Effort against LA-area taco trucks loses its bite
The great Taco Truck Wars of 2008 appear to have come to a close.
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office said Friday that it won't appeal a judge's ruling in August that threw out a law requiring taco truck operators to move every hour or face $1,000 fines and possible jail time.
Phil Greenwald, an attorney for the vendors, praised the prosecutor's decision.
"After all, they're not selling porn, they're not selling drugs, all they're selling is food," he told The Associated Press. "Carne asada is not a crime."
The law was passed last spring after restaurateurs complained that taco trucks parking on the streets near their businesses were drawing away customers and forcing some businesses to the brink of bankruptcy.
The truck drivers, many of them immigrants, complained that they were unfairly singled out. The ban affected unincorporated sections of the county, including the vast, largely Latino East Los Angeles neighborhood where many of the trucks operate.
No citations issued since the ordinance went into effect May 15 will be prosecuted, Greenwald said.
"They're giving up the ghost," Greenwald said. "They're just quitting."
The district attorney's decision came nearly a month after county officials announced they would ask the judge to reconsider his decision to throw out the law. The officials have argued the trucks are a nuisance because they park at the same spot every day and bring in noise and traffic.
Superior Court Judge Dennis Aichroth ruled Aug. 27 that the law was "too ambiguous to be enforceable."
County Supervisor Gloria Molina introduced the ordinance. A phone message left with her office late Friday for comment was not immediately returned.
Molina spokeswoman Roxane Marquez said last spring that the ordinance was meant to regulate "quality-of-life issues."
"Our intent was not to put any catering trucks out of business, but to ensure fairness to our residents — those who live in homes right in front of or across the street from where trucks do business everyday, all hours of the day or night," Marquez said.
Long live the Roach Coach
"Carne asada is not a crime."