A Lake Elsinore lawmaker has pledged to end restrictions on food trucks if elected to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors in November.
Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries (R) said in a released statement Friday that a county ban on the wheeled eateries "prevents job creation, reduces county tax revenues, and deprives families of some of the most creative cuisine on the market today.”
Jeffries’ promise to lift the legal restrictions comes along the campaign trail as he continues his bid for the county board seat against incumbent First District Supervisor Bob Buster. The assemblyman's seat in the state Legislature terms out this year.
“Riverside County has the most restrictive laws on food trucks in Southern California,” Jeffries said. “Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties allow gourmet food trucks ... to visit sports parks, outdoor festivals, industrial parks and commercial centers, providing fresh and interesting food within walking distance of customers. Even San Bernardino County has now lifted their outright ban on food trucks, but Riverside County is still mired in ‘roach coach’ fear-mongering, and has almost entirely missed the latest food trend to sweep the nation.”
Indeed, gourmet food trucks are in vogue. In June the 2nd annual Food Truck Festival in the City of Riverside. The food trucks were parked in a fenced off area at Third and Market streets, and by most media accounts the event was well attended. On Oct. 6, Pechanga also hosted a food trucks festival.
Lake Elsinore currently has a special permit process it follows for mobile food vendors, but the county has banned food trucks for decades over concerns about public health, and last month -- in a Press-Enterprise article profiling a food services provider -- Supervisor Buster said that in a time of recession it could be tough to add staff and programs to regulate the trucks countywide.
“Riverside County’s insistence on an outright ban has almost entirely prevented entrepreneurs with dreams of future success from selling their food here, forcing them to go to Orange, Los Angeles, and San Diego instead,” he said.
Lake Elsinore is the home of a food truck manufacturer, California Cart Builder on Hunco Way. Jeffries argues the ban prevents California Cart’s customers from doing business in unincorporated areas, like nearby Lakeland Village, thus shorting the county of potential sales tax revenues and depriving residents the right to experience food truck cuisine.
“Good food, good hygiene, and good relationships between gourmet food trucks and brick and mortar restaurants are possible and are being demonstrated throughout Southern California. Riverside County needs to come out of the culinary and bureaucratic Stone Age and bring sanity to the county health and business codes, so we can bring new jobs and new revenues to the county. Ancient prejudices against food trucks should not be used as an excuse to prevent these small businesses from serving Riverside County,” Jeffries said.
The assemblyman admits lifting the food truck ban won’t make Riverside County rich, but he argues that legalizing the motorized eateries “is an easy and public way to send the message that Riverside County is now open and friendly to small business and willing to work with entrepreneurs who want to set up shop or sell their goods in our communities.”