Police

Cops vs. Burgers

How L.A. regulated a burger stand out of existence.

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Located on the corner of Figueroa and 101st Street in South Central Los Angeles, Tam's Burgers has been a part of the neighborhood for almost 30 years, serving burgers and fries through multiple recessions and even the 1992 L.A. riots. "When the markets were burned down, liquor stores were burned down, everything was burned down, people had nowhere to go, they came to us," says Nick Benetatos, who took over the restaurant in 1989 after his father retired. 

But in 2012 the city declared Tam's a "public nuisance," claiming the late-night joint was a haven for criminals. Benetatos says he is simply located in a high-crime area and has tried to work with the Los Angeles Police Department, honoring its requests that he remove pay phones on the property and tables for outdoor seating, which he says resulted in a 15 percent decline in revenues.

The city's zoning board then ordered Benetatos to comply with 22 separate conditions, such as hiring a full-time security guard, fencing in the entire property, and installing a security camera that links directly to the LAPD's electronic surveillance system. After losing a December zoning appeal, Benetatos says he is close to throwing in the napkin and closing up shop.

"I don't feel that they should be able to tell a business how to run their operations," he says. "It's hard enough being in business and staying in business, especially in this economy."  

Bonus Video: Click below to watch Reason TV's "The Fall of Tam's #6: How L.A. Regulated a Burger Stand Out of Existence."

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92 responses to “Cops vs. Burgers

  1. I’m assuming there’s a burger place owned by a councilman’s son a few blocks away.

    1. Nope, LAs just run by progressive retards.

      Their real motivation was probably more along the lines of “fast food poisons poor neighborhoods” than any real crime issues.

    2. Im assuming they make cops pay for their food.

      1. Worse, no donuts.

    3. No, they wanted to turn the neighborhood into a food desert, then get featured on NPR saying, “See? Market failure!”

      1. “Shit. I know shit’s bad right now, with all that starving bullshit, and the dust storms, and we are running out of french fries and burrito coverings. But I got a solution.”

      2. It’s a burger joint, which means it counts as food desert already.

  2. A victory in the War Against Crime! The burger joint was shut down, and now no criminal will dare to engage in illegal activities in the now-abandoned property! Law-abidingness will increase, and the vacant property will become a haven of law and order in an otherwise crime-plagued area!

    And unicorns will shit rainbows!

    1. Yeah exactly. They’ve completely solved the South CentrL LA crime problem by shutting down a hamburger joint. Will they shut down the McDonalds that replaces it? Governnents are run by complete morons.

      1. McDonalds won’t be allowed to replace it. The only thing worse than a mom-and-pop fast food joint is a chain fast food joint.

        They’ll hold out for a tofu/salad bar/latte boutique.

        When it folds because you can’t pay real people enough to eat that stuff, then they’ll complain about “market failure.”

        1. Speaking for my voluntaryist self and on behalf of other real people, I’ve been known to go for an awesome tofu or raw vegan joint. Maybe it’s my Asian fetish (Akira Fubuki, anyone?).

          When you make your living selling to working class/public assistance folk in the hood, though, maybe an innovative, $$$ latte bar/korean barbecue fusion joint isn’t the way to go.

        2. When it folds because you can’t pay real people enough to eat that stuff, then they’ll complain about “market failure.”

          “This smells like the inside of a taxicab…”

        3. Yes, you can. However, people into that kind of joyless self-flagellation generally are not living in poor neighborhoods.

  3. “It’s hard enough being in business and staying in business, especially in this economy.”

    What on Earth does this have to do with the machinations of local government? That statement is a non sequitur.

    1. Another way of saying it might be “It is difficult to maintain a business in the best of times, but given the present economic conditions the introduction of these artificially punitive regulations is a potentially fatal insult.”

      1. The zoning council and LAPD don’t know what any of that has to do with them.

        1. Oh, you were in character.

            1. I thought you were serious as well.

              You may need lessons, as your acting ability is on par with Madonna’s. Or Keanu’s. No, wait: Ashton Kutcher’s

              1. Ouch.

              2. It’s best to assume First of Etiquette is never serious.

            2. Yeah, well let us know when the Academy calls and tells you to get a freakin statue or something

            3. Very nicely done.

              Ha! Acting!

            4. FoE’s been to the Johnny Longbone School of Acting, I see. Lunch? Chicken, corn, green peppers…onions…

  4. “Our initial goal is voluntary compliance. Under no circumstances do we want an adversarial relationship,” says LAPD copper in charge. “This property now has a conditional use permit attached to the land. And now, by law, he has to follow those conditions. Violations of any of those conditions is a misdemeanor.”

