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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
4:30 PM Tue, Nov. 20th

Letter: Double-standard downtown

EDITOR:

Regarding the article published on July 31, pertaining to food trucks in Prescott.

Now this is interesting! Food trucks are not allowed in Prescott primarily to dissuade “unfair competition” and is prohibited by several ordinances.

The Daily Courier reports “One section of the city’s code says that no one may occupy a public right-of-way for commercial purposes.”

This will likely prove difficult, however, for the primary concern regarding such changes has to do with competition.

“Unfair competition between someone who’s invested in a truck and someone who’s invested in a building, commercial kitchen and restaurant,” said George Worley, planning manager for the City of Prescott.

However, Worley said no studies have been done by the city to determine whether food trucks would, in fact, negatively impact brick-and-mortar businesses.

Doesn’t the Prescott Chamber of Commerce occupy the public parking lot and alley (right of way) behind its building every Memorial Day weekend with the Off The Street Faire, in which they bring in numerous primarily out-of-town vendors that compete directly with our brick-and-mortar merchants?

Doesn’t Eagle Event Management set up beer fests in our public streets for profit? Doesn’t the Chamber of Commerce and others regularly set up vendor booths in the middle of our streets at the Bluegrass Festival and other events for “commercial purposes”?

The merchants of Prescott have suffered for decades over the “unfair competition” to their brick-and-mortar businesses downtown.

There have been major grumblings by the bars about all the beer being sold on our “public right-of-ways” as there would be by the restaurants if food trucks were allowed.

Of course it would hurt restaurant business. But they haven’t been concerned about similar events and how they have affected the merchants.

It seems that “unfair competition” is only tolerated when the Chamber of Commerce or some pet organization has its hands in the middle of the pie! Can you say double standard?

Now it seems that there are constitutional issues with allowing pet organizations to disobey the ordinance to enrich their organizations and not allowing small business owners the same opportunity on public property.

Same thing that happens on the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza where the Arizona Appeals Court found a First Amendment constitutional violation a number of years back. It has largely been ignored and the violators continue their unfair enrichment!

An industrious attorney would have a heyday with these types of double standards. Isn’t it time we have fair and equal treatment for all of the residents of Prescott, not just the chosen few?

Either enforce the ordinance for ALL parties or open it up for ALL parties! The City of Prescott is going to learn a hard and expensive lesson on discriminatory practices if it does not.

Kevin Scheevel

Prescott