Certain unnamed authorities at an unnamed organization are concerned with the potential terrorist threats emerging from within the burgeoning food truck scene in Washington, D.C., and from inside the trucks themselves, unnamed "confidential sources" tell one Washington Times contributor. Ahead of a public hearing Friday pitting upstart mobile food vendors against sedentary street vendors and old-school sidewalk restaurants, George Farrell — a Washington Times "community" member — settled on at least one reason to side against the food trucks: "According to confidential sources, authorities concerned about terrorists using food trucks required adding manpower to monitoring the trucks." That added manpower has motivated D.C.'s restaurant owners to limit food truck locations, Farrell claims, completely ignoring what The Washington Post reports as an actual debate over more food options and crowded sidewalks in favor of Homeland Security department "concerns" over a terror plot — because, you know, "propane tanks inside food trucks could easily become explosive devices" and food trucks "may pose a terrorism threat."
It's a pretty serious issue, of course: More food trucks might mean higher taxes to fund the army of officers needed to keep an eye on the three designated truck areas for potential kebab truck terror cells. Even worse, how will all those food-truck-loving conservatives order from TaKorean without worrying that their Kimchi tacos aren't really Korean dirty bombs?
For his part, Tucker Carlson is ready:
Obama admin says food trucks could be used by terrorists. OK. But at some point shouldn't we accept that life is risky and have lunch?— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) May 10, 2013
But the food-truck lovers aren't backing down:
Really want DC not to stilfe the explosive creativity of DC food trucks ... #savedcfoodtrucks— Mari Kuraishi (@mashenka) May 10, 2013
At The Washington Times — "social journalism for independent voices!" — Farrell doesn't have a problem with the idea of food trucks, he insists, calling them "great business incubators" and reminding us all that "food trucks have gone on to open permanent locations around the District of Columbia," as he wrote he wrote in a separate opinion piece on the matter. Farrell just doesn't want them in Washington — for security reasons, obviously.
Or, could it be that Farrell's own restaurant interests have something to do with his fear-mongering? Farrell is the proud owner of a restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland, the Box Bar and Grill. The new D.C. food-truck regulations don't apply to the suburb, but certainly a successful mobile establishment could drive on up to Maryland and park its truck in front of his sports bar. Farrell found the food-truck pilot program at the mall in Wheaton, Maryland (just 30 minutes north of Bethesda) "fascinating," and talked it up just before mentioning the very real dangers of an unregulated D.C. truck market. "It is a waste of time until and unless the Metropolitan Police Department re-establishes it’s vending unit," he wrote. "Without a Metropolitan Police Departments vending unit in place, new laws or old, food trucks will essentially stay unregulated." Unregulated and full of dangerous terrorists.
Despite how ridiculous this all sounds sounds, the idea that a food truck — like any supped-up vehicle, or any building, or any car — could harbor terrorists is not impossible: The New York Fire Department expressed similar concerns last fall, and we suppose the kabob propane accident last year that Farrell cites did happen... to have nothing to do with terrorism. But propane tanks have nothing to do with the actual legal fight to keep food trucks off the streets of D.C. No, no, despite being such glowing indicators of job creation, all those thieving food-truck owners steal customers from hard working, rent-paying restaurants. Or so the argument from Farrell and his fellow owners goes. These trucks need regulation to keep them from doing that — oh, and to stop the terrorists.
P.S.: This entire farce is exactly why D.C. cannot have hip things.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.