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Are Men with Walkie Talkies in Junker Cars Blocking Parking Spaces for Food Trucks?

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Things are getting weird on the 5700 block of Wilshire Boulevard. Yesterday, an area employee told LAist cars are parking on the street all day long and receiving parking tickets, thus pushing the unofficial lunch truck row down one block. Today, one LAist reader describes how it's become sort of like an operation.

"I walk down this block early every morning to get to work, usually well before 9 a.m., explained Tim Strube. "One day this week I spotted a well-dressed individual getting out of one of these crappy beat-down cars with a walkie-talkie in hand, seemingly communicating with other individuals who were in on his plot to occupy all the spots." He said on Friday there were seven to eight vehicles that were ticketed.

Strube said a fellow employee who witnessed the same thing earlier this week was pretty sure it was the doing of Baja Fresh employees. But Ivan Basquez, the regional operator for Baja, says it's not them and he was not aware of the issue. "It would be really expensive to get tickets everyday," he explained. "We'd be out of business by now."

At $50 a ticket, that'd be up to $2,000 a week.

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Still, Basquez said the trucks mixed with the economy have continued to take a toll on their business. "We are surviving. Everything we are doing there is keeping the quality of food to the highest standards, customers service at the highest level and trying to make deals with the office people." He said they offer one hour of free parking and a monthly e-blast gives office workers deals.

At the end of the day, fines from tickets go back to the city. Bruce Gillman at the Los Angeles Department of Transportation said they'll ticket any vehicles, food trucks or not, that are in violation of parking meter times.