Will L.A.’s Fast-Food Ban Affect Street Vendors?

Kim Severson looks at L.A.’s proposed fast-food ban today in the Times, and, after summing up the familiar terms of the debate (health vs. the creeping power of the nanny state, etc.), brings up a bizarre fact we hadn’t heard before: Jonathan Gold, the Pulitzer Prize–winning L.A. critic, points out that the legislation, as currently drafted, will drive out not just mass franchises but downscale Latino street foods like barbacoa and papusas. The language of the law defines the fast-food restaurants not in any meaningful way (i.e. as franchises of national corporations) but rather as having “a limited menu, items prepared in advance or prepared or heated quickly, no table orders, and food served in disposable wrapping or containers.” No doubt this was a political expedient meant to anticipate fast-food lawsuits, but it would have the effect of banning the area’s own residents from feeding their own people. Which would make no sense at all, even within the terms of the debate.

Los Angeles Stages a Fast Food Intervention [NYT]