Food Policy

Drop That Snack!

L.A.'s long war against working-class people eating tamales, tacos, Cheetos, and other tasty food


Aug./Sept. 2015 Reason cover
Peter Bagge

In 1985, legendary food critic Ruth Reichl wrote an essay for the Los Angeles Times that sounded ludicrous then and just pathetic today. She was reviewing Border Grill, a nouveau Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles' ever-hip Melrose district run by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger—nowadays food royalty, but back then two hotshot Midwestern chefs. The review rightfully raved about the food, and Border Grill continues to feed suburban moms and their rich husbands to this day.

But then Reichl inadvertently gave readers a taste of the tortured food psychology that eternally infests America's second-largest city. "It looks like all the people who keep asking when Los Angeles is going to get a great Mexican restaurant," she enthused, "may finally have an answer."

This, in a city that was almost one-third Latino. That had once been a part of Mexico. That was swarming with Mexican eateries of every provenance, from taco trucks to diners to white-tablecloth and beyond. But because those spots were popular with the working class—whites and Latinos—they didn't count.

In Reichl's defense, she was just verbalizing what most of the city's learned class thought, then and now. For decades an innovator in food trends—from fast food chains to the California cuisine of Wolfgang Puck and Nancy Silverton to Mexican everything, Korean grub, food trucks, Taco Bell, prepared foods (canned menudo! frozen burritos!), Wienerschnitzel, so much more—Los Angeles is America's ultimate food laboratory. Whether you're a gourmand or a grubber, what's being eaten here by kids and workers today will show up in Topeka in a couple of years. Hey, Jayhawkers: Get ready for bacon-wrapped hot dogs!

But Los Angeles, particularly though not only in the 21st century, has also become a place for do-gooders to try to govern the habits of the public gut. Those bacon-wrapped hot dogs, sold off of carts, are nowadays as much a part of the Angeleno nightlife as Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully and nosy po-po. But said po-po usually impound said carts under orders from health officials who are afraid eaters will die from the unholy union of pork on pork. It's the way of L.A.: From banning new fast food restaurants to arresting people who sell raw milk to cracking down on backyard chicken coops, Los Angeles has set the standard for the rest of the country on how to legislate against our right to nosh on what we want. And the hammer inevitably falls on the common man.

"California produces and innovates and eats in ways the rest of the U.S. and increasingly the world notices," says Ernesto Hernández-López, a law professor at Chapman University in Orange who has written about Southern California's taco-truck wars. "At the same time, local and state interests inspire crackdowns on the innovation. Because many trends happen here first, so do the efforts to regulate them."

To paraphrase H.L. Mencken: L.A.'s official food policy seems to operate on the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happily eating.

More and more, those two worlds of L.A. culinary innovation—the elite and the street—are colliding. Roy Choi, the fusion taco artist who revolutionized American cooking nearly a decade ago with his Kogi Korean BBQ truck, made his name popularizing among hipsters what had long been a staple of the California working class, especially Mexican immigrants. He has now become an active proselytizer for bringing top chefs into the 'hood—in order to save the very people who invented the taco truck and know all about organic food from their home countries and their own eating habits.

"There are no chef-driven restaurants in the 'hood," where people are "starving" for quality food, Choi complained to a rapt audience at the 2013 MAD Symposium, an annual event held in Copenhagen that's like a TED Talk for the foodie set. "Not one….The restaurants that do exist are fast food chains." His suggestion? "What if every high caliber chef, all of us in here, told our investors as we're building restaurants…for every fancy restaurant we build, it would be a requirement to build a restaurant in the 'hood as well?"

I guess Choi doesn't think all the loncheras and street vendors in barrios across the U.S. count as "chef-driven." But where chef-shaming might fail, bans can succeed. Celebrity foodie Jamie Oliver relocated the second season of his ABC reality show Food Revolution to L.A. so he could play the Great White Father fighting for brown and black kids against the evil Los Angeles Unified School District and its vile school lunches. Oliver's crowning achievement? Getting the district's trustees in 2012 to bar the insanely flavorful Flamin' Hot Cheetos from all campuses.

The contemporary progressive food philosophy, best epitomized on the national level by Michelle Obama's Let's Move! program, is based on the notion that the country's fat, diabetic, unhealthy working classes are simply too derelict to make informed food choices. That decades of corporate greed have led to so-called "food deserts" and "food apartheid," in which chain restaurants and liquor stores are blighting neighborhoods and serving up what Choi described as "corrosive chemical waste." That salvation lies only in going back to the land—putting farmers markets in low-income neighborhoods and promoting organic, sustainable foodways from elementary school through adulthood.

This mind-set produced a first-of-its-kind food policy in Los Angeles in 2011. That's when the City Council enacted a ban on new fast food restaurants being built in South Central.

"There are people who are accused of being the food police, of trying to control what goes into people's mouths," council member and bill sponsor Bernard Parks, the former Los Angeles police chief, told the Los Angeles Times back then. "But we just don't think that we need to give fast food more rights around here. We don't think our community needs to have 10 or 15 or 18 ways to eat a hamburger."

