What the hell is wrong with City Hall? Does it hate good food, intrinsic culture and The American Dream?
Are they now doubly pissed at the poor, hard-working, great-cooking Red Hook Ballfield food vendors, because the Parks Commissioner's plan to unleash the field's concessions gig to open bidding was met with wide public opposition and gave the City a big bad-press black eye? (The people assert their will? How dare they?)
According the Porkchop Express, the City has now sicked a new agency on the vendors, in the form of a sudden inspection by the Department of Health. "Hey, if we can't shut them down one way, we'll try another!" Well, the raid didn't work, at least for now:
Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez was alerted. She immediately called the Mayor's office, and arrived to monitor the inspection in-person. In so doing, she defused a potentially big bomb. Rather than threatening closure, the DOH simply offered a list of "suggestions."
Foremost amongst these: no running water at the fields. So today (Tuesday) at 5:15 pm, Cesar was contacted about a "big" meeting Wednesday with the Deputy Commissioner of Health. Pressure has intensified, City Officials are again flexing muscle, and the implied bottom-line is rough. Worst-case scenario, the Vendors will have to shut down operations stat to comply with DOH mandates. But we wont know anything until tomorrow afternoon.
Next up: a surprise visit from the Fire Department to check for fire hazards ("Hey, they're using fire to cook the food!"), and the Police sweep the area looking for any illegal immigrants ("Those vendors look like they were born in another country!"). A goverment of petty putzes.
UPDATE (Aug. 9, 10 AM): According to reports this morning, re Eater and Porkchop Express, by Sunday August 19th the vendors must:
· store more ice in coolers
· acquire portable hand washers/sanitation units
· wear sterile gloves and change said gloves regularly
· have a source of running water to wash hands, tacos, etc.
· rent commercial grade kitchens to prep food, or prepare everything on-site
And, "Most significantly, The Powers That Be want everyone who works at a stand to be licensed. Anyone associated with a tent – from corn shuckers to pupusa stuffers – must undergo a training session to obtain a mobile food vending license. At present, only 12 tent operators are licensed; this number will (must) more than quadruple."