Friday, May 22, 2009

Taco truck flap unfair to east Charlotte?

Ed Garber doesn't like what the taco truck controversy is doing to his neighborhood.

The chairman of the Eastside Political Action Committee says allegations are off base that the clampdown on the taco trucks operating on Central Avenue is a form of ethnic discrimination.

Garber, a longtime Eastside resident who graduated from Garinger High, called me yesterday concerned about a story I posted about similar efforts to reduce the number of taco trucks in Los Angeles, Houston, and Des Moines.

In a Los Angeles Times story, UC Davis law professor Kevin Johnson said the fight against taco trucks in Charlotte and Des Moines is another way to express anti-immigrant views.

Garber says that’s not true and wrongly makes Eastsiders out to look like racists. He said the working class community has long been diverse, made up of African Americans, whites, and Hispanics who have lived together peacefully for years. The only thing people in East Charlotte hate, he says, "is an unproductive person."

And he says the taco truck controversy fails to recognize all the work neighbors have done to highlight local diversity. He noted the popular Taste of the World tour, which showcases area Latino, Asian, African, and Greek restaurants.

"It’s not an ethnic thing," he said. "If you look at how people in East Charlotte live. They eat in these restaurants. We're known for the restaurants. The community is supporting the restaurants. We’re trying to market the restaurants. So for the whole community to be labeled as not accepting of Latino people and diversity it is a slap in the face."

Garber said the clampdown on mobile food vendors is really about enforcing existing laws and protecting established businesses -- some owned by Latinos -- that were losing customers because mobile food vendors didn’t follow city rules.

He stressed the 9 p.m. curfew, which many taco truck owners find egregious, was already in existence but not strictly enforced.

Another new ordinance though requires mobile food vendors to stay 400 feet from each other and from residential neighborhoods, eliminating most of the sites where trucks can park on Central Avenue.

Photos: Yalonda James/The Charlotte Observer, Ed Garber, and Gary O'Brien/The Charlotte Observer


Anonymous said...

I too live in East Charlotte. The term "taco truck" was coined by the media, not East Charlotte residents, who were in no way targeting a specific race. Both the original and new ordinance apply to any kind of mobile food vendor. What is being referred to as a "crack down" was actually changes to the existing ordinance making the laws more liberal. The changes actually extended the hours during which vendors can legally operate. Vendors claiming to have lost business because the law is now finally being enforced can only make such a claim if they had been breaking the law in the first place. The vendors who had been grossly violating the curfew were making it difficult for law-abiding business (both mobile and conventional restaurants) to compete and that was not right. They were also violating the safety and quality of life for residents by congregating at neighborhood entrances until very late in the evening. The notion that the new 400 foot requirement leaves them little place to operate legally is complete non-sense. The changes now also allow mobile vendors to operate in one spot for 3 months - that's right - 3 months! The previous ordinance, and those in every other city I am aware of, only permit a vendor to park for 30 minutes at a time. To my knowledge we now have the most liberal mobile vending laws of any major metropolitan area.
East Charlotte residents love this part of town because of its diversity. We pride ourselves on all our great ethnic restaurants and that we are not an homogenous, cookie cutter community. This has just been a sad case of the media sensationalizing a story for their benefit which has been to the detriment of our community.

Anonymous said...

This is just Franco trying to stir something up. Kinda tired of reading his same BS online everyday, alot of this story was already done in a LA paper and he just wanted to tell everyone how oppressed the Hispanic community is here in charlotte. Well to bad, over half shouldn't even be here ILLEGALS..Franco start to write about something better please and not your sob story on the cockroaches of charlotte..

Anonymous said...

"a way to express anti-immigrant views."

Yep, the typical liberal tactic.They cannot defend the fact that most of these people are law breakers so they resort to calling American citizens "anti-immigrant"

These tactics are getting REAL old.When you have something REAL to say to justify why it is okay to break the law , let us know until than "Head fer the border amigo!"

Anonymous said...

From Ed Garber:
The MOBILE FOOD VENDING ORDINANCE has been very political and the media has done a great job of polarizing it.
I have never acknowledged nor will I acknowledge the term "Taco Trucks", which implies that the community (particularly in Charlotte East), sought to single out a certain ethnic food or ethnicity for any reason.
In response to the closing paragraph of the blog. No one tried to eliminate the industry, just curtail it. The vendors can find the ordinance as egregious as they want. Find one that shut it's window at 9PM as the law required. The lobbyist they hired claimed they make 60% of their sales after 9pm, openly admitting to the city council that the entire industry was breaking the law.
It was the disregard for the existing laws and the general inconsiderate demeanor of the toward other businesses, property rights, and neighborhoods that brought attention to the industry. It was not ethnicity. It was a great tool for the industry to use as leverage though.
Here we all are -ALL CULTURES- living in the same neighborhoods and eating at the same restaurants and no one is pushing out Latino people in those situations through the force of law.
If the industry wants to make it an issue of Ethicity, that ship doesn't float.
Corrective action was taken by the community based on the culture of the industry, not the ethnicity of the people who own or frequent them.
Thank you Franco for letting me voice the feelings that I have regarding this issue. Many people in Charlotte East have share these sentiments with me. There is no more diverse community in Charlotte and no community I would be more proud to live in. We want our community's integrity restored.

