Stephen Box: Defending Food Trucks Turns Into a Campaign Strategy

By Hadley Tomicki | GrubStreetLA

Could issues surrounding food trucks actually swing the vote in the next City Council elections? At least one candidate thinks so. We got an email today from the offices of City Council hopeful Stephen Box that slams longtime Councilman and current food truck hater Tom LaBonge for failing to show up to a meeting last night to discuss the very issues LaBonge himself initiated: the regulation of food trucks. Box’s campaign office, which calls the no-show part of a “chronic failure of leadership,” reports that 20 people appeared last night to offer comments at the transportation committee while LaBonge never appeared.

As part of Box’s campaign strategy, this sort of pits LaBonge into the role of an out-of-touch John McCain type, stifling progress and censoring mobile expression, while Box, who is considered a “staunch supporter of mobile food vendors” in his own press release, stands up bravely for the people of L.A. with quotes like this: “L.A.’s Food Truck phenomenon is part of our unique street culture and it’s an expression of mobility that brings our streets to life. City Hall should embrace this economic boom and look for win-win opportunities that connect us, not divide us.” Here here! Did this guy get Jonathan Gold to ghost-write that little gem?

The Australia-born Box opposes certain city councilmembers’ proposed restrictions on food trucks and even compares the suggestion that there be “a limit of one mobile food truck per roadway block” to a tactic used in gang injunctions. Nice! Another crazy-talking politician, but this time, defending our right to plentiful tacos.

Will it work as an election strategy? We’ll see when the elections take place on March 8th. In the meantime, we’re fairly certain that Box is at least taking the local foodie vote in a landslide.