    Dude doesn’t really know what voluntary means.

    1. It means the gun isn’t visible.

  5. Yeah, but they Took a Stand Against Crime! And now that location will be crime-free, thanks to the hard-assedness of the government officials who opposed the pro-criminal proclivities of the local business owners.

    What is it like, for a progtard local govt official living in his own head like that?

  6. he city’s zoning board then ordered Benetatos to comply with 22 separate conditions, such as hiring a full-time security guard, fencing in the entire property, and installing a security camera that links directly to the LAPD’s electronic surveillance system.

    What The Fuck???

    1. HAHAHAHHA. I didn’t even notice that.

      ‘If you don’t put yourself under “voluntary” surveillance, we will shut your business down.’

      1. This has nothing to do with surveillance. A “security camera that links directly to the LAPD’s electronic surveillance system” will require an additional union employee to pretend to watch the screen.

  7. Now they can start a government program to address the newly created hamburger desert.

  8. Fucking proles don’t know what’s best for them.

  9. installing a security camera that links directly to the LAPD’s electronic surveillance system.

    Are you with us, or against us, Citizen?

  10. Just across West Rosencrans there is a “Louisiana Fry Chicken”(and a Baskin Robbins). Is this the new crime Mecca?

    1. Any connection to Rosecrans Boulevard?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQJWtydJszQ

      1. Rosencrantz is Hamlet’s (fairly shaky) friend. Rosecrans was a Union general.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Rosecrans

    2. Whoops! That is a different South Central Tam’s Burgers.

      1. The correct Tam’s is near a Mexican joint and a hotel.

  11. I can’t believe taking the pay phone out didn’t completely eliminate all criminal activity overnight.

    1. The high incomes of LA criminals make them ineligible for the Obama phone program.

      1. Never confuse LA and SF – unless you are doing it to deliberately piss off the both of them.

  12. Cops bust amateur; leave it to the pros at Social Security:
    “Authorities: $600M scheme incubated in NC town”
    Hey, at least he didn’t pull a gun and *make* them “invest”
    “I never told anyone to invest more money than they could afford,”

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/cri…..z2P35t7loY

    1. He was a Libertarian Party candidate.

      1. Mike Munger, is that you? Duke doesn’t pay enough of the bills these days?

  13. “Our initial goal is voluntary compliance. Under no circumstances do we want an adversarial relationship,” says LAPD copper in charge. “This property now has a conditional use permit attached to the land. And now, by law, he has to follow those conditions. Violations of any of those conditions is a misdemeanor.”

    So before, he would still get rousted by the cops, but they’d fuck with his patrons. Now when somebody does something out of line, he gets to pay a fine and have a criminal record.

    If I were the owner, I’d firebomb the place…or city hall.

    1. Why not both?

  14. Donuts. Cops like donuts.

    1. Cops like free donuts.

  15. Now when somebody does something out of line, he gets to pay a fine and have a criminal record.
    they steal his restaurant and award the property to somebody with a more finely developed sense of social responsibility.

  16. You know who’s having a bad day? Justin Bieber.

    1. Not as bad as that castration-kidnapping would have been.

    2. Bashir Assad?

  17. LAPD flackstain: Although he has been there for an extended amount of time, we would have hoped that we could have benefited from his expertise and that he would be able to effectively run a safe business and he’s failed at that.

    Um, isn’t it the job of the police to protect the neighborhood? Mr. Flackstain, methinks you’re accusing the wrong people of failure.

    1. Of course not. In my hood (Woodland Hills), the LAPD is spends most of their times conducting raids on the local parks, looking to ticket people for off leash dogs.

      Is there any doubt that the police are just a bunch of roving thieves now?

    2. Right, I would think that the only “safety” a burger joint would be responsible for would be the food variety.

  18. UPS is now being a ‘good corporate citizen’; enforcing the WoDs:
    “UPS to forfeit $40 million from drug sales”
    “”Good corporate citizens like UPS play an important role in halting the flow of illegal drugs,” U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said in a statement.”

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/crime/ar…..z2P3K11amT

    1. When it comes to extortion the goverment makes the mafia look like the apple dumpling gang. What a bunch of crooks.

    2. The local FedEx facility allows or requests the local PD to run their drug dog over packages in the warehouse.

      1. In defense of UPS and FedEx, if they don’t enthusiastically cooperate, the government would fuck them over. “Nice package delivery business you have there. Shame if something were to happen to it.”

  19. I like how when the dog-shooting, donut eating union fucks of the LAPD are incapable, or more accurately, unwilling to control crime in a neighborhood, they blame law-abiding residents.

