out of business by Denny’s!

  17. Atmosphere: A taco truck may be a good place to fill your belly, but it’s hardly the best stop for a romantic date. I cannot confirm this, but I’ve heard rumors that young taco-truck-customer men and women like to court each other same as white Americans do. Perhaps some of the men would like to take their lady friends to a nice yet affordable restaurant? And then Louis Herrera could work this to his advantage.

    That is the problem, too many elitist chicks expecting to sit someplace besides the back seat of my Jeep after I got them a “free” meal. The bitterness in LA must be on the rise.

  18. This is a good example of the kind of madness that Libertarians ought to be worried about and could actually do some good on. If you think about it, Libertarians are in much the same position that the evangelicals were in the early 1970s. They are a fringe group that is not particularly organized and generally out of mainstream and ignored but of significant numbers and with some legitimate beefs with the larger political culture. The genius of the evangelical movement was that it started small with small goals. They didn’t form a whacko third party and make meaningless runs for the Presidency. They didn’t even make meaningless runs for the legislatures. They actually started by running for school boards. The schools were their movement’s bailiwick; the one thing that all of them agreed upon. From their success in those races they built a real political movement.

    If you think about this from a libertarian prospective, there are lots of local issues which are extremely important and about which there is near unanimous agreement among libertarians. Moreover, just like the evangelicals who had a real bitch about what was going on in schools in the 1970s that resonated with the public at large, the libertarians have a legitimate and resonant complaint about things like this. If the Libertarian party had a ounce of sense it would give up running a candidate for President every year and concentrate strictly on local issues. Run people for positions like county sheriff, district attorney, zoning board, city council and the like. It would get them away from controversial issues that don’t always resonate with the public and allow them to focus on issues that a majority of the public left and right would identify with and agree with. The fact is that most of this kind of crap goes on because no one pays attention to local politics and don’t know it is happening. The libertarians could do one hell of a public service by funding the hell out of candidates in local elections in areas where this kind of crap goes on. But to do that they would have to stop worrying about the NSA listening to their phone calls and start thinking practically. Fat chance.

  19. “I did not mean to imply that I am in favor of that government inspection crap either”

    Guy, I was just hoping you meant that the health inspectors paid them a visit from time to time…

  20. All this talk of taco trucks has left me really pumped to find that there is an awesome taco truck a the corner of Union and Lake in Manchester, NH. Whoo!

  21. a taco truck can’t possibly offer as many food choices as can a restaurant with a permanent kitchen and room for storage

    Uhh, there’s only so many ways you can arrange meat and a tortilla…

  22. Here in Portland, OR, some entrepreneurial parking lot owners in downtown began renting space to food trucks – charging more per square foot than they would normally get just from cars. The city licenses and inspects the food vendors and exercises its legitimate right to regulate street parking by not allowing them to do so. The brick and mortar restuarant owners still whine, but an uneasy peace has existed for some time. There are also smaller food carts allowed on sidewalks and around Pioneer Courthouse Square. Some of the food is pretty damn good, too.

  23. It is in vain, sir, to extentuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace–but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me taco trucks or give me death!

  24. John, I believe that’s about 8 drinks…

  25. That is the problem, too many elitist chicks expecting to sit someplace besides the back seat of my Jeep after I got them a “free” meal.

    I’m sure your personality has absolutely nothing to do with it. I, personally, get weak-kneed whenever I’m in the presence of a man who mentions his blog every five minutes whether it’s relevant to the conversation or not.

  26. In a libertarian world, the government wouldn’t own the streets or parking spaces. Have the government sell the parking spaces to the highest bidder. Store owners could buy them and rent them out (meters) or give them to customers for free.

    That is pretty much what happens with malls. You don’t see taco trucks parked in the lots of privately owned malls.

    Therefore, taco trucks probably are free riders on public parking spaces and would disappear in a libertarian world.

  27. “That is the problem, too many elitist chicks expecting to SCREW someplace besides the back seat of my Jeep after I got them a “free” meal.”

