LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles City Council is considering new regulations that could potentially shut down a food truck that has been feeding the hungry on the streets of Hollywood for more than 25 years.
The Public Works Committee heard a motion introduced by Councilman Tom LaBonge Wednesday, which urges city departments to consider banning non-commercial food distribution in public rights of way, an initiative that would force the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition to move.
In a packed room, the committee heard emotional testimonials from both sides and received a petition from 20 residents and business members that feel their health and safety is in jeopardy because of the truck located on the corner of Sycamore Avenue and Romaine Street.
"The food truck has brought a lot of theft and crime. I've had numerous things, multiple bikes stolen, I've had homeless people try to attack me," said Summer Mcdowell.
"On several occasions, my kids have stumbled upon used syringes and condoms on the sidewalks," said a man.
Supporters, however, said stopping the feeding programs in public rights of way would be blanketing a growing problem of homelessness.
"The homeless people we serve have been painted as a monstrous, faceless mob," said Ted Landreth of the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition.
"We need to look at the social and economic issues…not people that are trying to treat them like human beings," said a woman.
Isabell, who was forced into homelessness after losing her job and undergoing numerous cancer treatments, said the coalition has helped her survive for the past six years, providing her with free food, clothing and medical care.
"They're there every day, no matter rain or shine… and they get together and they prepare that meal, and there's always that care and always a smile on their face," she said.
LaBonge asked for the motion to be continued for 30 days while he works with the coalition to come up with a different permanent location off the streets.
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