'Are we putting guns in between our tacos?' Food truck upset over temporary Water St. ban

NOW: ’Are we putting guns in between our tacos?’ Food truck upset over temporary Water St. ban

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A coalition of food truck owners met with Milwaukee Common Council members at City Hall Wednesday to voice their concerns regarding the temporary ban put place April 18 keeping food trucks from operating on Water Street between East Knapp and East Pleasant.

"It's hurt our business," explained Vanessa Molina, owner of Mr. Taco, one of the trucks impacted. "Our money has dropped. We can't stay there and work how we normally work."

Alderman Jonathan Brostoff (District 3) and Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa (District 8) are leading the charge with the new legislation, which is expected to be presented to the full council at its next meeting on May 9. They say the hope with the new legislation is to offer the city more options than just implementing a ban.

"Instead of only having that option, we want to say that there is a proper regulatory structure in place so that the good actors can operate and thrive, and the bad actors have their behavior corrected and not cause problems anymore," Brostoff said. "We also don't want to be in a situation where things get to a point where something bad happens because the proper precautions weren't put in place."

Issues including littering, loitering and other disruptive behavior have been listed as issues. Molina feels the owners and operators of the food trucks are being forced to shoulder responsibility for issues that they are not responsible for.

"Are we putting guns in between our tacos? For them to pull us out like that?" Molina asked. "We're doing our job. We're there to work."

Walter Garron, a spokesman for the other food truck owners, agreed.

"We didn't like the narrative," Garron said. "We want him (Brostoff) to stop the narrative that he's using as the trucks are bringing bad people around downtown and all that stuff."

Water Street typically has a handful of trucks throughout the year and even more during Bucks games and other events bringing large crowds to the downtown area.

Alderwoman Zamarripa says the hope is that the legislation being authored will be beneficial for truck owners/operators and constituents.

"It's going to allow us to be able to create food truck zones which we think will lift up and support our food trucks while also supporting our constituents who we want to feel comfortable and safe frequenting those food trucks," Alderwoman Zamarripa said. "We hope it'll support our brick and mortar restaurants as well."

The council members declined to share any more information regarding what the legislation might include.

"We don't want to be premature," Alderman Brostoff said. "We want to make sure all our Ts are crossed, and our Is are dotted before we get that to you."

Share this article: