On June 16, we ran an opinion piece titled, “Food Trucks, Pot Shops Hurt Eagle Rock,” by Patricia Neale Vuagniaux, one of Eagle Rock’s leading entrepreneurs and the owner of the popular coffee house . The article argued that the presence of food trucks harms the business of brick-and-mortar restaurants and cafes—and that the proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries in Eagle Rock is detrimental to the neighborhood’s quality of life.
Not surprisingly, the article struck a nerve among readers, generating as many as 118 comments. Many of the comments were contentious—even angry—reflecting a wide diversity of opinion about concerns that seem to have polarized the community, especially on the issue of food trucks.
“Patricia really touched on some important issues that a lot of folks in Eagle Rock can identify with,” says President Michael Larsen, who himself posted 20 of the comments, many of them rejoinders to comments challenging the ERNC's opposition to medical marijuana shops that do not operate by the rules in Eagle Rock.
“Times are tough economically and those who have worked hard and played by the rules look around and see the City allowing those that don't follow the rules to thrive,” says Larsen, adding: “Pot shops, massage parlors, unlicensed food trucks, thugs, taggers, gangs all seem to do as they please in L.A., with no repercussions, while hard working ‘hoop jumpers’ seem to just have more road blocks and challenges put in their way.”
Vuagniaux’s article was recommended by 60 people on facebook. Further, a facebook poll that Eagle Rock Patch conducted on the issue of food trucks drew 68 responses: While 36 people voted for the continued presence of food trucks in Eagle Rock, 17 respondents voted against them. A substantial minority, which included some of those who had also voted “yes” for food trucks, extended their approval for a third option on the poll that was worded as follows: “Food trucks bring a hip vibe and great food. Possible to lower impact on local places?”
The controversy that Vuagniaux’s article spawned was also taken up by a website called OSX Page, where 32 respondents posted comments ranging from “I agree completely with her on all her points” to “I’m afraid she just doesn’t understand our community.”
Stay tuned for a couple of follow-up articles that we’re planning about the debate.