The Meetings
The LaBonge meeting went well.  He has changed his tone considerably since the our campaign against the motion.  He kept saying that he is committed to working with all parties involved and that this will be a slow process that starts in the transportation committee.
The Discussion:
The meeting lasted over an hour.  After our initial pleasantries and LaBonge explaining his issues with the 5700 block of Wilshire, I asked a very simple question:  “What are the real issues?”  LaBonge’s biggest concern was the parking issue.  He kept saying the  same thing:  “Parking meters are for parking not vending.” I told him that the Cal Vehicle code and the Los Angeles Municipal Code does not make that determination and that the Cal Vehicle Code expressly forbids prohibiting vending.  LaBonge continued on about the Cities lack of parking and how the food truck trend just contributes to the issue.  After he had gone on and on about parking I asked him why the City had seen fit to give away hundreds of parking spaces to restaurants for next to nothing.   Over the past ten years, the City of Los Angeles has given restaurants metered parking to use for valet.  They’ve charged very little, if anything, and they did this through a Dept of Transportation loop hole.  There was no ordinance passed, no public scrutiny or comment, just a government giveaway of public space.  Why did they see fit to help out one segment of the food service industry with almost free parking, but completely freak out when another segment of the food service industry started using the same parking?
LaBonge’s Response:  After a brief pause he just said, “that’s what were dealing with tomorrow.”
Other things discussed:
Competition: LaBonge believes it’s unfair, I asked if he would be willing to limit the public’s choice…. No real response.
Trash: Clean up is important
Complaints: Restaurant’s as well as commercial real estate owners are complaining to him
Truck zones: Much like loading and handicapped zones, to allow larger trucks to park.
Food truck lots: I asked if he would back an ordinance making food truck lots an allowable use in commercial zones.  He liked the idea.
Koretz Staff Meeting:
The meeting with Koretz’s staff was well attended.  A few food truck owners, and food truck owners with restaurants attended.  Not surprisingly they expressed their desire to work with us.  A big theme of this meeting was self regulation… What can the industry do to self regulate?  This is where I need your help.  I’m starting on a handbook with regulation in the applicable municipalities, but I also think we should start getting ideas down for our own self regulation.   Please begin the conversation.  If you don’t want to publicly respond please send me an email with your thoughts.
The process:
The process to getting a motion passed is long, and the motion introduced rarely looks like the motion passed.  The motion put forth by LaBonge and Koretz starts the discussion.  The discussion will start in the Transportation Committee mid July (I’ll keep you updated) we are encouraged to attend.  After that it may go to the full board for a vote.  The motion itself is about INVESTIGATING ways to regulate trucks, so even if it passes in it’s current form it would not limit your ability to park at meters, rather it would just start the investigation.  When the findings come back, then the process starts all over again after a Councilmember introduces a new motion based on said findings.
While we do have time, it is important to keep the pressure up.
We don’t want this issue to fizzle out, but we also don’t want to be hysterical.  I think over the next few weeks we have to be very focussed in our campaign.  We have their attention, now let’s try to engage our followers to keep up the pressure.
Let’s get on a tweeting schedule:  The tweets should come from 10 trucks a week (please give me you opinion on this) so we’re not flooding the twittersphere (is that a word?)  The tweets should talk about us, and not them.  “We want to continue serving you delicious food please call —- and let them know you love the trucks”  or something along those lines.  Additionally, we have 5000 flyers (in my trunk) and posters on the way.  Passing out flyers with an order and encouraging people to make a quick call can do wonders.  Every call means a lot.  If you want to get the flyers call me and I’ll make sure you get them today or tomorrow.  (Don’t worry about offending the councilmembers pictured on the flyers, Koretz’s staff has already requested a poster because they think they were so well done.)  One truck had the number prominently displayed so people could call from the line, from what I hear, people were happy to oblige.
Other issues:
First Friday:
I am working with the Land Use & Planning Committee (LUPC) of the Venice Neighborhood Council.  While we are a while off from coming to any agreement, it was suggested by a member that we start making an effort to reduce our impact.  I have contacted the company that cleans up after the Abbot Kinney Festival to give us a quote on a First Friday clean up.  Let’ leave Abbot Kinney better than how we found it.  The cost to the trucks if we all chip in will be minimal.  I’ll let  you know when I get the quote.
I had been talking with Jay Lopez, Executive Director of Artwalk.  We got very little from him compared to what had been promised in my initial meetings.  Now I’m working with Russell Brown, Executive Director of the Business improvement district for the Historic Downtown area.  Hopefully we can get some spaces and/or lots for the next Artwalk.
Little Tokyo lot:
Finally, this lot has our contract ready.  I’m going downtown to look over it one more time and get it signed.  This lot should be open soon.
The SM Food Truck Lot:
They have submitted their application for the temporary Conditional Use Permit.  Stay tuned.
Festivals and Fairs:
I would really like to create committees for each festival/fair coming up.  They are coming in fast and I need help with the negotiating and planning.  Additionally, I have asked the Attorney’s to come up with a one sheet contract for minimums.  Some of these first time “event planners” are too reliant on the trucks for their promotions.  We should start insisting on minimums. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU’RE INTERESTED in being on a Fest Committee.
Slauson Commissary has proposed creating a SoCalMFVA commissary for your trucks.  I don’t have the details yet, but I would like to get your input.
They are proposing:
Commissary only for SoCalMFVA members
Will carry items requested for members
Freezer and storage space
%10 kick back to the Association from items bought at Commissary (maybe more)
Please let me know your thoughts.
I am going to insist that the commissary be kept VERY CLEAN, but I would like your input on how that can be done.
The same company that is proposing giving us our own commissary is also the one trying to get us lots.  They’re called Mobile Vending Solutions and they’re the ones that have the contract with Home Depot to provide the Tastee Express truck.
Their first lot offering is the Monrovia lot.  This is on the grounds of the City of Hope hospital and it looks to be a good one.  All you need is a Monrovia Business License.  The cost of the lot will be $35 a day.  There are over 400 employees that you would service.  I will have the cost and the details of the Monrovia Business license on Monday morning.  The lot is ready to go.

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