Increasing poor people's food choices by limiting them. Only a modern politician could come up with that, you might think. But in fact L.A.'s culinary nanny state has roots in academia and salon culture, and has served as a cudgel for the downtown and Westside power elite to use against unloved brown folk since the 19th century.

'They Were Born of the Pueblo—They Perish in the Metropolis'

The Golden State's propensity to shame and police what people eat is in its DNA. The Spanish missionaries who colonized California in the late 1700s fed their Indian wards a European diet of bread, wheat, and livestock, keeping them from the plants and animals that had nourished them for generations. Fray Mariano Payeras, who had worked with the indigenous in Southern California, confessed to his superiors in 1820 that this decreed diet was downright murderous. "They live well free," he said of the Indians, "but as soon as we reduce them to a Christian and community life they decline in health, they fatten, sicken and die."

Things didn't get any better once California became part of the United States. As Los Angeles transformed from dusty Mexican cow town to emerging American commercial capital, politicians decided civic health was imperiled by Mexican food—specifically tamales, that most quintessential of Mexican meals. Around the 1880s, entrepreneurs began selling the toothsome treats from horse-drawn wagons, either going from town to town or hitching up to a single location. These tamaleros proved extremely popular in downtown L.A., filling the needs of thousands of migrants, gringo and Mexican alike, who craved cheap, delicious grub.

Watching the hoi polloi enjoy their food proved unbearable for city fathers. In 1897, the City Council tried to keep tamale wagons from opening until 9 p.m.; four years later, the police chief recommended they close at 1 a.m. since they offered "a refuge for drunks who seek the streets when the saloons are closed for the night."

Not wanting to miss out on the action, L.A.'s school trustees warned parents that tamales were not nutritious, and thus began constructing kitchens to offer healthier lunches for students. In fact, the first school cafeteria in the country opened at Los Angeles High in 1905 after officials "long waged a crusade against the tamale wagons," according to the Los Angeles Herald. For Anglo adults, grumpy cooks serving gargantuan portions of Midwestern food were a tool to beat back the Mexicans.

Yet year after year, the tamaleros came back—demand was too strong. Eventually a combination of more restrictions plus the construction of Olvera Street, a city-endorsed mock Mexican street with many eateries offering prim-and-proper takes on comida mexicana, finally pushed the tamale wagons out of existence.

"They belong not to the new order of things," the Los Angeles Times harrumphed in 1924, as the last tamale wagons left city streets. "They were born of the pueblo—they perish in the metropolis."

Not for the last time, the Times got it wrong. Street food didn't perish in the City of Angels; it just went dormant, waiting for a later generation to love it anew and another wave of politicians to freak out.

Fast Food Nation

The suburbs of Los Angeles during the 1950s, teeming with cheap housing, middle-class jobs, and cars for days, produced the most creative explosion of fast food in American history. Pioneers like Ray Kroc of McDonald's, Glen Bell of Taco Bell, and Harry and Esther Snyder of In-N-Out Burger preached convenience and cleanliness to Space Age America, as their franchises and many others—Bob's Big Boy, Pioneer Chicken, Winchell's Donuts, Naugles—quickly spread across the Southland and beyond. Angeleno politicians mostly let them be, because fast food represented progress.

Meanwhile, a surge of Mexican immigrants in the 1960s brought street vendors back to the L.A. landscape. One of them was Raul Martinez Sr., who began selling tacos from an ice cream truck in the East Los Angeles barrio in 1974. That lonchera started Southern California's legendary King Taco chain, and it is acknowledged as the first true taco truck in America.

L.A.'s eternal protectors soon sprung into action against the lonchera reconquista. The same year Martinez opened his first truck, the City Council tried to ban sidewalk vending; only the veto of then–Mayor Tom Bradley stopped the move. In stark contrast to the present-day paternalism of Councilmember Parks, Bradley's explanation sung the praises of self-sufficiency: "I believe we need to encourage, not discourage, the creation of new small-business enterprises, without which upward mobility on the socioeconomic ladder would become that much more difficult." Imagine that.

The Council would eventually get its way in 1980, but successive councils lifted the ban in the 1990s (though only in specific districts), then rescinded that move in 2006. (The L.A. City Council, the country's highest paid, is nothing if not busy.) Two years later, members tried to prohibit taco trucks—by then, a bona fide phenomenon with legal standing due to trucks having to get inspected at commissaries every night—from parking too long in the same spot, which would have effectively ruined their business model. Only a social media-enabled uprising by loncheros and their fans shamed the Council into backing off.

Lest it be accused of food racism against Mexicans, the Council then turned its crosshairs on fast food in black (though increasingly Latino) South Central. By then, chains such as McDonald's and Carl's Jr. had become persona non grata in popular and intellectual culture, thanks to the likes of Fast Food Nation and "healthier" options like Chipotle and Panera Breads (never mind that the calorie count on some of the latter chains' entrees rival that of a candy shop). Fast food was no longer the meal of the middle-class future but the death-sentence of the lower-class damned.

