AB 1678- Saving our kids or just killing a young industry?
Its been a while since Bill Monning (D-Carmel) introduced AB 1678, a bill that prohibits food trucks from vending anywhere within 1,500 feet from an elementary, middle, or high school during the hours of 6am to 6pm. But the debates are still raging. Also my post got deleted so… better late than never.
As a review, the proposed bill is an extension of previous legislation. But this extension is far-reaching. So far, in fact, there will be next to no place to serve as one can see in this incredibly pink map (prohibited areas in pink):
There are two important distinctions between the previous bill and AB 1678. Firstly, the previous bill included just Middle and High Schools not Elementary Schools, despite the fact that neither Middle nor Elementary schoolers can leave for their lunch period. Secondly, AB 1678 bans all serving within 1,500 feet even on private property leaving formerly permitted events like Off the Grid out of luck if it happens to be three blocks from an elementary school. All the while, liquor stores need only be 600 feet from a school and countless fast food chains are within a crawl-able distance from all schools.
Bill Monning introduced this because of a concern about the increase in preventable disease in youth. Food trucks supposedly undermine food programs that have been placed within schools. Monning claims that food trucks are “magnets” pushing “sodas and snacks” onto children (Inside Scoop SF).
Do not get me wrong, childhood obesity is a terrible consequence of our broken food system. And, I agree that teaching children about nutrition through school lunches is a valuable thing. However, AB 1678 halts the mobile food industry in San Francisco for everyone not just children. Well established trucks already have a difficult time finding potential locations. Including elementary schools and private property into the bill is an unnecessary addition and is far more detrimental to the food trucks than it is beneficial for children’s health. These 1st graders can’t even leave the school’s premises at lunch time and it means you can’t get your burger!
Also, I’m not convinced that Doc’s all organic burgers are any less healthy than what a kid gets in their cafeteria. Just sayin’.