Oakland City Councilman Thinks Food Trucks Are Only Frequented By Thugs, Hookers

Councilman Larry Reid
Councilman Larry Reid Photo: Courtesy of the City of Oakland

Wondering why the fight to get food trucks permitted in Oakland is so difficult, despite the fact that taco trucks have been swarming the Fruitvale for several decades? Well, it seems at least one City Council member, Larry Reid, who represents the eastern end of the city, believes that “food trucks are the dining of choice for thugs, ne’er-do-wells and ladies of the night,” according to Chip Johnson in the Chron. Reid and others have been reluctant to revise a 2001 ordinance on the books that forbids food trucks from congregating in the same place, and also the city has been super slow to issue permits to trucks, with only about two dozen of the 100 or so operating there holding valid permits. Thus you had that kerfuffle earlier this month in which the police shut down the burgeoning Bites on Broadway event, even though it had the city’s tacit approval to get off the ground.

Johnson calls the Oakland food truck law “the epitome of bad timing, passed [in 2001, just] as the industry was expanding from taco trucks to gourmet food.” But he reports that the Council agreed in May to revise the ordinance, and also, Bites on Broadway lives on! The Friday event quickly regrouped, and for now they’re gathering at Studio One, a city-owned arts center, at 365 45th Street, just west of Broadway, and crossing their fingers that no more neighbors try to shut them down.

In related news, Kim Severson just penned a piece about nationwide food truck backlashes for the NYT.

Oakland food trucks slowed by legal roadblocks
Earlier: Bites On Broadway, Oakland’s Newest Street Food Fest, Shut Down By Police
Another Food Truck Fest Launches in Oakland: Bites on Broadway

Oakland City Councilman Thinks Food Trucks Are Only Frequented By Thugs, Hookers