Will there be food trucks at tonight's first 2011 installment of First Fridays? Maybe, maybe not, but contrary to various reports (including on this blog), no happy agreement has been reached between the Abbot Kinney Merchants Committee (AKMC) and the SoCal Mobile Food Vendors Association (SCMFVA). Bigfoot Entertainment had supposedly stepped in to find a compromise of sorts, in which the trucks could park in their lot on Electric Avenue across from the Brig.
But Bigfoot has canceled plans to host the trucks in their lot, after what they call a "miscommunication." There may be some on the streets themselves, as there were no parking bans posted as of last night and California law says that you need 24 hours advance notice, but who knows, given the somewhat confusing situation.
AKMC, in an attempt to clarify things, says that they "do not support any effort to bring additional food trucks to Abbot Kinney without further deliberations on the growing impact the unsustainable, and under-regulated, influx of food trucks has on our surrounding community."
For their part, Bigfoot sent out this statement:
Due to what appears to be a miscommunication following a verbal agreement between Bigfoot, the AKMC and the SoCal MFVA, we will unfortunately not host food trucks on our lot for First Fridays. We hope that in the future the two groups can find a way to co-exist for First Fridays for the benefit of everyone who frequents and appreciates the food trucks.
When we talked to Matt Geller of the non-profit SCMFVA this afternoon, he sounded very tired and not a little frustrated. ("You're not going to yell at me too are you?" was his way of answering the phone.) According to Geller, who says that Bigfoot initially approached him, the mess is mostly due to lots of miscommunication and so much back and forth that it sounds like the community of Abbot Kinney might want to hire a mediator as well as a permanent trash collection service.
Geller said that both he and Bigfoot were getting plenty of negative feedback from local merchants; he also says that he did indeed talk with AKMC's Carol Tantau. "Tell me, who was I supposed to talk to?" asked Geller rhetorically on the phone. "I don't know when the AKMA became the Venice community." Geller says that he totally agrees that there had been too many food trucks on the street, but that he is simply trying to find a solution. "You want to find me? I'll be wearing a red shirt," he said. "Trust me, on First Fridays, I just want to stay home and watch a movie."
So as for tonight, there will be a few food trucks at the Brig, as there always are, as well as a Port-O-Potty (breaking news!). As for whether or not other trucks show up, they'll be able to park on the street as long as they're within 200 feet of an approved restroom, says Geller, though he wasn't sure how many would be there, or if there would be any at all.
Was there an initial agreement? Was there not? Will there be food trucks tonight? Stay tuned for the soap opera that is what Abbot Kinney has become now that it's all gentrified. You might want to bring your dinner. Or maybe we should all stay home and watch Lords of Dogtown.