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Julio Guerrero is a Silver City resident and works as a financial adviser. He has been involved in Milwaukee’s nonprofit and political sectors for more than a decade.
Silver City in Milwaukee is home to many amazing Latino business owners and entrepreneurs. They own grocery stores, bars, restaurants, auto repair shops, coffee shops, consulting firms and yes, taco trucks.
These small business owners and entrepreneurs are vital to the growth and health of our community. They work long hours knowing that the success of their business is not always guaranteed. Being a business owner is a struggle, but they keep at it in their determination to achieve the American dream for themselves and their families.
Ald. Bob Donovan recently pushed for a taco truck ban on National Avenue between South 27th and South 39th streets. Mayor Tom Barrett responded by vetoing this proposed ban. Would this ban be enacted, it would seemingly target one taco truck: Taqueria Arandas, which is owned by Francisco Santos and is often parked near South 37th Street and National Avenue. To our knowledge, there have never been any citations put on record involving Taqueria Arandas. Donovan will need the support of nine other Milwaukee aldermen to override the mayor’s veto.
Santos feels targeted, and we are concerned that Donovan is using his position to bully and scare him. We are concerned that Latino business owners are being singled out and not being treated with the respect they deserve. We want to stand in support of the mayor’s veto. We want to send a clear message to the other members of the Common Council that we do not want them to rubber stamp Donovan’s ban for the sake of “collegiality.” Politics as usual may be standard operating procedure, but our community deserves better.
We want to send a message to the community that if we believe that our Latino brothers and sisters are not being treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve, we will rally behind them as a community and we will support them. If we feel an elected official is not acting in alignment with the best interest of our community, it’s our responsibility as community leaders and members to step up and make it known. Ald. Donovan is free to take whatever positions he chooses; as a community, we are free to come together over tacos and disagree. This is what democracy looks like.
During a time when many people are telling our community what we should be against and what we should be afraid of, we want to push back and unite around what inspires us. We love our neighborhood and our neighbors in Silver City. We love our small business owners and entrepreneurs who work hard to support their families. We love our taco trucks, and we most definitely love our tacos.
Rally with us Friday, March 22
We want to invite everyone to join us outside of Velobahn Coffee & Cycle, 3618 W Pierce St, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, March 22 to rally in support of the mayor’s veto, in support of Franciso Santos and Taqueria Arandas and in support of the food, culture and flavors that make Silver City and the South Side of Milwaukee so great. P.S. The taco trucks take cash only, so please stop at an ATM on your way here.