Save Houston’s food trucks (from overly aggressive HPD officers)

A recent post to the Houston Press blog Eating Your Words discusses a baffling incident that almost feels like it’s straight out of the Twilight Zone. It involves local food truck The Modular, run by Joshua Martinez, and an as-yet-unnamed HPD officer.

Quoting the article:

“[The officer] told me, ‘You’re supposed to move every 59 minutes. You’re a mobile food truck,'” Martinez said, recalling the conversation 15 minutes after it happened last night. He spoke from the parking lot outside his food truck, which was parked on private property. “I showed him my licenses, explained that we are supposed to move every 24 hours and go back to our commissary.”

“He didn’t listen,” Martinez said of the HPD officer. “He just kept saying, ‘You’re in violation. I can give you up to $6,000 in tickets.'” […] “If I violated every health department violation there was, it wouldn’t be $6,000!”

The story goes on to say a formal complaint against HPD is pending. And for good reason; there is no excuse for this kind of disgraceful harassment of food truck operators by law enforcement. Especially considering that the officer did not name the city ordinance in question. The city’s own web page about mobile food units mentions nothing about this supposed “move every 59 minutes requirement.

Joshua runs a good food truck which I had the pleasure of patronizing at Canned Acoustica IV back at the end of August. I’m glad people like him are willing to stand up to this kind of flagrant badgering by law enforcement. I’m holding out hope that once the complaint is filed, the officer in question will be treated to some free weight loss (as in, being relieved of his badge).