Saturday, November 21, 2015

Economic Protectionism: Food Trucks in San Antonio and El Paso

"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

Spider House Cafe -- Last night, in an event sponsored by the Institute for Justice's Texas Office and the Texas Millennial Institute, Arif Panju spoke about economic protectionism and how those laws have been used to restrict the growth of the food truck industry in El Paso and San Antonio:


  • Economic liberty is the right to earn an honest living.
  • That right pre-exists government.
  • A lot of economic protectionist laws have their roots in Jim Crow.
  • El Paso: City Council passed anti-Food Truck laws in 2010.
    • Had to stay at least 1000 feet from brick and mortar establishments
      • Made almost the entire city a no-vending zone.
    • Couldn't stop unless a customer flagged you down.
    • Maria Robleto, IJ's client in the case, had build a business from scratch selling candies into an "old school, traditional, taco truck."
    • "We sued the city of El Paso in Federal Court" and the city caved and repealed the ordinance.
  • Economic protectionism has been around for a long time, but "picked up steam" during the New Deal.
    • "The only way that the government could grow was to change the way the courts reviewed economic legislation."
  • Saying no to the government is not activism, it's judging.
  • San Antonio: City Council passed laws saying you have to stay at least 300 feet away from brick and mortar establishments unless they give you a notarized note with permission.
    • San Antonio Food Truck association had no interest in challenging unconstitutional laws.
      • They were politically connected insiders.
    • IJ sued on behalf of their client Rafael Lopez and the city caved and repealed the ordinance this past week.

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