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El Tonayense Strikes Back!

December 19, 2008

A good taco truck doesn’t take it lying down! SF Examiner:

In September, police revoked El Tonayense’s permit to operate the truck, located on Harrison Street near 19th Street — two blocks from John O’Connell High School.

However, owner Benjamin Santana is appealing the decision, saying his establishment should be grandfathered in because it has been there longer than the school. As a result, the revocation is suspended pending Santana’s appeal hearing Feb. 4, according to a report from police Cmdr. Sylvia Harper.

In response to concerns that catering trucks were offering students items that were less nutritious than those on school cafeteria menus, the Board of Supervisors approved a law in March 2007 banning mobile food vendors from operating within 1,500 feet of public schools.

In July, police contacted vendors and found three violating the rules; two agreed to move, but Santana dug his heels in, according to Harper.

Go  Benjamin Santana!  Looks like a Burrito Justice meetup at his hearing on Feb 4th!

Vice Principal of the school:

“I’m often in the yard by the truck, and very few kids eat there,” [Rick] Duber said. “It’s kind of expensive for the kids.”

Co-chair of our favorite group, “The Student Nutrition and Physical Activity Committee”, Dana Woldow:

Nutrition advocates say O’Connell students frequent the truck at lunchtime, loading up on high-calorie burritos and bringing back food for classmates. One regular, Robert Bell, said kids pass him dollar bills through the fence to buy Cokes for them.

Woldow challenged the nutritional value of the food, arguing that O’Connell has some of the worst scores on California physical-fitness tests — just 22 percent of ninth-graders met all six fitness criteria on the 2007-08 test.

[Robert Bell, what the hell are you doing!  Dude, you are so not helping here.  You eat at the damn truck – do you want it to move three blocks away?  Then again, the kids can get a coke anywhere on Folsom… but still.]

But our new favorite vice-principle counters:

Duber said the food is not that bad. “Most of it’s actually very healthy,” Duber said. “Much more so than McDonald’s or KFC.”

And digging into the Burrito Justice archives:

  • Hypocritical position of  Dana Woldow — The Committee doesn’t go after the ice cream trucks that park in front of elementary schools: “Just a few blocks away, right next to another El Tonayense truck owned by Santana’s brother, Esquivel Santana, students from George R. Moscone Elementary School ran out to meet their parents. Ice cream sellers rang their bells tempting children with sweet snacks. The ordinance doesn’t include such vendors. “That’s a separate battle someone else will have to fight,” Woldow said.

So while O’Connell does need to work on its physical fitness program (I never see kids in that playground), they apparently have the coolest principle and vice-principle ever.  Burrito Justice salutes Janet Schulze and Rick Duber!

Burrito Slap Upside The Head goes to Robert Bell, and Burrito Vengence goes to Dana Waldow and all those on the Committee for Not Realizing The Kids Aren’t Eating At The Truck And There’s No Way A Taco Could Pass Through That Fence Behind The School.

The discussion on this idiocy continues over at Eater.

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