Anonymous said...

What if Bubba and Jim Bob opened a BBQ truck in Myers Park, 100 feet from your home and stayed open until 11pm. Is that anti redneck? No it is 2 people breaking a law. No more; No less.

Anonymous said...

When Ed and his Eastside group went to City Hall to clear the air and support this ordinance, I was there. You don't call east charlotte racist.
We're not rich but we are proud.

Anonymous said...

This is a law and order issue. The established restaurants are the law and they are ordering their competition to leave the "free" market.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. I'm also a Charlotte native from east Charlotte. I attended Windsor Park Elementary, Eastway Junior High, and Garinger High. I also resent what the article alluded to: that we're a bunch of eastside racists. Nothing could be further from the truth. I proudly tell people where I grew up, the east side of Charlotte! We've always been a welcoming community, we just don't like people breaking the law, whether they're black, white or purple.

Anonymous said...

i USE to live in East Charlotte and loved it when i first moved in and hated it when i left. When people say the flap is unfair to east charlotte. What is unfair is the thugs that make it where you are scared to go out after dark and on weekends. Being robbed at gunpoint was the kicker for me. I not only left the east side, I left NC. The police treated me more like the criminal and pretty much told me i was wasting there time by reporting it. The person quoted in the article neds to spend some time between farm pond and harris boulevard, then say how much people get along.

Anonymous said...

I'm the person in the article. I spend plenty of time & money around Farm Pond Lane.
There are hot spots for crime in every community. That intersection w/ Albemarle Rd. had the highest crime rate of any intersection in the city at one point. It wasn't representative of Charlotte East in general. Anyway, Farm Pond has improved quite a bit.
As far as your comments about people getting along, I don't think the crime there was fueled by racial tension, rather a criminal element that would prey on the first easy prey that passed through.
Your commentary is off the topic of vendors & ethnicity, but any time someone says leave Charlotte East, I give my 2 cents.
I think everything is about perspective.
These days, the middle class just picks up and runs from problems. Another symptom of a throw away society. No one stands up for their community anymore. If the whole world took that approacch nothing would get fixed.
My comunity provided everything I needed to become a healthy happy productive adult. They were there for me and I will be here to give back in the good times and bad.
Charlotte East doesn't have the prettiest exterior, but like many old things what we are on the inside is special.
It should tell people something about how strong a community is when someone feels as indebted and proud as I do (a few other people do also Yeah!), that no matter what the obstacle they will dig in and fight the good fight. You dont find many people who will ever feel that sense of community in their lifetime and they have no idea what they ar missing. I am very grateful & proud that I live in Charlotte East.

Anonymous said...

people eat from a truck? lemme guess... they're fatasses that should eat more veggies. besides side stepping laws that brick-n-mortar restaurants have to follow, come on, it sounds like a theme for a bad '70s porno flick. yucky-poo.

plus, chain-smoking anglo preggos are MUCH sexier!

Anonymous said...

"He stressed the 9 p.m. curfew, which many taco truck owners find egregious."

This cracks me up. How many people who operate the so-called taco trucks even know what the word "egregious" means?

Anonymous said...

Really, Franco, you're just off base with this. Charlotte's east side has welcomed Latino/Latina immigrants but no one wants noise and mess outside their front door at 9PM. Some people, immigrant families incuded, want peace and quiet after 9PM in their neighborhoods.

I lived in Los Angeles for a couple of years, mid-city near the border with WeHo. There were no so-called taco trucks. The closest thing to a mobile vendor was Pink's on LaBrea. What on earth are you talking about?

I think this is more an economic issue than a cultural one.

Anonymous said...

I am recently moved from Charlotte to South Central LA. The street vendors pretty much close up shop after sundown here. There is absolutely no reason why they can't do the same in CLT. That being said, I used to work at Mythos downtown. There was always a hotdog vendor in the alley between the clubs and 7th street station when the bars closed. Anyone going to make sure the drunks don't have a decent hot dog at 2am? The health codes are in place for a reason. If the street vendors are unwilling to abide by the codes, then ban all street vendors. Playing hardball works.

Anonymous said...