    (Sorry Guy, couldn’t resist) 😉

  28. That is pretty much what happens with malls. You don’t see taco trucks parked in the lots of privately owned malls.

    In Hawaii you do. Not “Taco” trucks, per-se, but BBQ and stuff like that, yeah.

  29. “That is the problem, too many elitist chicks expecting to sit someplace besides the back seat of my Jeep after I got them a “free” meal. The bitterness in LA must be on the rise.”

    Guy, you just need to lower your standards. The ones that are happy to screw in the back of a jeep in exchange for a free taco are more fun anyway.

  30. Therefore, taco trucks probably are free riders on public parking spaces and would disappear in a libertarian world.

    Or maybe not. There’s a big flea market in the eastern part of my state, inside one of those old mills that are common throughout New England. Vendor space inside the flea market is at a premium; some vendors have had their spots for 20 years and have no intention of giving them up. And there’s absolutely no stalls left to rent inside.

    But out in the parking lot, anybody who wants to can set up a table for free, on a first-come first-served basis. From the owners’ perspective, I’m guessing it’s a good thing because the more vendors a flea market has, the more customers will want to come out and buy stuff.

    The indoor vendors who pay rent don’t complain about “unfair competition,” because their indoor paid-for spaces are much better than the free space available outdoors, they don’t have to worry about the weather and being able to leave your stuff there at the end of the day is immeasurably easier than having to pack everything up and go home.

    If flea market vendors can handle the threat of cheaper competition, I’m sure restaurant owners can too.

  31. Oh, and sometimes carts and stuff at Home Depot, and that’s everywhere.

  32. Dude taco trucks are the culinarary Ragnar Danneskjold-esque pirates of the pavement seas, taking business from the subsidy and regulation-laden brick and mortar restaurants.

  33. and of course by culinarary I mean culinary.

  34. The town in western Kansas I was born in is now about 80% Hispanic. For whatever reason, the immigrants can’t seem to produce a decent brick and mortor restaurant. But damn can they do a great taco or tamale out of the back of a van. It is no wonder the restaurants are objecting, street venders are in many ways the high water mark of Latin American cuisine and I mean that as a complement.

  35. This is a good example of the kind of madness that Libertarians ought to be worried about and could actually do some good on.

    True, but there’s more to the libertarian movement than the Libertarian Party. See the Institute for Justice website. They take on cases like this all the time.

  36. When the Demos bring the textile jobs back to New England, those junkmen flea market entrepreneurs are going to be out on the street. And then, they will need government-sponsored retraining and financial support.

  37. lonewacko must have found a girlfriend or something. God bless that.

  38. Therefore, taco trucks probably are free riders on public parking spaces and would disappear in a libertarian world.

    Why assume that in a libertarian world of owned/rented parking, taco trucks wouldn’t be able to rent a space to do business?

  39. So, has anyone made a “Run For The Border” joke here yet?

  40. Improve the cuisine!

    Tell me about it. One bad kebab turned me off to all street food years ago*. People think that these trucks are there because the neighborhood is “underserved”. Nonsense. They’re there to provide dirt-cheap food. And, as always, you get what you pay for.

    *Except pretzels. Hard to fuck those up.

  41. I came to the answer decades ago, and that would be to condo-convert the street in front of each lot, so it became part of the property.

  42. There is a public parking lot next to a Ford dealership near me. Every morning, I park around 60 used Fords there and try to sell them all day long. I put up a couple of flags and a banner or two….sometimes a monkey suit…you know, whatever it takes to make a sale.

    That crank Ford dealership owner keeps complaining that it isn’t “fair.” What an idiot.

  43. If flea market vendors can handle the threat of cheaper competition, I’m sure restaurant owners can too.

    However, people don’t generally go sampling various restaurants when they go out to eat.

  44. Not as much of an idiot as you, for thinking that analogy makes any sort of sense.

  45. Oops, Rhywun’s last post shattered the “immediate comeback” impact of mine. How can I handle such competition?

  46. Why doesn’t it, sweetheart?

  47. rana,

    Why do you think I used quotes around free? 😉

    Jennifer, are you really Mo?

  48. So, has anyone made a “Run For The Border” joke here yet?

    Better do it before the machine gunners are in place . . .

