Saturday, September 29, 2007

Aug, 3 2007 - Taco Peddlers in Jefferson Parish

Not really news to anyone familiar with New Orleans and Jefferson Parish but the LA Times ran an article recently, Hold the tacos, New Orleans says. It was sub-titled, "Mexican-food trucks are outlawed in a parish. Is it racism wrapped in a health issue?"

Watch a video about the taco trucks on CNN.

I'm not really into involving myself in racial debates but, as this has already been turned into a racial issue, I think I should note that the article was written by Miguel Bustillo. I don't know that Miguel is latino but I would be willing to bet on it. If you do a google search on "Miguel Bustillo racism", you will see that racism plays a part in many of his articles.

According to the article, the politicians want to ban the taco peddlers who sell out of their truck because said politicians are racists. I don't want to say the article is biased but it seems to me that the author is putting his own spin on things:

But not everyone is enamored of the newest cheap eats to captivate the Crescent City. Jefferson Parish politicians, who have long turned a blind eye to whites and blacks peddling shrimp out of pickup trucks and snow cones on the street, recently outlawed rolling Mexican-food kitchens, calling them an unwelcome reminder of what Hurricane Katrina brought.

The bolding is mine. In my opinion, that is, itself, a racist comment. Have there never been Mexican or Vietnamese fisherman peddling shrimp out of trucks? Did the officials not turn a blind eye to them?

It is also a slam to the local politicians. Not that I have anything against slamming politicians, I don't like or trust most or them myself. A wise man said, "Politicians should be replaced as frequently as a baby's diaper. And for the same reason."

He is a reporter though and I thought a reporter was supposed to report, not make news.

And who is this guy? Has he ever even been to New Orleans for anything more than to stir up the racist hate pot? I love tacos and Mexican food. Nevertheless, I'll take a check-in/check-out poboy over that any day. Am I a racist?

I used to work in a warehouse on Division St in Metairie quite a few years ago. We had a food truck we called the "roach coach" come by at breakfast and lunch. After getting sick a few times, I quit eating from it. Eventually, this particular truck was shut down. It was a white guy driving and cooking.

I am sure many, if not most, of the cooks in these trucks keep the kitchen very clean and use good ingredients. Just like most fast food establishments keep it clean. As long as inspectors are inspecting, I wouldn't have much of a problem eating from one. Where does the cook wash his hands though?

However, does the fact that the trucks are ugly and, in some cases, block views mean nothing? I think the city has a right to regulate them. There are many empty buildings that can be converted to taqueria and these stores would have restrooms and washing stations.

I think we should just keep the racism card out of it and have a reasonable discussion. So what do you think? Should the taco peddlers be allowed to stay?

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