Left wing socialist call everyone names when they DARE disagree or hold a differing opinion than theirs. Communist and left wingers have commonality, they do not believe in freedom of speech for anyone but themselves. I do not care what they call me. ILLEGAL immigrants are here ILLEGALLY. Like anything else done illegally it should be stopped and the illegals sent packing back to wherever they came from. My opinion will not change because they left thinks they can harp enough to make me forget about the law.

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Anonymous said...

If Franco is so concern about Hispanic rights, why he don't go back to his country of origin to fight for his people rights first. I'm a legal immigrant from the Caribbean and I'm really tired of Hispanics breaking the law and not been grateful and loyal to our host country.

It really upsets me seeing Legal immigrants like Franco, just been like the rest of the Latinos which are not loyal to anyone but them.

Caribbean Hispanics don't get along with Central/South American Hispanics because they are the only ones you see whining and complaining, something they don't do back home. They are also the only ones who like to wave their flags just to undermine the American flag. They are the only ones who hate order and discipline and can't abide local laws.

If they are unhappy and upset with US laws, what are they doing in this country then?

The same question goes to Franco. ICE should arrest you and send you back to your country. Te deben botar como bolsa (You should be thrown away like a ... bag)

Anonymous said...

Garber says, "It’s not an ethnic thing. If you look at how people in East Charlotte live. They eat in these restaurants. We're known for the restaurants."

Nah. The things you're really known for are a high crime rate, a decaying shopping mall, and a decrepit and out of date business corridor.

Anonymous said...

***The things you're really known for are a high crime rate, a decaying shopping mall, and a decrepit and out of date business corridor.***

And yet we are happier than you... Nobody likea a bully. Go East Charlotte!

Anonymous said...

Ed Garber, since you are so concerned about "an entire industry breaking the law", I'd like to know how much lobbying you've done to get the ILLEGAL immigrants out of Charlotte.

I await your reply.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
***The things you're really known for are a high crime rate, a decaying shopping mall, and a decrepit and out of date business corridor.***

"And yet we are happier than you... Nobody likea a bully. Go East Charlotte!"

I'll respond to that, since I'm the guy you're talking to.

Not sure what you mean by "nobody likes a bully," since I'm not bullying anyone. I haven't attacked anyone personally, haven't called anyone names. Like Mr. Garber, I also graduated from Garinger (back when it was still a good school), and have lots of fond memories of those times. Matter of fact, I used to live on the east side years and years ago, in a little neighborhood right off of the Plaza and Shamrock Drive. Lived there for about 12 years. I used to love going to Eastland and frequenting the area restaurants.

That said, I watched the slow decline of the area, and it made me a bit sad. All the neighborhoods where my friends used to live began to empty out, only to be refilled with what I'll call less than desireable elements. Once pretty homes went into decline and property values began to drop.

Finally, in 1982, after having my home broken into three times, my car vandalized, and everything of value stolen, I saw the writing on the wall. The writing on the wall was sort of hard to miss, since it was spray painted on my living room wall. I packed what I had left and moved out within twenty-four hours of the third break-in. I have no regrets about leaving.

I seldom go on that side of town any longer, but when I do, it looks worse and worse.

As to whether you're "happier" than I am, if you wish to believe that, fine. You don't know me or anything about me, so that's a pretty meaningless statement as far as I'm concerned.

The east side used to be a great place, but for the past fifteen to twenty years, it's been ignored, neglected, and abused by city government...almost to the point of it being criminal in nature.

That's who you should be calling a bully...not me.

Anonymous said...

Dude, you are a Bully. Franco puts up a blog about how Charlotte is an example of many American cities that are imposing laws that are racist toward hispanic vendors.
So the guy from east Charlotte says that's obviously not the case because they are known for their diversity and the ethnic restaurants. Which they are. YUM!
You had nothing to add to the debate to support that these people are racist or not.
Instead you dug deep into your happy place and decided take a quote and use it out of context to trash their community. Where you have so many ond memories like multiple breakins...
Wow you can trash east Charlotte and point out it's problems.
I'm sure you want to remind us of your 1st ammendment rights & provide more facts to why east Charlotte sucks and you aren't a bully even though it's totally off topic and
you undermining the efforts of people who are trying to bring the place back to life.
I thought the guy had a lot of good points about loyalty and standing up for where he grew up. I'm sure you can relate. I mean afterall you lived and went to school there. ...Well at least someone is doing something positive to bring the place back to life. I wish them the best.

Anonymous said...

Wait tell an illegal robs, rapes, murders, and does another crime to your family. Then they get off or with minimal sentence. People like Franco is what is wrong with our country. They want open borders, global leaders, and don't care about the United States.

I hope people stop subscribing to the CO as we did because of him. The CO should go out of business.

Anonymous said...

