Santa Monica to Ban Late-Night Food Trucks on Main; City Council Apparently Unfamiliar With Drunk Munchies
Wack! The seven City Councilmembers occupying that gorgeous beachside Hall over in Santa Monica seem to have little idea what keeps the party people going a few blocks south.
They've tentatively approved an ordinance that will ban food trucks on Main Street, between Ocean Park and Marine -- the part of the city packed tightest with clubs and bars. (Really the only happening spot, late at night, west of the 405. Unless you count Abbott Kinney in Venice, which can get a little dark and bougie for your average Katy Perry.)
It appears the only cool person left on Council...
... is Terry O'Day, who tried to talk some sense into her staunch associates at the meeting last week, to no avail. Via Lookout News:
Council member Terry O'Day wasn't convinced that banning food trucks outright was the best solution, pointing out that banning them from the small stretch of Main Street could just move the problems caused by lingering crowds a few streets over.
... "The last thing I'd want to do would be to sterilize the street," O'Day added. "We have more people on Main Street these days, and I see the food trucks as an amenity to that."
CSUN Womens Soccer
TicketsFri., Sep. 2, 7:00pm
UCLA Bruins Men's Soccer vs. University of Akron Zips Men's Soccer
TicketsMon., Sep. 5, 5:00pm
UCLA Bruins Women's Soccer vs. North Carolina Tarheels Soccer
TicketsFri., Sep. 9, 7:00pm
Premium Seating: Los Angeles Angels v TEXAS RANGERS
TicketsFri., Sep. 9, 7:05pm
Problem is, sterile streets are exactly what the city has been aiming for, as of late. Santa Monica used to be biggest left-wing, limousine-liberalism hub this side of the Bay Area. But in the last few years, in a blatant attempt to lure Beverly Hills upscalers looking for something with a little more seabreeze, City Hall has driven out pot shops, RVs and anything else that dirty youth might cling to.
Sadly, though, O'Day's bleeding heart was overpowered by a 5-1 vote, and -- since the upper-middle-class 20somethings that populate Main from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. are probably the last fools on Earth to be seen at a City Council meeting -- a final vote on November 22 will likely pass with flying colors.
View Larger Map
The thing that makes us angriest about the food-truck crackdown is not, surprisingly, the thought of living without Vietnamese tacos at arm's reach this weekend.
It's the ridiculous rationale that Santa Monica police and the City Attorney are using to justify the ordinance.
According to Lookout News, Police Captain Carol Larson told local pols that food trucks create "an attractive place to congregate" and "a party atmosphere." She even provided a two-minute video of the scene on Main after bars let out, seeing as Councilmembers have clearly never witnessed it with their own eyes:
The video showed people jaywalking and hailing cabs from the middle of the street. It also showed dozens of people sitting on curbs next to food trucks, their legs in parking spaces, while they ate their food.
City Attorney Marsha Moutrie added that "the sidewalk becomes unusable" and "pedestrians cross in the middle of the street and many of them are intoxicated."
Essentially, they complained that Main Street has become way too fun.
Being somewhat familiar with that area ourselves (ahem), we're quite sure that no more pedestrian accidents occur on Main than near any other L.A. nightlife cluster. Very few cars come through at that hour, and most are going crazy slow to accomodate the crowds.
And if you're going to use the "sucking up police resources" angle, what about the city's two bustling farmers markets every week? Just because they're frequented by a more harmless-looking crowd, doesn't make them any less dangerous.
In fact, speaking of farmers markets, it seems to us the real public safety hazards in Santa Monica aren't caused by the young people, but the old. Need we mention the blind old bat who plowed through the Fourth of July parade? Or, uh, Whitey Bulger?
"We're hoping if you support this law, that you'll pass it before the holiday break," Moutrie told the council. "... We think it will greatly improve the safety on Main Street."
Oh, great. Merry Christmas, Westside riff-raff! Now scram (read: drunk drive) to West Hollywood before we go completely "Footloose" on your arses!
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.