City Council OK's Food Truck Pilot Program in Medford
A little persistence led to the program getting the OK.
"Persistence is key."
It's a common phrase, and one Medford resident Cindy Watson probably agrees with.
The city council voted Tuesday on a proposed pilot program to license food trucks. The trucks would be limited to the Medford Farmers Market and special events, and the program would expire at the end of October.
Since the farmers market's season is already underway, City Councilor Paul Camuso called for the council to expedite the proposal. Normally, the council needs to vote on three readings of a proposed new ordinance, a process that takes a couple of weeks. But the council can bypass that process if it unanimously agrees to skip to the third and final reading.
That effort hit a snag Tuesday night when Medford City Councilor Robert Penta was the lone voice on the council against expediting the vote.
Penta said he was worried about how the trucks could impact existing businesses in Medford Square, and also worried about the "special events" element of the proposed ordinance.
"I just can’t accept it right now," he said.
The council voted 6-1, with Penta voting against it, and the effort initially failed.
That's when Cindy Watson came to microphone.
"You have the right to do things, but you can also do the right thing," Watson told Penta. "Change your vote."
Then a pause. And with a slight change in inflection:
"Change your vote."
"I’m asking you, I’m an Irish kid, you’re an Italian guy," Watson said. "Just change your vote."
And with that, Penta called for the council to reconsider the request on the ordinance, got up from his seat, circled the rail that separates the council from the public, embraced Watson, exchanged a few words and walked out of the Council Chambers.
The council began to vote again on the ordinance, but there was some confusion. City Council President Robert Maiocco asked audience members to retreive Penta from the hallway.
"I'm absent," Penta said from the back of the room.
So the councilors voted, 6-0-1, with Penta being absent.
Asked after about her effort after the meeting, Watson smiled.
"You only live once," she said.