  49. Barney: You fellas, I warned you before. Now, I’m warnin’ you for the last time. You take your truck and you get outta here. You get movin’, now! (they approach him) Do you see this badge? It says that I’m sworn to uphold the law. Now, that’s what I mean to do and you fellas better respect it. You understand? It’s just as simnple as that. (they get right in his face) You’re both a lot bigger’n I am; but this badge represents a lot of people. They’re a lot bigger than either one of you. Now are you gonna get movin’?

  50. “There is a public parking lot next to a Ford dealership near me. Every morning, I park around 60 used Fords there and try to sell them all day long. I put up a couple of flags and a banner or two….sometimes a monkey suit…you know, whatever it takes to make a sale.

    That crank Ford dealership owner keeps complaining that it isn’t “fair.” What an idiot.”

    Actually the analogy makes perfect sense. Car dealerships spend millions buying off state legislatures to ensure that you can’t do what you are talking about. There is no reason why I can’t buy a car from Ford.com the same way I buy a computer directly from Dell or Gateway or set up my own used car exchange on the side. Formal car dealerships are nothing but parasites on the economy. Restaurants in contrast to car dealerships actually provide a service that their competitors don’t. But the principle is the same; get the government to make it hard to do what we do so we don’t face cheap competition from bare bones operations.

  51. Oops, Rhywun’s last post shattered the “immediate comeback” impact of mine. How can I handle such competition?

    I hear some of those fancy blogs have a “quote” function. What’ll they think of next??

  52. I hear some of those fancy blogs have a “quote” function. What’ll they think of next??

    I’m thinking I should whine to the government–or rather, the moderators of this board–about how unfair it is that I’m expected to go out of MY way to make things ideal for me.

    Note to Gilmore:

    You were sadly, tragically and unsurprisingly wrong about Lonewacko having found a girlfriend.

  53. Why won’t Bob Barr have any impact? Perhaps it’s because he’s not a mortar shell.

  54. Why doesn’t it, sweetheart?

    Well, honeylamb, for starters there’s the huge difference between occupying the amount of street space taken up by one solitary taco truck versus taking over an entire parking lot with your 60 or so cars, which also makes it impossible for anybody else to use that parking lot for its originally intended purpose.

    If you’re having trouble discerning the space differential between “one truck” and “sixty cars,” you can probably find a Mexican willing to do the counting for you, for a very reasonable wage.

  55. Rhywun

    However, people don’t generally go sampling various restaurants when they go out to eat.

    Tapas.

    In a place with many tapas restaurants, like Spain, I guess.

  56. There is a public parking lot next to a Ford dealership near me. Every morning, I park around 60 used Fords there and try to sell them all day long. I put up a couple of flags and a banner or two….sometimes a monkey suit…you know, whatever it takes to make a sale.

    I’ve never seen a parking lot that didn’t belong to somebody. That “public” lot likely belongs to the city, and you can bet your ass that the city has rules and regs for it that don’t allow somebody to monopolize it as a place of business.

    If you have an agreement with the owner to use the entire lot, I say go for it. If you don’t have such an agreement, then you should stay the hell off his property.

    Assuming your use of the lot is permitted by the owner, I don’t think the Ford dealer has any more basis to complain about your impromptu used car lot than he would about a permanent one at that location.

  57. Rhywun,

    I didnt word it clearly, but my reponse meant:

    People dont generally sample many restaurants when eating, but they should. 🙂

  58. Tapas.

    What is the point of providing an exceptional counter-example? My point stands. Of course I don’t own a restaurant or drive a car so I don’t care much one way or the other. Never the less it’s patently obvious why certain groups of people have a problem with these trucks.

  59. What is the point of providing an exceptional counter-example?

    Heh, I responded 3 minutes before your post. How’s that for anticipating a reply?

  60. Some say that newly emerging businesses in a community with more restaurants and cafes than ever are rendering mobile restaurants obsolete — and unwanted.

    I have to ask – unwanted by whom? I understand they’re unwanted by their competitors. Hell, everybody is unwanted by their competitors!

