Long Beach Ice Cream Trucks Hit Rocky Road with City Council
By Scott Wilson
Even though it's summertime, not everyone is screaming for ice cream.
Specifically, the Long Beach, Calif., City Council, who unanimously voted Tuesday to draft a proposal to silence the city's ice cream trucks this summer.
The new ordinance would require ice cream truck vendors to turn down the volume on their amplified speakers while driving. Additionally, the trucks would be prohibited from playing music entirely while parked at the beach, in a neighborhood, or any other location in the city of Long Beach, Councilman Dee Andrews told ABCNews.com.
While restrictions of this nature may seem ridiculous to some, Andrews said residents of Long Beach are "annoyed" by the music.
"When you get a complaint from your constituents you try to address it. It sounds kind of petty, but I'll try to make it very simple and easy," he said. "Let's try to get along with our neighbors. Just be fair to the city that lets you in."
Andrews said that his office has received about 200 complaints regarding noise pollution produced by the city's ice cream trucks. In response, the city council reached out to more than 60 ice cream trucks that service the community of Long Beach.
Nestor Zea, who has operated an ice cream truck in Long Beach for 20 years, said he has received similar complaints from city residents.
"Some people are old and retired and don't really like the music. Some people are just tired of the music. The problem is there are too many trucks and too many people working these streets," Zea told ABCNews.com.
Despite these complaints, Zea said he was concerned that the new restrictions will adversely affect business.
"It will affect our business for sure because the kids really like the music. I've worked for 20 years in this business. And each year is hard enough to survive," he said. "People don't understand that we pay for licenses, we pay taxes, we need to pay rent, and we have to support our children. I am 60 years old. I have a family to support. No one is going to hire me at my age."
Andrews said he disagreed with Zea's complaint and said the new ordinance "would not negatively affect businesses," and that the more important issue at hand, is how the noise pollution produced by ice cream trucks disproportionately affects low-income communities.
"They aren't selling up in Beverly Hills. Gated communities won't let them in. They thrive off of low income communities," Andrews said. "Everybody's trying to make a living. Let's just work together. Just be a little more considerate of each other. It would behoove them to be a little more courteous of the city's residents. This could be a win-win situation for everybody."