Friday, February 17, 2012

AB1678 Goes Too Far - Banning Food Trucks Near Schools


This week the California food trucks and food truck lovers were outraged to learn that Assemblyman Bill Monning from Carmel had introduced Assembly Bill 1678. This bill would essentially ban food trucks within 1,500 feet of any elementary and secondary school from the hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. And we aren't talking just 1,500 feet from the school building, but from the school property line. We all know how big some school campuses can be.

Why is AB 1678 ridiculous?

First, I find it rather interesting that Monning is from Carmel where I doubt they have more than one or two food trucks at all. What experience does he have with the modern food truck movement? How does his smaller constituency and district have any comparison to the major cities were the food truck movement is really taking place and where the urban landscape is completely different than his own?  My guess - the major city representatives knew better than to sponsor this bill and so it got handed off for Monning to put his name on it. 

Nutrition

The idea is that we are supposed to be ensuring that school children are getting fed nutritional food. Yet they still consider pizza a vegetable because of the tomato sauce on it?  How about the McDonald's and the doughnut shop that's just a block away from the school? Are they serving nutritional food? With Monning's logic he should be writing legislation forcing the fast food places to serve only nutritional food from 6-6 if they are walking distance from a school. 

In reality the gourmet food trucks are selling foods made from whole, not processed, ingredients. They are buying fresh ingredients daily from many local farms and vendors. Monning is generalizing all trucks back to the 'roach coach' versions that still roam the streets. For him to blame all the trucks for poor quality food is unfair. The gourmet level trucks, in many cases, can be argued to be selling better quality food than some school cafeterias.

How is a fresh gyro made with lots of fresh produce and meat on a flatbread worse than a cafeteria's chicken nuggets?  How are burgers made by hand from quality ground beef bought from the best purveyors worse than a preformed burger patty made from scraped remnants from lower quality beef? 

Distance

The biggest problem with this bill is the 1,500 food distance. 1,500 feet is almost one third of a mile or equal to about 4 city blocks in Sacramento. That, in some ways, is not that great a distance, but when you use a map and draw circles around all the schools, you actually cover a lot of area.  The distance is 360 degrees around the school's property lines and you have to include elementary, middle, junior high, and high schools. You also have to include ALL schools - public and private. That's a lot of schools. Here is a map that shows how it effects Sacramento. It's really bad for cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco where it pretty much wipes out anywhere for the trucks to roam.

Meanwhile there are plenty of brick and mortar places such as pot dispensaries, liquor stores, mini-markets, and, of course, fast food places all within the same distance. How is it different for a child to walk to the corner 7-11 to buy a Mountain Dew, Doritos, and Skittles than to a food truck for well-made sandwich?

Monning says it is unsafe for children to be walking off from campus. Well many schools are already closed campuses where the children are not supposed to leave anyway. Why punish office workers and laborers in the area from enjoying truck food?

AB 1678 is a classic poorly written, un-researched, politically motivated, industry subsidized bill. It needs to be killed.

Please oppose AB 1678 and call Assemblyman Monning and tell him to leave our food
trucks alone!

Call Monning at (916) 319-2027 or contact Bill Monning here.
also here at 

Social media has worked against the banks, Verizon, Komen, and more. Let's make it work for the food trucks, who love and use social media for their livelihood. Let social media save their businesses. 





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