    But one question – if they’re so unwanted, how do they stay in business?

  61. Why would a restaurant come in when there’s 10 catering trucks on Olympic Boulevard?

    Menu variety?
    Hot waitresses?
    Beer and wine?
    Air conditioning?

    On the other hand, I’m stuck patronizing a taco truck when I want to have a smoke with my meal.

  62. Truck-bound vendors don’t have to pay property taxes.

    Vehicle registration IS a property tax.

  63. This is a cover story, of course, for the real issue: Truck-bound vendors don’t have to pay property taxes.

    Doubtful. It would be easy enough to pass a bill requiring a PILOT in exchange for a vendor’s permit.

  64. Jennifer…babydoll…We can take this from either angle. How many cars in the parking lot would be ok? Or, conversely, what if there were two taco trucks on the road? or three?

    By the way, I love how you changed “10 catering trucks,” as the article states, to “one solitary truck” in your post. Changing facts to meet your predetermined angle…you must be a reporter or something.

    to R C

    That “public” lot likely belongs to the city, and you can bet your ass that the city has rules and regs for it that don’t allow somebody to monopolize it as a place of business.

    Insert the word “street” for “lot” in your statement. That is exactly what this is about. The City creating rules and regulations that don’t allow somebody to monopolize a street as a place of business.

  65. I’m probably the one person here who ever worked for a local government.

    I’m just going to point out, contra Weigel, that, yes, local government really DO dislike empty storefronts.

    No, really. It’s not a transparent ploy to claim that their motivation is to encourage restaurants to located in the neighborhood. Honest to God.

    What was the line from Bailey’s evolution-movie post? “No evidence and all worldview.”

  66. joe, I currently work for a local government. In fact, from some of your old posts, it seems our jobs may have been similar.

    And you’re right, empty storefronts are seen as a failure.

  67. I just want to emphasize how absurd it is that you can spend six months in jail for selling tacos out of a truck. Somebody in government thinks this is appropriate and just and believes (probably rightly) that voters don’t care. We’re doomed. Doomed!

  68. So, what’s the case FOR the government providing real estate (the street) cost-free to subsidize one set of businessmen in their competition with another set?

  69. I’m just going to point out, contra Weigel, that, yes, local government really DO dislike empty storefronts.

    They should lower taxes and privatize services instead of collecting rent for the established businesses. I just want to point out, contra joe, that organized crime is not redeemed by elections.

  70. So, just why exactly are local governments all in a twist about making double-certain-sure that peoperty owners have storefronts operating?

    Is this one of those superstitions about not letting the downtown “die” or something?

  71. So, what’s the case FOR the government providing real estate (the street) cost-free to subsidize one set of businessmen in their competition with another set?

    If you can park there for free to go to your job as a resturant owner (a business), you should be able to park there for free to sell taco’s (another business). What’s so difficult to figger out?

    One hour parking? OK. The restaurant worker/owner has to come out and move his car every 60 minutes. The butcher, baker and candlestick maker must as well. And all of their prospective customers. And definitely all government employees.

  72. That’s an interesting proposal, Warren, for Rainbow Puppy Island. It doesn’t seem to have much to recommend it in a world that hasn’t been radically remade along libertarian lines.

    J sub D,

    I agree, allowing them to do business in the street, but limiting the time, is a reasonable compromise.

    Yes, Guy, “superstitions.”

  73. Insert the word “street” for “lot” in your statement.

    Changing the locale from a vacant lot to a public street makes a hell of a lot of difference, Yeah!.

    Try changing it in the original argument-by-analogy, and you’ll see that it sounds even more ridiculous.

    The City creating rules and regulations that don’t allow somebody to monopolize a street as a place of business.

    Nobody’s “monopolizing a street” by parking a truck on it, you nitwit. The taco trucks should be subject to the same rules on parking as everyone else. See J sub D, above.

  74. I though California was all uptight about emissions. Won’t making all these trucks (presumably not the most fuel efficient) move constantly increase global warming? Won’t someone think of Gaea?