    1. Because crime is never their fault. The Supreme Court has said so, numerous times.

  20. What should happen now is that he should sue Los Angeles for an illegal taking of his business under the 5th Amendment.

    1. He would lose.

  21. my friend’s mom makes $84 hourly on the laptop. She has been laid off for seven months but last month her payment was $16267 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this web site and go to home tab for more detail http://www.JUMP30.com

    1. The laptop must hurt her back.

      1. She must be very small.

    2. I think I saw your friends mom. I had a private webcam viewing with her last week. There’s no way she’s making $16,267… not unless she did her show in a zero-g environment.

      1. All of my yes^^^

  22. When the L.A. police force is unable to affect a reduction in crime, apparently businesses are now obligated to hire security guards to fight crime in the area surrounding their business. Unless I missed something in the video, it seems that city hall expected this man to engage in law enforcement.

    Oh well. I wish this man luck in his next business venture. My only advice would be something I’m sure he is well aware of. Get get away from the collective mental illness of progressives in California, and never look back.

    1. Dude, this is the next step. People talk about “starving the beast”. Ain’t gonna happen.

      As the beast runs out of food, it forces the little insects under it that are easy to locate and have something to lose, that they better do what the beast can’t afford to do itself, at their own expense, or else they get stomped. Power can substitute for money.

      The solution right now is to give the beast a brain transplant via the ballot box. If that doesn’t work, we’ll have to consider other more messy options.

      1. It’s probably a good thing since calling cops never results in anything good, and since cops never actually prevent crime, where as people in the security business of armed guards do, as well arming yourself.

        More people will wake up to the fact that the leviathan is not in their best interests. Cops are not peace officers. They are not there to protect the against NAP-violators or to secure your property. They are (positive) law after-the-fact-enforcement officers. As such, they will always be agents of an inevitably thuggish state.

        beast a brain transplant via the ballot box

        That’s some utopian thinking there

        1. “More people will wake up to the fact that the leviathan is not in their best interests.”

          Hey guys, over here! I found another plebe who needs more bread and circuses!

        2. ALMOST never prevent crime:

          http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03…..html?_r=1&

          And this from a resident of the building:

          Mostly though I am frustrated by how rarely people press charges. I didn’t have to testify before the grand jury, I could have just let him off, like half of the solved crimes in Park Slope?they are simply dismissed. I will say it again: over half of the victims of crimes that are solved in Park Slope do not press charges. And that is just the crimes that are solved, i.e. the perpetrator is caught. Think of all the crimes that are not solved.

          I had a lot of time during the proceedings at the court house to talk with the arresting officer and a few of his fellow policemen. Every single day they track a thief down, whether it be for stealing a computer, jewelry or an iPhone/iPad (so common in NYC it has its own name among thieves: “Apple Picking”). “About half” of the time, they deliver back the stolen items, the victim decides not the press charges, and the criminal is released. Insane. I asked him the officer why, and he said the most common response was “I’m too busy”.

          Link:

          http://virtualpurdy.com/post/4…..-fruitcake

    2. Only if the security guards are off duty cops.

  23. You’d think that LAPD would post a patrolman nearby if it was such a problem.

    1. Just one? Ha! It seems these days that they travel in pairs (even in my small town). Officer safety, I guess. The one at this burger stand would feel like the no-name ensign who joins Kirk and Spock for a landing party on a new planet.

      1. Red shirt.

  24. as Lucille replied I am stunned that a mother able to earn $4584 in four weeks on the computer. did you read this web site and go to home tab for more detail— http://goo.gl/XjdQI

  25. Dumpsters in back of fast food restaurants have been notorious for attracting doped up teens who are low on cash. A partial solution was found by pouring bleach into the dumpsters, but heroin addicts didn`t mind a burning tongue and wolfed down the spicy burgers.

  26. This dangerous criminal burger syndicate must be stopped.

  27. I read a story about this last year. . . included was a “crime map,” showing the instances of crime in the area.

    Interestingly, crime was considerably lower in the 3 blocks immediately surrounding Tam’s than in the rest of the area shown on the map. Seems to me that the existence of this burger joint reduces crime, rather than increasing it.

  28. around the country to gauge the state

  29. LAPD’s electronic surveillance system. After losing a December zoning

  30. city declared Tam’s a “public nuisance,” claiming the late-night joint was a haven for criminals.

    Read more: https://reason.com/archives/201…..z3AgJ3KRJz

  31. Tam’s a “public nuisance,” claiming the late-night joint was a

  32. Tam’s a “public nuisance,” claiming the late-night joint was a

  33. should be able to tell a business how to run their operations

  34. should be able to tell a business how to run their operations

  35. Tam’s a “public nuisance,” claiming the late-night joint was

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