As if an American robbing, raping or murdering someone in your family is less evil. Get over yourself. We are part of a global society and only the provincial rubes are going to be the ones falling behind. Taco trucks are one thing, but the disgusting xenophobes on this board are another. I'll take the taco trucks over your klan rallies any day.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in east Charlotte for a while now, not far from Farm Pond and Albemarle. I read with horror as recently as a year ago that an intersection within walking distance of my house was among the most violent in the city. I heard the gun shots and the sirens. I saw the thugs prowling at all hours. I thought about moving.

But, I'll tell you, I'm seeing a larger police presence now, and I'm hearing fewer reports of robberies and other violence in the area. I drive home at night and see three, four, six police cars pass me as I drive down Albermarle. CMPD seems to have made a commitment be more visible and try to reduce crime in the area. I do feel safer.

But what I don't feel is much sense of urgency from eastsiders themselves -- my neighbors -- to create any sort of civic engagement or sense of community spirit. I'm jealous of folks in Dilworth and NoDa and Myers Park. I want so much to host block parties and meet my neighbors and find centers in my area where the community can coalesce, but I'm at a loss as to how to do that, and I've seen no push from others to initiate such involvement. As much as the few east Charlotte "promoters" like to tout the diversity of the community, there's very little public effort to engage that community or to encourage these diversities to flourish and interact.

And that's a shame. Because without that idea that "this is my community, too, and I'm going to work to make it better," east Charlotte will continue to get passed over by the city honchos, will continue to get dismissed by residents in other neighborhoods. And the crime and racial segregation will continue to fester.

The problems in east Charlotte go well beyond taco trucks and ice cream pushcarts.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
What if Bubba and Jim Bob opened a BBQ truck in Myers Park, 100 feet from your home and stayed open until 11pm. Is that anti redneck? No it is 2 people breaking a law. No more; No less.

May 22, 2009 4:26 PM

Lets lay off the ignorant racist sterotype of whites as rednecks for eating BBQ. All whites eat BBQ. All races eat BBQ.

What about those who eat chitlins? Any chitlin trucks around?

We have a double standard.

Was Bill Clinton a redneck? His nickanme was Bubba, he was white and ate BBQ.

Liberal and conservative whites of any social class can all consider themselves rednecks simply because they are the only race that can sunburn and get red necks from to much solar exposure.

Anonymous said...

Even the white European Latino owner of this blog is a "redneck". He can definitely sustain 1st degree burns to his neck from the suns ultraviolent rays like all others of the caucasoid white race caused by the star that heats this solar system. Franco is a redneck and certainly of the "lobster" race.

Anonymous said...

Illegals who dont wash their hands are giving tapeworms away to unsuspected citizens.

We need to make sure the sanitation of these trucks is graded and cuts the muster like any other food establishment.

Anonymous said...

To the person or anyone who wants to get involved in making Charlotte East a better place to live,
These organizations need your energy
Charlotte East Community Partners

Eastside PAC


Congas Cuban Cafe which is close to Farm Pond Ln. is an EXCELLENT Cuban restaurant. It is very well decorated and the service is very friendly. It is reasonably prieced esp considering the quality and size of the portions. They also have live music on weekends. Very family oriented and they are very eager to please and help with the menu. One taste of their HUGE steaks & you will be hooked for life.

Anonymous said...

Another flog-blog about Latinos written by un tio taco.

Eh, hermano, ever write anything positive about the people with whom you share a common ancestry?

Anonymous said...

Nothing is worse than someone trying to pretned they know Spanish

Anonymous said...

The Farm Pond person just blows me away. She does *nothing* but the volunteers aren't doing *enough*.
Neighbors *don't care as much* as her.
I just don't get how someone can blame everyone else for the problems when they wont do anything to fix it themselves. There's no reason to expect more of anyone else than you expect of yourself.
If you don't like the organizations start your own or make the other ones better. I can't believe someone would take the time to criticize those who are actually are trying to make a difference.
"You must be the change you want to see in the world" -M.G.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe someone just said there is racial segregation in east Charlotte. It's the most diverse & integrated community in Charlotte. Schools, churches, restaurants, neighborhoods are very integrated.
Significantly more than some of the more trendy neighborhoods around the city.

Joe said...

I met Ed in college, and moved to Charlotte a few years after graduation, in part because of Ed's influence. I might not always agree with him, but I he is a friend and I know him well enough to tell you this. Calling Ed a racist is like calling the Pope a muslim. It just don't fit. When I first moved to Charlotte, Ed's roommate was a Latino immigrant. Does that sound like someone who would try to push Latino's out of his community? I think not.

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Bucket Truck said...

I love taco trucks!! What a great concept!

Boom Trucks USA said...

Wow...seems like there would have to be an overabundance of taco trucks roaming around neighborhoods for there to raise up such a concern. It's how some people earn a living...give 'em a break. And people like tacos. Let he who likes the tacos eat the tacos.

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