Food truck operators who regularly park in illegal spots and "eat" the cost of the ticket as part their overhead may soon have to move on down the block under action taken Tuesday by the Los Angeles City Council.
Current city law only allows one ticket to be issued per day for a parking violation, but the council voted 10-0 to direct the city attorney to draft an ordinance creating a graduated system of fines or the possibility of issuing multiple tickets in a day.
The motion to draw up the ordinance, first approved Jan. 11 by the Transportation Committee chaired by Councilman Mike Bonin, stemmed from complaints about food trucks in the Brentwood area.
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Bonin, whose district includes Brentwood, said food trucks that regularly park near the intersection of Bundy Drive and Shetland Lane have caused a public safety hazard and triggered several serious collisions, one of which injured a woman who was 8 1/2 months pregnant. She was trying to make a left turn and was unable to see around an illegally parked food truck, Bonin said.
"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 dollar ticket," Bonin said.
"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," he said. "And so we want to see if there can be a graduated system or if we can issue repeated citations throughout the day."
But not everyone's on board with the council's vote.
"It's another money grab," LA driver George Johnson told NBC4. "I know the cities need their money, but do they need it this badly?"
The Southern California Food Truck Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Members of the Brentwood Homeowners Association and the Brentwood Neighborhood Council both appeared before the committee last month to advocate for a change in the law.
"It was very dangerous, people were sent to the hospital because of not being able to see around the trucks," Nancy Freedman of the Brentwood Neighborhood Council told the committee.
NBC4's Gordon Tokumatsu contributed to this report.