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Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Food Police Hates You in Livermore

I don't usually report on items outside of San Francisco or the transit sector, but I felt this blog entry was important enough to report on because I'd get upset too at the way people are being treated.

In Livermore's downtown district, there is a live concert program known as "Concerts on the Green" (a.k.a. "Tuesday Tunes") that has been happening in the area for the past six years every Tuesday evening during the summer. The downtown business association who runs the concert series obtains all the permits and items needed to operate a free concert at an outdoor public venue at Livermore Plaza.

But it seems the concert series is turning the public's faces red since the "food police" has been checking if the food and beverages they bring to the concerts are only purchased from vendors from the downtown business area. The way they check on the food and beverages is by reviewing the receipts issued.

People in Livermore are mad. A Facebook page was created for people to vent their frustration on the issue because the tradition has been people have been allowed to provide their own food and beverages from ANYWHERE, even if it was purchased outside of downtown. People have also protested this policy by holding a separate picnic near the actual concert site where they bring their own food, regardless if purchased from downtown or not.

The banging of pots and pans has received the attention of the Contra Costa Times with a front page article and KGO-TV news. The people on the Facebook page mentioned the KGO report is not entirely correct stating the outside food ban includes merchants/vendors outside of the business district, not simply city limits.


The downtown association's message is to "buy downtown" in which I want to defy that rule. Why should I purchase food from some kind of monopoly at a free public concert on public property?

This is really discouraging for visitors who attend the concerts. Within the city limits, there's a Trader Joes and Safeway, and yes, the tasty sandwiches and bags of chips are banned at the concert. There is a KFC within the downtown limits and that's OK, but bringing other KFC from another Livermore location is banned too.

I'm one of the many people who would throw away their receipts in the garbage can upon purchasing an item, unless if I paid it with a credit card. If I buy a few bottles of soda before I go have a picnic with my friends, do I carry my receipt? Not likely.

How about I bake my own goodies? What's wrong with homemade stuff to share with friends? Want a cookie?

The situation would be different if the event was held on the streets with businesses surrounding it (e.g. Fillmore Jazz Festival and Union Street Festival). It would be totally unethical for festival/concert organizers to hold an event and say they won't allow food purchased from vendors just steps away from the concert stage or purchased from vendors not "on the block." Sure, the festival/concert can have their own food booths (usually overpriced), but people have a choice to buy locally or bring in their own goodies and enjoy the booths and free music.


- susy - said...

This is horrible. What about people with dietary restrictions/food allergies? What if NONE of the vendors offer food that cater to their needs? Should the public be denied that basic right? Of course not. Really though, Livermore must have an awful large budget and extra cash laying around to be policing this policy. Ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Yes it is Horrible. The Livermore’s downtown merchants association is really becoming too big for its britches. Five years ago the city poured 12.5 million of its tax payer dollars to revamp a section of the downtown area. Now that they want to tell those tax payer’s what food and or beverage they can and cannot bring into that area. This same group is afforded the luxury of running a two day event that draws 150,000 people over two days of which they are the sole beneficiary. Kind of makes one sick!
Livermore, Ca
PS. Glad you blogged it!