Call them what you will: roach coaches, loncheras, snack vans. But taco trucks are a rich part of our region's heritage -- as much so as, say, sidewalk sausage vendors in New York or crab stands at San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf. Yet the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has another word for these mobile kitchens: nuisance.
Two weeks ago, supervisors passed an ordinance that, starting May 15, will make it a misdemeanor to park a taco truck in one spot for more than an hour. There was already a law on the books forcing them to move on after 30 minutes, but the price for violating it was a fine of just $60, which vendors simply shrugged off as a cost of doing business. Now they'll face a fine of up to $1,000 or six months in jail.
Supervisors may have expected the new law to attract little controversy; after all, it was backed by Eastside restaurateurs and developers, a group with considerably more money and political power than the largely immigrant entrepreneurs who own taco trucks. But it has raised the ire of a far larger group: the thousands of Angelenos who have long gathered at taco trucks, in many cases since childhood, for quick carnitas burritos or mouthwatering cemitas, central Mexican sandwiches filled with avocado, cheese, fried meat and other gut-busting goodness. An Internet-driven movement started by a pair of Highland Park residents has already produced 2,200 signatures on a petition to repeal the law. Sign us up too.