Press Release: Statement from Mayor Robinson on Food Trucks in Pensacola
Over the past several days, there has been much discussion about food trucks in our community, and I have listened to many small business owners, food truck operators, and citizens of Pensacola share their thoughts. Some of the conversations around enforcement have been troubling to me, and I believe they should be concerning to all citizens as it relates to fair application of the law.
Regardless of how someone feels about food trucks or a specific food truck provider, that feeling should not impact the enforcement of the law. Consistency under the law is a basic tenant of any discussion or application of Civil Rights.
My administration did not create the current city ordinance, and we did not ask for its enforcement. However, if we are asked to enforce an ordinance, we will not simply enforce on those we do not like and spare those we like. That type of enforcement would be a miscarriage of justice.
While I do not have a vote on a street vendor ordinance, I have been asked by many people to share my opinion. Based on my experiences with street vendors, I do not think a binary decision of no street vendors versus no limits on street vendors as currently provided by the existing ordinance is the right decision for Pensacola.
What I see in Pensacola is there are absolutely places where street vendors work as a great complement to existing businesses and can create a positive experience for citizens and visitors. However, I have also seen where street vendors clash with adjacent businesses and detract from the experience of citizens and visitors.
My opinion is that Pensacola needs to seek a better ordinance that encourages those positive experiences while limiting the negative ones. However, the challenges with state law compliance makes this a difficult balancing act. After discussing with city legal, I believe there are options that can work better than the current ordinance provides. While creating ordinances is not my function in city government as Mayor, I am happy to provide those options to Council through the Council President and Executive.
Whatever Council chooses to do with the ordinance going forward, the city administration, as long as I am Mayor, will fairly and consistently apply the ordinance as created. For me that is far more critical for the City of Pensacola than selectively enforcing based on feelings.