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Santa Monica Cops Want Late Night Food Truck Ban, Since Drunk Customers Are a Safety Hazard

A crowd at night outside a food truck (Photo by R. E. ~ via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr)
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You've been at the bar, you're hungry, and there are a couple of food trucks parked outside: Party time! But if this is how you roll in Santa Monica on Main Street, the cops are sick and tired of your rowdy, dangerous shenanigans. The Santa Monica Police Department is asking for a ban on food trucks in the late night hours in order to get rid of the loitering, trouble-making drunks who are their customers.

The SMPD says they have had to allocate funds and officers to the area of Main Street between Ocean Park Boulevard and Marine Street on weekend nights in order to deal with the jaywalking, noise ordinance violations, and aggravated assault, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press. The SMDP have declared food trucks parked out there around last call create a "hazard that attracts intoxicated people and gums up the streets, sidewalks and other public spaces."

The police say that while it's not the food trucks' fault, they do happen to capitalize on the bar patrons, and serving them street food keeps those often-intoxicated customers lingering in public longer.

Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association's Matt Geller counters that the city is seeing an economic benefit from those food trucks: "We do realize that Main Street has become an issue, but it's also important to note that the good thing over the last six to seven months is a spike in the population there."

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But aren't hungry drunks leaving bars more of a safety issue than drunks getting some food in their system and staying within a few blocks? Questions like that were posed at a recent Santa Monica City Council meeting, as the proposed 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. ban on Main Street was discussed.

At least one Council member isn't convinced a full-on ban is a good idea, and suggested other options be explored, like having one truck park per block, for example.

It's totally a "you don't have to go home but you can't stay here" issue for the cops, who say they'd be okay with the trucks going somewhere else during that time.

The issue goes up for discussion a second time on November 22, and, if approved, "the new law will take effect 30 days later, just in time for the holiday season."