  75. Full disclosure: I think tacos are sacred food.

  76. Changing the locale from a vacant lot to a public street makes a hell of a lot of difference

    IF changing the locale makes a big difference (and I’m not convinced that it does), it makes a difference in my favor. It’s odd how you think that parking in a parking lot is “monopolizing,” but parking in a street isn’t? I thought the word “parking” in the term “parking lot” indicates the function of the area is to “park.” Silly me.

    There is a better argument to allow my scenario than to allow taco trucks to park on the street, unmonopolizingly or otherwise.

    Yeah, I just made up a word. What’s it to ya?

  77. parking meters would also work. charge the trucks and anyone else wanting to park the same rent.

    Whats the problem then?

  78. Uhh, there’s only so many ways you can arrange meat and a tortilla…

    Uhhh, there’s only so many ways you can arrange “meat” and a “tortilla” …

    Fixed.

  79. So, just why exactly are local governments all in a twist about making double-certain-sure that peoperty owners have storefronts operating?

    Is this one of those superstitions about not letting the downtown “die” or something?

    It’s about local governments wanting more tax revenue.

  80. joe-

    Maybe a simple solution, one that treats this as fairly as it can be handled given some of the differences between doing business from a building and doing business on the street, would be to treat food trucks in the same manner as sidewalk carts. If it’s fair for a sidewalk cart to operate on the public sidewalk in competition with store-front businesses, it’s fair for a truck to park and do the same thing (assuming they aren’t blocking traffic, yadda yadda).

  81. I better tell my local Morton’s of Chicago that there are hotdog venders all around Crystal City until right before they open.

    Oh wait, I am in VA not CA, that would never be a problem here . . .

  82. Actually, the real reason Yeah!’s analogy is silly is because it would take an extraordinary amount of effort to move 60 cars into a parking lot every morning.

    If the spaces allow all-day parking, and if some nitwit wants to try to set up some sort of fire drill to get cars into all those spaces every morning, hey – it’s his funeral. I don’t really see any problem with that.

    I go along with robc and J sub D. If they want to limit parking for all vehicles to 1 hour, that seems fair to me. If they want to meter, that seems fair to me. But making it OK for me to leave my car in a space for 8 hours, but a crime for a taco truck to sit there for 2 hours, is entirely unfair. It also makes Yeah!’s argument irrelevant, since all vehicles consume the resource of the street space equally, based on how long they’ve occupied the space – if my car is in a space for 8 hours, that “monopolizes” the space just as much as a taco truck being there for 8 hours would.

    I think this incident illustrates a problem with statism – namely, that its advocates want to loudly proclaim that they are providing “free” public benefits, but then get bent out of shape if anyone actually uses those benefits in a way the statist did not anticipate.

    Statist: “Look at how noble and efficient I am! I provided free roads, and free places for people to park!”

    Taco truck driver: “Thanks, amigo! Now I have somewhere to park!”

    Statist: “Ummm…Actually, in my head when I thought this up, I thought only little old ladies would park their Toyotas here. I didn’t think you’d park your smelly taco truck here. I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

    Interesting definitions of “free”, “public”, and “service” always come up in such situations.

  83. “There is a public parking lot next to a Ford dealership near me. Every morning, I park around 60 used Fords there and try to sell them all day long. I put up a couple of flags and a banner or two….sometimes a monkey suit…you know, whatever it takes to make a sale.”

    As it happens, there was somebody running an impromptu used-car dealership on a side street of of Wilshire (in Los Angeles) for quite a while. The cars were parked along the side of the road.

    “Maybe a simple solution, one that treats this as fairly as it can be handled given some of the differences between doing business from a building and doing business on the street, would be to treat food trucks in the same manner as sidewalk carts.”

    In LA the government likes to periodically persecute sidewalk carts too.

  84. As one of my friends put it: “If you run a restaurant and you’re worrying about taco trucks, you probably need to spice your place up a bit.”

  85. Nobody stops going to Mortons because there is a dirty-water hot dog stand parked outside. There is no reason that brick-and-mortar businesses cannot compete.

  86. Brian,

    Oh, never mind, I am not bright enough to explain it to you.

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