“Bullying” has become a hot topic – from federal studies highlighting its dangers, to TV shows and “special” news reports, we constantly are admonished not to bully one another, and to stop bullying in our schools. Yet, there is a growing form of bullying that has escaped the attention of bureaucrats and media do-gooders: government bullying of food truck vendors.
Anyone who works near or drives by a large office or industrial complex, particularly in major cities, has at least seen, if not patronized, these “mobile restaurants.” These eateries-on-wheels offer the same quality of food found at brick-and-mortar establishments without the need to drive to one. For workers looking to make the most of a short lunch break, food trucks are a huge convenience; and the diversity of foodstuffs offered truly is amazing.
Yet, food trucks increasingly are being targeted by government regulatory goons who use a variety of methods -- even those fabricated specifically to target food trucks – in an effort to regulate them out of existence. In cities across America, including New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Rochester, and many others, food trucks are fighting for their right to meet a growing public demand.
One might understand the need for increased government regulation and oversight if the rise of food trucks was in tandem with a rise in food poisoning, or major traffic congestion issues. However, like most government power grabs, food truck bullying appears motivated more by cronyism and anti-competitiveness than public health or safety.
“We were told by a couple people who work in the town of Henrietta, as well as on the board of the Town of Henrietta that they need to protect the big businesses of Henrietta,” says Paul Vroman, owner of Rochester-based food truck business Brick-N-Motor. Vroman recently found himself standing before government officials in the Town of Henrietta, New York, groveling for a permit to continue operating his food truck outside of a business complex. Even though Vroman had secured permission of the property owner, and notwithstanding that he operated at that location without incident for months, Henrietta officials demanded that Vroman plead for a permit to continue operating in the town; a permit not even issued by the city at the time.