Food truck stuck by government conflict

Empower Wisconsin | Jan. 28, 2020 

By Terrence Wall  

MADISON — Here’s a government conflict of interest case that’s hard to stomach. 

In Door County, the Gibraltar Town Board passed an ordinance that put the owners of a food truck out of business. It’s no coincidence that the board chairman owns a competing restaurant. 

Lisa and Kevin Howard and Jessica and Chris Hadraba own White Cottage Red Door, a family gift shop in Fish Creek — an unincorporated area near Gibraltar. They wanted to open the food truck on their property to serve hungry campers. 

The business owners properly obtained a state license and also a county zoning permit. That didn’t matter to the township, which decided to pass a new ordinance banning food carts. Then, Gibraltar’s town constable ordered the food truck to shut down, threatening the owners with a $500 fine for each day they continued to operate. 

The Institute for Justice is representing the entrepreneurs in a lawsuit challenging Gibraltar’s vending ban. It seeks to establish that a vendor’s “right to earn a living does not depend on whether their businesses have wheels or not.” In September, the judge denied the town board’s motion to dismiss. 

Admittedly, being a developer of bricks-and-mortar buildings that lease to businesses and restaurants, I don’t like the idea of food carts competing with established restaurants. Food carts don’t pay property taxes, which presents them with a very distinct and unfair advantage. They can also park right in locations (like on the street in front of a restaurant) and take a restaurant’s customers.  

But I don’t let my own biases get in the way of what is a constitutional right. And the Gibraltar Town Board case seems steeped in conflict. The chairman owns and operates a competing restaurant, one of the former town board members worked at another restaurant, while a third board member publicly expressed his bias about food carts competing with eateries.   

I find it troubling when elected leaders either refuse to admit their conflicts of interest or their own inherent biases that would make it impossible for them to fairly decide pending applications on the merits. 

The conflicted board members should resign. Through their biases they have wrongfully targeted a legitimate business for destruction. Let’s hope the court agrees. 

Terrence Wall is a developer & owner of the T. Wall companies. He previously ran for the U.S. Senate.

Listen to more:


Explore More

  • Tool of the Week: Grow Government Gov. Tony Evers

    Empower Wisconsin | Jan. 30, 2023 MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers has told a lot of whoppers during his time…

  • Senators warn Biden: No debt ceiling deal without reforms

    Empower Wisconsin | Jan. 30, 2023 The fiscal hawks are sticking to their guns. On Friday, Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI)…

  • Milwaukee County supervisor resigns amid misconduct questions

    Empower Wisconsin | January 30, 2023 A Milwaukee County Supervisor has resigned under a cloud of misconduct in office allegations….

  • PowerUp: Big Money Left all in on Wisconsin Supreme Court race

    Empower Wisconsin January 27, 2023 The national left is all in on Wisconsin’s crucial Supreme Court race, a contest that…

  • Senators re-introduce No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

    Empower Wisconsin | Jan. 27, 2023 The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, the lawmakers say, attempts to clean up…

  • All Woke Up: ‘Affirming care’ for sadomasochists

    Empower Wisconsin | Jan. 27, 2023 The Hippocratic Oath doesn’t include a command that physicians provide “affirming care” for patients…

  1. Mark Avatar
    Mark

    About the DMV issuing ID cards.
    ID cards issued by the DMV are not specific to voting. They can be used for any identifying purpose when an individual does not have a drivers license. Individuals who are not eligible to vote can receive a DMV ID card.

    I am a poll worker and have registered voters. The only requirement for a person to register is proof of who they are and residency. The registration form includes a statement for the voter to sign attesting to being a legal resident eligible to vote. No documentation is required.

    Voting eligibility should be a function of the voting registration process and not the DMV.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *