A possible amendment to an ordinance aimed at cracking down on food truck operators who regularly park illegally in residential areas and “eat” the cost of the ticket as part their overhead was sent back to the Transportation Committee Wednesday by the Los Angeles City Council.
The full council, following three previous delayed votes on Councilman Mike Bonin’s proposed amendment, determined it needs fine-tuning before it comes up for a vote.
Bonin previously declined to discuss the delay in voting on the amendment, saying he would not comment until it came back up for discussion in open session.
The City Attorney’s Office, which crafted the amendment, also declined to comment.
Matt Geller, CEO of the Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association, said last week the delay might be due to objections his organization has raised over the legality of amending the ordinance in question.
According to Geller, the ordinance the council is seeking to amend was declared unconstitutional by a Superior Court judge in 2009, and then-LAPD Chief William Bratton sent a memo that year instructing officers not to enforce the ordinance in light of the court ruling.
“The ordinance was struck down by the courts. For some reason they didn’t know that,” Geller said last week.
Food trucks are limited to parking in residential neighborhoods for 30 minutes, but current city law only allows one ticket to be issued per day for a violation. The proposed amendment would create escalated penalties for each 30- minute increment during a parking violation in a residential area.
Bonin, who chairs the Transportation Committee, has said the idea for the amendment grew out of complaints that food truck operators in the Brentwood area were illegally parking and refusing to move, which was causing a safety hazard in some areas, including the intersection of Bundy Drive and Shetland Lane, where several serious auto collisions have occurred.
“We have a system now that hasn’t been particularly effective at addressing the problem of some of these vehicles parking sometimes in very difficult places at key intersections that are creating a public safety problem. And part of the problem is that DOT’s practice and habit is to issue one $73 ticket,” Bonin said in January. “And to most folks, these things are very profitable, particularly on the upper scale, and they just eat that $73 cost as part of doing business.”
–City News Service