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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."

Penta waited.

"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.

He emerged.

"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.

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ella watson July 06, 2012 at 11:24 PM
raymay..I don't have a beef with the market or anyone else on here.I'm watching city council meeting and a statement is made that "their a non-profit like us"...knowing that that is not true..I responded on this thread. As far as wanting the council to have all information. I help out with several org in the city ..and they have asked why the market gets special treatment...Having the Dpw take time out to place signs around the city....... Don't you think al faro, the neighborhood restaurant. or the Deli on riverside would have liked some "free " publicity..before they went out of business. ..or the Gould School of Dance in West Medford ..would have liked to have signs saying their... competing in National Competition in Chicago as we speak..The Schools Champion Dancers will advance to World Class Competition later... Or the recent "relay for life" ..event at Fields of Dreams..would have love to have posted signs that stay up all year round...their are many deserving organization "old and new" and... For-profit businesses in the city that could use help...I'm not against the market..I have been to the market every year...purchased breads ..soap..oil ..candy and honey and Hummus(hated to see the deli go..)..to see art and hear the music.. I love all the vendors..wish some would come back..If your going to ask the city for help..then as a taxpayer..I want information to decide if we want the city to invest..or not. Be proud of sharing your efforts..I for one want facts..
ella watson July 06, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Tim M...I didn't realise you are an informed citizen like me..disregard the "you" in the sentences. Point of information..City Councillors week after week thank some citizen or many for sending information..about defects...request...photos etc..... through emails..text and voicemail on numerous bits of information. Don't get bent out of shape...if I want to send information to the council ..information of any topic..I will..and more should do the same...Their are many taxpayers who want answers..I will direct my questions to the market directly..Since your only an informed citizen like us...we can both benefit from what is gleaned...
Maria Daniels July 08, 2012 at 02:58 PM
The expedited permit was granted to CACHE, as someone stated above, and not to the Farmer's Market. CACHE is a coalition of nonprofits, businesses, and individuals who want to see Medford thrive. The people trying to launch the food truck and Circle in the Square pilot program are piggybacking on the fact that the Farmer's Market is in the Square on Thursdays, and hoping that will help more people turn out to be part of our community, patronize Medford Square businesses, and enjoy cultural and arts attractions. CACHE ran the wonderful Medford on the Mystic Festival last October and they are planning more public events for next October. http://cacheinmedford.weebly.com/
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