A 2005 report by the Centers for Law and the Public's Health at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown, titled "The Use of Zoning to Restrict Fast Food Outlets: A Potential Strategy to Combat Obesity," provided the blueprint for progressives dreaming of putting Ronald McDonald on the run. "Given the significance of the obesity epidemic in the United States and the scientific evidence and legal basis supporting the zoning of fast food outlets," authors Julie Samia Mair, Matthew W. Pierce, and Stephen P. Teret concluded, "municipalities have an effective, yet untried, tool to address obesity in their communities."

Scholarly backing in hand, activists and nonprofits turned the screws on L.A.'s progressive leadership. In classic Californian Democratic Orwellianspeak, Councilmember Jan Perry in 2008 pitched a one-year crackdown in her South Central district (now rebranded as South L.A.) not as picking on fast food but rather creating a freer market for the poor. "This ordinance is in no way attempting to tell people what to eat but as responding to the need to attract sit-down restaurants, full service grocery stores, and healthy food alternatives," Perry declared in a press release. "Ultimately, this ordinance is about providing choices—something that is currently lacking in our community."

To the surprise of no one, the "temporary" ban became permanent in 2011.

Activists have tried other tactics besides prohibition. A farmers market and cooperative run by the South Central Farmers—who famously transformed 14 acres of vacant land in the area during the early 2000s into one of the largest urban farms in the United States, only to see it bulldozed by the L.A. Sheriff's Department at the behest of the absentee landowner—operates in the area, and nonprofits teach area children about the glories of healthy living. A Northgate Gonzalez Supermarket (a Mexican chain that—full disclosure—my dad works for as a truck driver) opened last year with help from the California FreshWorks Fund, a public-private partnership loan fund designed to bring healthy food to downtrodden 'hoods. "This is a chance to see L.A. rising, with jobs, fresh food, and new commercial infrastructure in South L.A," Mayor Eric Garcetti said during its opening in the spring of 2014.

With Choi opening up Loco'l, his healthy-fast-food chain, sometime this year, South Central is living up to its reputation as a Mecca for food activists. But what about the people who actually live there?

A damning RAND Corporation report this year found that despite the frenetic attempts at banning and re-education, obesity levels between 2007 and 2012 in South L.A. increased, and fast food consumption stayed the same.

Advocates of the ban tried desperately to spin the results. "We never believed it was going to be an overnight situation where all of a sudden the community was going to be healthy," Parks insisted to the L.A. Times. Yet the community continues to vote with their mouths, in ways that government nannies frown upon and will never understand.

Raw Deal for Raw Milk

L.A.'s hostility toward food innovators isn't limited to restaurateurs. In August 2011, after a yearlong investigation, authorities made national headlines by arresting three employees of a Venice health store called Rawsome Food. Officers staged a dramatic raid and dumped thousands of gallons of the offending milk, saving customers—none of whom had complained—from its sweet tang.

Two years before the raw milk crackdown, health inspectors began targeting Latino door-to-door salesmen for hawking a special cheese from the Mexican state of Oaxaca called quesillo, which is like a creamier mozzarella. The narcs claimed that unpasteurized, unlabeled fromage might harm people, citing a massive outbreak of listeriosis in Mexican-style soft cheeses in 1985 that killed 28 people and harmed 142. (That outbreak, though, was caused by a state-licensed mass producer of cheese.)

Though representing two vastly different segments of society—Rawsome's clients were mostly well-off health-food zealots, while quesillo fans are overwhelmingly recent Mexican immigrants—the two crackdowns paradoxically demonstrated that Californians are increasingly comfortable with buying products that don't come from a supermarket. Indeed, the Great Recession of 2008 created a bona fide food revolution in Southern California, with people reverting to the past and learning how to make their own jams, jellies, preserves, confections, jerky, and more that they then sold online and at craft fairs. The demand proved so great that in 2011, L.A. County was able to resume its Master Food Preserver program—a multi-week series of workshops and lectures run by the University of California Cooperative Extension—for the first time in more than a decade.

In response, the California Assembly in 2013 passed a so-called cottage food law, which allows for the home- production and selling of food goods like toffee, granolas, and jams. Of course, being California, this new freedom comes with red tape galore—training, sanitation, prep, and inspections virtually whenever local health inspectors feel like it.

This zig-zagging between crackdown and liberalization, between celebrating entrepreneurship and hating on corporations, puts a lot of discretion in the hands of enforcers.

"A law creates a line," the law professor Hernández-López explains. "Whether it is enforced and who it is enforced on is another question…I think cities will continue to crack down on food rebels if monied and voter interests ask leaders to do that. In California, so much of this is motivated by NIMBYism and subtle racism of migrants and populations of color living in only certain areas. The crackdown will argue unfair competition and safety, but often there is an unstated assumption that is being questioned by rebels."

