Do Restaurants Need Help to be 'More Competitive' with Food Trucks? L.A. City Council Seeks Proposal

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Photo by R. E. ~ via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
In a move to perhaps "even the playing field," the Los Angeles City Council this morning directed city staff to create a proposal that would help the restaurant industry compete with food trucks. The report, due back in 30 days, should look at decreasing business taxes for restaurants, but also confusingly requests the creation of a "Dine LA" campaign, something that already exists and happening this month, and to allow restaurants to "open up side-walk cafes," also something allowed in Los Angeles, although with some restrictions and regulation.

Despite the intentions of such a proposal, Councilmember Ed Reyes warned that not all things are created equal, referring to the difference between old-school lonchero trucks and the new gourmet ones. "This is one of those where one size does not fit all. What the lunch trucks mean to one neigbhorhood, it might not mean to another," he said, noting that jobs should not be taken away and that what some view as a sub-economy is a way of life for others.

"We all have to find a way to work together," added Councilmember Bill Rosendahl. "These trucks have a value, they serve a new social need."

The motion, which was authored by Councilmember Richard Alarcon, also seeks "clarification on what 'brick & mortar' includes and to distinguish between sit-down restaurants and fast-food restaurants."

Tonight at 89.3 FM KPCC's auditorium, Councilmember Tom LaBonge and others will debate the food truck issue for a recorded show.