Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Expanding the Food Truck Movement

Response to the DC Food Truck Association Candidate Questionnaire:

1. Would you co-sponsor comprehensive legislation to create a competitive business climate that would not be hostile to food trucks?
Yes, I am very supportive of food trucks as a cutting edge small business and I want to sit down with all stakeholders in the food truck debate to create comprehensive legislation that is fair to all parties.

2. Would you oppose raising taxes solely on DC food trucks and not on other street vendors?
I would oppose any selective tax that is aimed at only one growing small business segment, such as food truck vendors. That is not the path we need to take to support the next generation of small businesses in the District.

3. Would you support the creation of a "Food Truck Rule" that would replace the “Ice Cream Truck Rule” for food trucks?
I understand that food trucks are expected to not stop unless customers are waiting to purchase their goods (the ice cream truck rule). The presence of this rule has forced food truck owners to improvise by using social media to promote their routes. Changing which trucks are beholden to this rule might be unfair to other trucks that are still forced to follow the old rule. As a Councilmember, I would revisit whether special rules for trucks selling food products are even necessary, rather than carve out an exemption for some trucks selling food, but not others, so that both our new food trucks and our longtime ice cream truck companies all have an equal chance to compete against brick and mortar food service companies. We don't want a situation where some trucks selling food are at a disadvantage because of what type of food they sell - it would be better to revamp laws related to trucks selling food entirely rather than partially.

I may have misunderstood your question here, but it seemed like you were seeking to exempt new food trucks from a rule that ice cream trucks would thereafter still have to follow.

4. Would you oppose anti-competitive restrictions on parking, including distance from restaurants?

I would like any parking restrictions to be decided in a fully democratic fashion, so all stakeholders have an equal voice - specifically consumers, food truck operators and restaurateurs. There should be a fair way to resolve the current food truck debate, so that consumers can get the food choice they want and all of our food providers can coexist together profitably. I believe that food trucks increase foot traffic and lead to greater patronage of under-served retail corridors. There has to be a way to leverage this strength while balancing the concerns of traditional restaurateurs...

To read the rest of my answers, go to my Candidate Questionnaire section. And feel free to post your response below! 

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