Rebels like my chorizero, Celso. Celso has been feeding people from my parents' Mexican ancestral villages for as long as I can remember, preparing his take on the classic Mexican spicy sausage according to the exacting standards we demand (extra on the chile de arbol, por favor). The 65-year-old and his sons raise their own pigs in the Inland Empire, slaughter them, and sell off the products to a loyal clientele.

Celso is just one of the dozens of street vendors who have fed me my entire life, from outlaws who smuggle in cheeses and quince paste to people who sell us goat meat from their own herds to the kind women who make fresh corn on the cob to guys who make homemade pulque. Not once have my family or friends suffered food poisoning from these vendors in all these years.

When asked if he'd ever like to go legal, Celso laughed.

"No, I'm fine selling like this," he said. "I've sold chorizo here now for 40 years, with never a complaint, never a bad deal. If I tried to open up a store, I'd get all these inspections, and they'd tell me my pigs are bad, my chiles can't be brought over from Mexico, and that I don't know how to do this. I don't need the pinche americanos to tell me what I know and don't know."

Come and pry Celso's chorizo from my cold, dead hands, L.A.

NEXT: Video: The TSA's 12 Signs You Might Be a Terrorist

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. the hoi polloi

    hoi is a definite article, so the “the” is redundant.

    1. You’re redundant!

    2. And the ‘al’ in alligator comes from the word ‘the’. Therefore, ‘the alligator’ is redundant.

    3. As egould310 reppin’ LBC noted, You’re redundant!

  2. OK, good article about LA government’s hostility towards innovation in food preparation/service, but . . .

    Let’s not get all . . . hagiographic about LA’s influence on US cuisine.

    Those bacon wrapped hot dogs – have been around for over a decade, were not *invented* in LA (closer to invented in Mexicali and simply came to national attention as a side effect of LA’s food truck fight), and if they haven’t made their way to Topeka *yet, then they’re not going to show up ‘in a couple of years’.

    And *canned menudo*? Seriously? Next you’ll be claiming that BBQ was invented by poor Angelenos.

    The author is committing the same type of fallacy he decries Reichi making – the ‘not invented here’ one.

    Sr Arellano should keep in mind that, when writing for Reason, he’s writing for a *national* audience, including lot’s of us in the *rest* of the Southwest.

    1. I’m pretty sure bacon wrapped hotdogs have been in Texas for a good while- and probably all over other places too. Food trends like that don’t typically originate in one place and spread. They pop up, like bread, with different styles all over the place.

      On the other hand, I just watched a documentary about the origin of General Tso’s Chicken that traced it’s origin to a specific point… but that’s not the same as simply wrapping meat in other meat.

      1. Yeah, we never had bacon wrapped hotdogs, like… the 60’s when I was a little chirrens or nothin’.

        Nope – not until I went to LA a couple years ago. Mind opening.

      2. but that’s not the same as simply wrapping meat in other meat.

        Also, +1 turducken

    2. Actually, he’s writing for an international audience, where bacon and hot dogs have gone together forever, but we’ve only had bacon-wrapped roast corn-on-the-cob for a few decades.

      (It’s sinfully delicious, by the way…)

    3. The art of wrapping food items in bacon has been reinvented countless times over the years by every single person who has ever seen bacon sitting next to another food item and not yet wrapped around said food item. After that it was perfected by every fair in every county in America, alongside pieces of fried dough as big as an actual elephant’s ear.

  3. I was amazed at the street vendors in San Francisco during my recent trip there. Selling sausages from hot plates outside the ballpark and along the pride parade route.

    DFW wouldn’t tolerate such things- unless you’re in the barrios.

    1. Are you sure the vendors were legal? They may have just not gotten caught. Yet.

      1. Being San Fransisco, would their immigration status matter?

      2. Maybe, but there was police presence and no one cared. However, the cops in SF didn’t seem to care about much that weekend. They were, often times, actually polite. I heard more than 1 THANK people, without sarcasm, for doing things.

      3. Like everything in SF, street vendors are highly regulated. There is however a rather competent cottage industry that navigates the regulatory landscape. For a fee. I’m pretty sure these “facilitators” pay off the regulators. SF is corrupt as hell.

  4. You had me until you used ‘nosh’.

    I hate that fucking word.

    Now you can’t count on any support from me.

    1. where do you stand on “scarf” in the same context?

        1. *takes notes*

          1. *hits Almanian over the head with a tree branch*

            *takes notebook*

            *throws both notebook and branch into woodchipper*

            1. YOU BASTARD!

              *shakes fist*

      1. I prefer the classic “pig out”.

    2. Anti-Semite.

  5. A Passionate defense for Capitalism…

    …done before a hostile, snickering body of smug students at a European university. Spectacular!

    1. How many of them jetissoned the message as soon as they were out the door?

      1. No doubt, more than a few. The large-ish applause perhaps suggests something different.

        I think the immediate thing that struck me was the phalanx of points the speaker brought to bear and how effortlessly he did so. Also, that man has some brass balls to go before a hostile audience and tell the truth.

