710 Call to Action

Ξ September 11th, 2009 | → 5 Comments | ∇ 90041, 90042, 90065, Beyond Northeast, Politics |

The Future Intersection of Eagle Rock Blvd. and Verdugo? (kcet.org)

The Future Intersection of Eagle Rock Blvd. and Verdugo? (kcet.org)

According ot the Stop the 710 Yahoo Group, State Senator Gil Cedillo is hoping to succeed with a bill to build the 710 extension tunnel.

SB545, Cedillo’s bill removing the surface 710 and substituting tunnels for the project, did not pass yesterday as the vote was 34 to 14.  Mike Eng asked for a motion of recosideration to agendize it again today.  It would help a lot if people would call Assemblyman DeLeon (916) 319-2045 or Assemblyman John Perez (916) 319-2046 (at their Sacramento offices) to object to passage of this bill.  The Assembly session will be going until midnight probably, so even if you get this after coming home it would help to call.

Cedillo’s own website offers this summary of his bill:

This bill would ensure that no surface highway will be constructed between Valley Boulevard in the City ofLos Angeles and Del Mar Boulevard in the city of Pasadena, leaving construction of a tunnel as the only alternative to close the 710 gap. SB 545 is a huge victory for the City of South Pasadena, the surrounding communities and the people that travel and live in the region.

This is only a victory for those who don’t mind a six-lane freeway being built under, or having the tunnel’s terminus in, their neighborhood.  For the rest of us, this is still a problem.

In case you’re more comfortable sending an email, the two Assemblyman’s contacts are at the bottom of the page.  Here is the brief letter I wrote.

Dear Assemblyman,

I oppose the 710 freeway extension in any form.  Spending money that neither California nor the federal government has, jeapordizing the respiratory health of the residents in these communities, and destroying the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people is not worth the small savings in transit times for trucks.  I expect you to oppose any attempt at building this freeway.  Thank you.

See the text of SB545.

Read a Sacramento Bee article about SB545.

Assemblyman Kevin DeLeon’s contact page.

Assemblyman John Peréz’s contact page.


Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children?

Ξ August 30th, 2009 | → 2 Comments | ∇ Food, Politics |

There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about and that is being not talked about. – Oscar Wilde

While most newspaper columnists wax poetically about their children going off to college this time of year, it was nice to catch Pat Morrison’s piece in Saturday’s LA Times proving we’re still relevant bloggers in the minds of a few.  The Mt. Washington resident interviewed County Supervisor (and fellow Mt. Washingtonian) Gloria Molina, to, in part, touch on last year’s taco truck debate:

Were you surprised at the huge reaction against your ordinance cracking down on illegally parked taco trucks?

Absolutely. The people who made it kind of a gag almost certainly don’t know any of the issues. I had a taco truck in front of a school — they wouldn’t move, they just paid the citations and parents complained they were crossing with their children and couldn’t see around them. I had no ability to move it out of there. We spent a lot of years negotiating — “Come on, guys, move on” — and they wouldn’t do it. I remember getting a letter from someone in West Covina who said, “What is wrong with you? There’s nothing better than going into East L.A. and having these wonderful tacos.” [These] weren’t people who had these trucks in their neighborhoods. Why is it they don’t have them in Pasadena on Colorado Boulevard? Because they don’t permit it. I’ve had good meetings with the loncheros and said, “I’m not trying to ruin your business.” [But some operators are] urinating on lawns, making noise, they’re there until 2 or 3 in the morning.

This comment needs to be addressed because we can’t allow Supervisor Molina to portray this issue in hindsight as one of privileged out-of-towners slumming it in East L.A. without regard to the health of local children.  The opposition for her legislation began in her district among her constituents. Furthermore, her characterization of our efforts as a “gag” is not nearly as troubling as minimizing the hundreds of families she was putting out of work.  It’s a shame that Supervisor Molina is preying on emotion by making this an issue about child safety when the debate is ultimately one of economics.  She attempted to please a well-organized group of moneyed businesses by pushing out a competing group of individuals with less money and even less influence.  There is an honest economic discussion to be had here, but the introduction of children into the debate is a shameful scare tactic.  Fortunately, the loncheros have legal council from the UCLA Labor Center and have organized into a lobbying association, which will make it harder for them to be the prey of Big Taco.  Supervisor Molina can call us whatever she wants (“blogosphere alarmists” comes to mind), but like it or not, the loncheros have become a special interest that Southern California politicians would be fools to ignore.


Loncheros Unidos and other Mobile Food Updates

Ξ June 12th, 2009 | → Comments Off | ∇ Beyond Northeast, Food, Politics |

Not exactly NELA specific, but Thursday night, the newly official Loncheros Association celebrated their granting of “trade association” status at the UCLA Labor Center in MacArthur Park.  The food was excellent, the mood was upbeat, and everyone there was excited at how far the group has come while still recognizing how far they still have to go.  Essentially the Loncheros have organized in order to more effectively lobby the city, county, and state government.  While some degree of legislation is inevitable, they hope to be able to legitimize their businesses and reach a reasonable compromise that still allows them to make a living.  (For example, a one hour time limit punishable by jail time is not something they consider reasonable.)

Community Organizer Erin Glenn Speaks

Community Organizer Erin Glenn Speaks

We ran into El Random Hero from LA Eastside, and he took some photos and wrote a nice piece on his site.

In other related news:

  • Negative assumptions about taco trucks still abound.  I have  a feeling Eastsider LA  may be asking “Do taco trucks attract criminals as well as carne asada lovers?” in order to attract hits, but we’ll link to them nonetheless.  The answer is simple: Yes.  Everyone eats whether they be “criminal” or not, but I have never experienced Taco Trucks as being a magnet for illegal activity (beyond parking infractions).  In fact, I would argue that adding crowds and light to otherwise deserted streets make a neighborhood safer.  As for dealing drugs out of the trucks, that seems to be more of a Starbucks issue lately (but I doubt if the city will be trying to push them out of business anytime soon). 
  • Silver Lake and Echo Park are riding to the rescue of the ladies at Taco Zone.  Tonight Spaceland held a show benefiting the well-loved and recently firebombed taco truck.
  • Fox Searchlight has released the trailer for 500 Days of Summer starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel.  While this may seem totally unrelated to the loncheros (it mostly is), the production team was a big fan of the saveourtacotrucks.org cause and invited us to an evening of shooting at the Redwood Bar & Grille downtown.  Look for the “Carne Asada is not a Crime” posters in one of the exterior shots when they put a mutual friend into a cab.  Unfortunately, that scene isn’t in the trailer.
  • Finally, Dwell magazine will be hosting a design forum downtown on June 26th.  The 12:00 panel will include yours truly, along with the owner of the Green Truck and the co-founder of Let’s Be Frank.  The topic on hand will be Los Angeles’ quickly changing mobile food scene.  Even better than listening to us talk for an hour will be Saturday’s “Mobile Restaurant Row”.


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