Matt Leslie

There are still drunks starting fights downtown, and the Fullerton Police Department has convinced the City Council that banishing food trucks will help stop them. The background analysis for a new ordinance adopted at the June 4 City Council meeting cites drunken brawling as the reason for banning food trucks from the downtown area between the hours of 8:00 pm and 5:00 am.

The new approach is a compromise from the old approach of banning them entirely. When the trucks were allowed to operate at night downtown “there were repeated calls for law enforcement to break up fights or address issues related to drunk or rowdy food patrons. When the trucks were allowed in the Downtown Area during the evenings, bar patrons would congregate at or near the food trucks, when otherwise they would not congregate at these locations. The result of the greater concentration of inebriated people was an increase in fights, vandalism, and a general propensity for law enforcement issues. For example, bar patrons who may have been prevented from fighting each other by a bouncer in a bar, later would pick up where the fight left off when they saw each other at the food trucks.”

And, “At the present time, the Downtown Area has over 80 active alcohol licenses, which has greatly increased the numbers of inebriated patrons in the area.”

This might be the place to start examining why there are marauding drunks downtown every weekend instead of finding ways to keep them from randomly encountering each other, but the city’s new approach to preventing brawling in the streets at night is to ban the food vendors who aren’t selling alcohol. Shouldn’t we be considering the proliferating number of downtown establishments serving drunks rather than blaming food trucks that unwittingly serve as accidental rendezvous points for them?

Note: This new ordinance is on the city council’s agenda for a second reading on Tuesday, June 18.