        He’s doing it right. Reagan once said that freedom is only one generation away from extinction. The left owns the education establishment. Arguments like this need to happen more frequently before younger people.

    2. There’s nothing quite like the beauty of the poured-concrete learning center.

      My own campus (Carnegie-Mellon) had Wean Hall.

  6. Money quote in all this: “I don’t need the pinche americanos to tell me what I know and don’t know.”

    Amen, brother. Back in the 1990s the Canadian government moved to remove parmiggiano-reggiano from the shelves while -get this -keeping the cheap knock-off version ‘parmesan’ around. It’s amazing how ignorant bureaucrats will stick their noses in culinary delights prepared for hundreds and somethings thousands of years with dubious ‘health risk’ assertions.

    Moving on. Ironically, chefs – perhaps driven by their excessive egos – are just as likely to engage in rhetoric that affects food policy negatively. Oliver can be nauseating as Bastiach (the guy), Ramsay and Bourdain can be. Either way, my mother can run circles around them. In fact, some of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to were run by non-chefs.

    This story reminds me of when Montreal despite its large Italian community had no real gelato places because the mob controlled , among other things, ice-cream. If you didn’t sell their products, or worse make your own gelato, you risked getting your legs broken or getting your place burned down. One guy in the east end of the city kept defying them and 20 years later when their grip was finally broken, he got to sell his gelato.

    Government or mob, they both serve to impact consumer demands negatively.

    1. ‘sometimes thousands of years…’

    2. Either way, my mother can run circles around them. In fact, some of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to were run by non-chefs.

      Culinary school teaches technique, cooking principles, and how to follow a recipe. Those things are fine and dandy, but if the chef lacks imagination, so will the food.

      1. That can all be self-taught.

        I don’t mean to downplay culinary school – not at all – but I do get slightly irritated when chefs play that angle.

        Also, screw the Michelin star system. ;

        1. there are reasons why we don’t use that system in the US, with 2 cities of exception.

          1. Chefs have committed suicide over it.

            Talk about exaggerating.

        2. I would think that culinary school and imagination would be the ideal combination, though in my years working in restaurants I never came across such a person. It seemed to be one or the other.

    3. “Government or mob”

      Yet more redundancy. Sigh.

  7. IIRC, the issue with the bacon-wrapped hot dogs was that the health inspectors require a triple sink for sanitation purposes when raw meat in being used. A typical hotdog stand doesn’t have a triple sink. Not that that makes it right, but the issue wasn’t pork on pork. It was the lack of an approved cleaning station.

  8. Dear God, why does this odious turd continue to get a voice at Reason? He’s a smug, racist Progtard who has no business contributing to a magazine dedicated to Libertarian principles. Who’s this guy blowing?

    1. care to elaborate?

      1. I live in OC and a number of people have related to me their unfortunate experiences of having interacted with the loathsome imbecile. My ex used to run a library here, and she told me about the times he’d make appearances and how he treated the (mostly white) staff and patrons. One time he even wrote a column in the OC Weekly where he openly mocked the library staff as close-minded racists because they were unaware of an obscure, Spanish-language bookstore in downtown Santa Ana. After hearing what actually happened (my ex, in spite of her faults, was NOT a liar or exaggerator) and then reading his take in that column told me everything I needed to know about him. It disgusts me to continually see his name in this small pocket of sanity.

        1. I just googled the guy and he has a very punchable face.

          1. Combined with a smug, punchable attitude. I realize that he sometimes comes across as humorous and even self-deprecating in his columns and on the radio. But it’s all an act. He’s nothing like that in real life.

            1. So…not free minds and not free markets at Reason?
              Libertarianism is best served when kept very, very small, isolated, obscure, pure.

              1. I’m no purist. But this guy believes the polar opposite of nearly everyone here, and I’m sure he’d have no problem telling us that we’re all wrong to believe what we do. Sorry, but I can’t stand close-minded, intolerant people who think they’re right about everything. I might have strong opinions, but I’m always willing to hear the other side.

                1. He *is* a huge arsehole.

                  Even his ‘humorous’ ‘Ask A Mexican’ column is written as if its target audience – white people – are complete morons who’ve never seen a Mexican in their life.

                  1. Yes. Thanks, Agammamon…

                2. He’s the Ask a Mexican guy, right? He’s a dipshit La Raza racist.

                  1. Yes! Spread the word, brother!

        2. Plus, he’s all-in on La Raza, right?

          1. Of course. The famous, non-racist organization whose name literally translates to “The Race,” and who would like to see the Southwest reclaimed by Mexico and all non-Hispanics forced to “go back where they came from.”

            1. I came from Michigan. So did my dad (my mom’s from PA – close enough).
              Can I stay here?

              1. I don’t know, can you pass? I’ve been in California my whole life (51 years) and don’t really want to leave. But I see no choice. Hispanics just became the majority here and I realize it’s only a matter of time before the Progressives use that power to punish the white oppressors for perceived/imagined crimes in the past.

        3. Heh.

          Reminds me of the time I interv for a job in my hometown – mid-MI farmtown with a VERY high hispanic population (migrants who settled). Company was based in NC or someplace, and the one guy says, “You don’t speak Spanish? Why, I’d think with that high hispanic population, you’d WANT to?” “Um, dude, I FUCKING GREW UP THERE. Know who spoke Spanish? The SPANISH TEACHER. And a VERY LIMITED NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN THEIR OWN HOMES. No one at school, never in the hallway, never in a business….everyone spoke English. EVERYONE….” So I took French.

          Some dude gonna try to demonstrate how he knew more about my hometown than I did, but he was just a Proggie douche. They offered me the job – I declined….

          1. Many people here in Southern California speak Spanish and nothing else. There are whole city blocks of Spanish-only businesses where people like me are not welcome. Even though I had two years of Spanish in school I refuse to speak it. If I moved to another country that spoke another language I would do whatever it took to learn it, and wouldn’t expect everyone else to adapt to accommodate me. But what do I know, I’m just an ignorant racist. I’m sure Gustavo Arellano would agree…

            1. Perhaps you are. And with that sort of attitude, the lack of “welcome” might be understandable, though I suspect that it’s more in your head than in reality.

              Spanish is not that difficult to learn, it doesn’t actually cause physical pain to speak another language, and the vast majority of Hispanics in the second and third generation speak English.

              1. Yeah, my cousins live in Texas now, and a bunch are half Mexican. If I ever moved to the SW, I figured learning Spanish would be a REALLY good idea.

                Kinda like brushing up on my French if I ever moved to Quebec…..

                1. I have found it more useful in some places than others, and of course, it matters what groups of people you interact with regularly.
                  In southern NM, I used Spanish daily. In Denver, it comes in handy if you’re working in the trades, or want to frequent certain clubs and such, otherwise not so much.
                  But, even if you only know how to say “hola” and smile, it can make people smile back.

              2. Why is it MY job to learn the language of people who chose to come here but refuse to learn our language? And it’s difficult to order in restaurants where no one speaks English, so that’s why I no longer go to those parts of town. Plus, how do I know they’re not spitting in the food just as Jesse Jackson used to do whenever white people patronized the restaurant where he worked?

                1. You seem like a kind and cheerful person.

                  1. I am kind, but not always cheerful. Like my hero Spock I keep my emotions to myself.

                2. Its not *our* language. There is no ‘our language’ in the US. There’s just a language that the majority of us consider to be useful for interaction.

                  That language can (and does) change over time.

                  1. As I’ve explained previously, nations that don’t encourage a common language wind up having huge problems down the road. I honestly don’t care what language we speak in the US. Let’s pick one and everyone learn it so we can all interact and get along. Why is that so unreasonable?

                    1. Who gets to pick? How often do we get to pick? Is it a one-time vote and that locks the language in for all time?

                      ‘Cause it seems to me that what language ‘we’ use is simply subject to market forces.

                      And nations that run into those problems tend to do so because they try to *force* people to remain part of that nation even after its obvious that they have irreconcilable differences.

                      Its similar to saying that we could never create new states out of the existing ones – even after its blatantly obvious that, for example, there are huge differences between SoCal, NoCal, and the liberal core of LA and San Fran.

                    2. How about a worldwide vote and majority rules? But if we did that I suppose we’d all be speaking Chinese. I was just trying to make the point that I have no particular fondness for English or any animosity toward Spanish (or any other language). My concern is with the importance of communicating with one another. Being segregated and unable to communicate leads to all kinds of problems that we have yet to fully experience here in the US.

            2. . . . Spanish-only businesses where people like me are not welcome.

              I find that hard to believe. Sure, these guys didn’t learn English and so they can’t facilitate a transaction with you – but this is the *United States*. Freedom means speaking whatever language we want. If you want then to learn English, you need to provide some economic incentive to do so. They simply, by nature, have so few English-only speakers as customers that its not worth it.

              And I bet that most of those businesses cater to predominately 1st generation immigrants (legal or otherwise) for who Spanish is a first language and are sheltered within family ties from having to deal with the English speaking majority – essentially ethnic ghettoes of the same type that existed during the large influxes of Italians/Japanese/Chinese/etc.

              And even with all that – I live in a predominately Mexican area and deal with these types of businesses a lot (for example, my local grocery/hardware/autoparts store – yes, they’re all *one* store). I can almost guarantee that the store staff speaks decent English and will use it if you ask, they’re just more comfortable in Spanish and are sometimes embarrassed to use English because its not ‘good’.

              And, ultimately, it shouldn’t really be important. Your *money* is always welcome and these are strictly *business* transactions.

              1. Yeah, the areas I refer to are primarily first-generation and most came here illegally. Sure, they’ll take my money. But I don’t get the service or hospitality that I experience in other parts of town (including other ethnic enclaves). I can tell they don’t want my business so I take my business elsewhere.

              2. FWIW, I live in a town that’s predominantly Mexican immigrants and their kids. Wonderful place. The kids are all perfectly comfortable in both English and Spanish, the first gen adults are very accommodating to my rather basic (to be kind) Spanish. I’ve never been turned away from a business or a restaurant, never been hit up by a Mexican beggar, never been forced to attend a quinceanera at gunpoint.

                Excellent food, excellent neighbors.

                1. I’m grateful to have grown up in such a diverse area, as opposed to 95% white Vermont. But language is essential for people to interact and get to know each other rather than forming their own isolated communities made up of just ‘their kind.’ By refusing to learn English immigrant are missing out on opportunities that might provide a better life for them and their children. A nation needs a common language, and I don’t care if that language is English or Spanish or Esperanto. Let’s pick one and all use it.

                  1. Immigrants *aren’t* refusing to learn English. But these people are *adults* when they come over – and as an adult, its difficult to learn a new language.

                    The 2nd generation are fluent in Spanish and English and the 3rd generation barely speaks Spanish at all.

                    The difference here between Mexican and, say, Italian immigration is that Italian immigration came in one large wave with much smaller follow on.

                    Mexican immigration has been in smaller but more constant amounts over a long time. So you are constantly getting an influx of 1st gen immigrants – and businesses that accommodate them.

                    1. I don’t know where you live, but many immigrants in California don’t learn English because they don’t feel they have to. All government offices and forms for handouts are provided in English (there’s a new illegal-only DMV right down the street from me that I’m not allowed to use), and public schools actually teach the kids in Spanish. To be clear, I have far more resentment toward the public officials who accommodate and encourage immigrants to eschew English than I do the people who come here hoping for a better life. Just as I blame politicians for creating our generous welfare state while refusing to protect the border.

                    2. Yeah, and here in Southern AZ they don’t learn because they don’t have to either. And they don’t have to because they pushed back against the difficulty of learning and others supported that.

                      Public schools near here *tried* to teach in Spanish – until the Mexicans (including the illegals with children here) exploded and told the school district to teach in English.

                      Frankly, I don’t know anyone past the 1st generation who can’t handle English as easily as Spanish.

                    3. We may share a common border, but in most ways Arizona and California are polar opposites. The people of California actually voted a few years back to only teach school in English. But that was ignored and right now there are schools in LA teaching the kids in Spanish. A popular DJ on a Spanish language radio station recently commented that he’s lived here for 30 years–and still can’t speak any English. I realize most immigrants who come here are eager to learn the language and fit in. But California politicians make it far too easy for people to not learn the language or assimilate. That’s bad for everyone, but it’s especially harmful to the immigrants who are guaranteeing themselves second-class status and diminished opportunities. Some might suggest that’s the plan, but I’m not that cynical…yet.

                    4. Immigrants *aren’t* refusing to learn English. But these people are *adults* when they come over – and as an adult, its difficult to learn a new language.

                      That’s the same thing to a bigot. Can’t get fluent in a new language at the age of 40? Prefer to live in a community where your native language is spoken and understood? Working hard to make a better life for your kids? FUCK YOU, GO HOME.

                    5. Damn! That’s some serious leaping to conclusions! Seriously, who the fuck said (or even implied) what you just spouted? Sounds like a lot or projection, if you ask me.

                2. Like anyone would have to force you to attend a 15 year old girl’s birthday party.

                  1. Huh? What does that even mean?

                    1. Old man said that he’d “never been forced to attend a quinceanera at gunpoint.”
                      That’s what a quinceanera is, a coming of age party for Mexican young ladies, held on their 15th birthday.

                    2. Ah, OK. Thought that crack was directed at me. Personally, I hate birthdays and don’t celebrate my own.

                    3. Yeah, it’s a pretty big thing in that culture. Maybe between prom and a wedding? Any Latinos here correct me if I’m wrong.
                      Also, I think that the quinceanera may be celebrated more widely than just Mexico; it makes me sense that it would be a Spanish/Catholic deal, so probably is practiced in large parts of the world: I’m just familiar with the Mexican observations of the day.

                    4. The quinciera is alive and well in Costa Rica. I attended my landlord’s daughter’s (quinciera) and a good time was had by all.

                      As an aside, here in CR the age for marriage (with parents consent) is also 15.

                  2. Like anyone would have to force you to attend a 15 year old girl’s birthday party.

                    OK, busted.

              3. I find that hard to believe.

                That’s because it’s total bullshit from a slimy bigot.

                1. Thank you for allowing the mask to slip. The fact you would leap to that conclusion from so little evidence says more about you than me.

                  1. The evidence is plentiful. No mask, I have nothing but contempt for bigots and make no effort to disguise it.

                    1. You’ve leaped to a conclusion after making incorrect assumptions about what I’ve been saying. Whatever. I sometimes relate to my girlfriend (a full-blooded Polynesian lady who is darker than most Hispanics, if that helps my case) how I am often called a racist and sexist online (usually by Proggies), and she can’t believe it because she knows who and what I am better than someone who I’ve exchanged a few words with on the Internet. But if it makes you feel better to call someone you don’t know names so that you can feel enlightened and superior, good for you.

  9. There’s an article about food trucks in Austin just waiting to be written. There’s a love-hate between the progs and the trucks, but the dirty secret is that the vast majority are owned by a single Evil Korporation.

    Side note: When I lived in Napa, there was one particular roach coach that I really liked. The burritos were just wonderful. I wondered if it was just me or if the food really was that good. One day, I’m in line just before lunch and struck up a conversation with the only other Anglo around, who looked vaguely familiar. He said, “Oh, I never miss an opportunity to grab some lunch from these guys when I can. They do an outstanding job.” It hit me a few minutes later that he was Michael Chiarello.

    1. Our food truck article in Minnesoda is way better than yours. Why? Because it has explosions!…..295482551/

      You libertarian bastards want food trucks to drive around and explode. Probably while surrounded by kids too!

      1. You libertarian bastards want food trucks to drive around and explode. Probably while surrounded by kids too!

        Well . . . yeah.

        Explosions are a core (L)ibertarian Party plank.

        1. Explosions at the weekly meetings are the only reason (drink) that I can put up with the mandatory reading from Ayn Rand.
          I keep trying to get them to change to Orwell, but they won’t.

      2. I’m in Minneapolis in a couple weeks. Where’s the best pizza? Real pizza, not that deep dish thing that some tards insist on calling pizza.

  10. From the HitNRun posting that introduces this article: “Whether you’re a gourmand or a grubber…”

    Maybe you mean “gourmet”?

    “Gourmand” is not a synonym for “gourmet.” “Gourmand” started its life as a synonym for “glutton.” Over the years, it has come to be associated with “good eating,” but in mass quantities, to excess. That fellow who, eating at a fine restaurant, advises the waiter to “better get a bucket” in the Monty Python sketch, is a gourmand’s gourmand. If he were at Taco Bell, on the other hand, he would merely be a gluttonous grubber.

    A “gourmet” always prefers quality to quantity, and is the type of person who would gladly pay high prices for small portions, as long as the food were perfectly prepared and exquisite to the senses.

    1. Hmmm … I wrote the above before reading the whole article, and mistakenly assumed that some staffer at Reason had made questionable use of “gourmand.” But now I see that the phrase I quoted was actually taken from Sr. Arellano’s work, after all. So I guess that puts me in the position of being a pinche americano whom the author needs to tell him what he doesn’t know. De nada.

  11. NannyState Nomination:

    Wired: Mexico’s Soda Tax Is Working. The US Should Learn From It…..-us-learn/

    I have loved Wired since issue 1, but I hate when they go all progtardy …

    1. Does it work as well as their gun laws?

      Did they control for ‘over-the-border’ purchases? Because there’s a significant number of people living in San Luis Rio Colorado that hop over to San Luis, AZ to grocery shop (and vice-versa).

      Or did they control for a population where a single-peso/liter increase is actually *not* ‘relatively small’?

      A 20 percent tax, which Berkeley’s averages out to be, would be even better.

      Why? Why wouldn’t a 100% tax be even better. Or, better yet, a complete ban? Is it because 20% is what they think they can get away with? That it will drive increased tax revenue without significantly affecting soda consumption, so they get more money while still having a ‘problem’ to ‘solve’?

  12. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h? Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!……

  13. I like Gustavo and have read his book. But where does he get the idea working-class proles have rights in a mixed economy? Social insects and their imitators have Queens (politicians), drones (archbishops, field marshals, cops, bureaucrats, lawyers and other parasites) and workers (the proles shoved out of the nest after a life of enslavement). But I am happy to see new support for the only party I can stand–especially from folks who are smart, funny and can write in two languages.

  14. Hey, Jayhawkers: Get ready for bacon-wrapped hot dogs!”

    Um, I hate to break this to you, but the midwest has been wrapping shit in bacon since before Los Angeles decided to start speaking English.

  15. The much broader issue here, besides over-regulation and it’s discriminatory roots, is the way governments treat licenses and those who must have them. As pointed out on the last page of this illuminating article, if you have to get a license or permit to sell your jams, jellies or whatever then the government can impose its arbitrary will on you under the guise of “regulations”.

    Nine years ago a friend had a home office for financial consulting – and a city license to do so – was forced to undergo an “inspection” of his facilities (i.e. front bedroom). City officials officiously demanded to see the “restroom” his staff (none) and clients would use. The result – a citation for his bathroom not having “handicapped access”. Never mind that he had no handicapped clients they argued. “You might get one, what then?” During a pending appeal the city inspectors returned and demanded to inspect the entire home including opening drawers and closets. He threw them out claiming his 4th Amendment rights were being violated. Of course his license was suspended pending appeal (because “regulations” allowed it) and after he won the appeal, the city took 5 months to re-instate his license. The message was clear, bow down to your civil overlords or we revoke your ability to work.

  16. Next they will ban the bikini girls selling hotdogs on the side of the road. Sexist exploitive food marketing!!!

  17. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.