Editorial: Tacos, anyone?


We're encouraged to hear that Nelly's taco truck owner Nelly Ramirez and representatives of Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery are working on a possible agreement that will allow both businesses to continue to thrive.

Ramirez's taco truck has been offered a new home on a gravel plot on Piemonte Drive, the private road off Vineyard Avenue that leads to the event center and winery, according to Ruby Hill Winery officials, who said Ramirez has indicated she needs time to think about their offer. She wasn't at the truck when our reporter went to Nelly's at lunchtime Wednesday.

The proposal comes almost a month after the food truck relocated across Vineyard Avenue, the opposite side of the street from where they had operated since the 1990s, near the Casa Real property.

Nelly's had to move June 30 after Pleasanton city officials, investigating a traffic complaint lodged by Casa Real officials, ultimately determined the longstanding food truck was indeed now creating traffic hazards for Vineyard Avenue drivers and truck patrons. The Mexican food truck had been granted permission to park in city-owned right-of-way along Vineyard Avenue so long as it was off the road and not creating any traffic issues.

If Nelly's management agrees to Casa Real's proposal, the truck will be able to park in a more desirable location than the turnout -- officially in Alameda County jurisdiction -- where it has moved to. Plus, the Piemonte Drive site would likely resolve the reasonable traffic concerns cited by city officials.

The pending offer would bring a welcome compromise, a far cry from what seemed possible based on the original tale we heard about why the truck was forced to relocate.

It had all the elements of a juicy story -- undue influence, discrimination, big guy vs little guy, etc.

The main thing missing: a show of proof.

Pleasanton resident Randall Frost first alerted us to Nelly's move by writing on the Pleasanton Weekly Town Square July 15 and submitting a long letter to the editor in which he stated he had a source who said the winery was pressuring the city to relocate a taco truck because the patrons were, according to him, "working class Latino people."

The Society of Professional Journalists code states four guiding principles for professional journalists: Seek Truth and Report It; Minimize Harm; Act Independently; Be Accountable and Transparent.

We have to ask questions to determine credibility of the source and corroborate the information, so it's not coming from just one source. We do this to minimize harm, like damaging the reputation of organizations and individuals with false information (to the point we had to remove a Town Square comment about burning down Casa Real because of the traffic complaint).

To "seek truth and report it," we contacted city officials, Casa Real representatives and Frost, in addition to Ramirez whom we have not been able to interview.

Melody O'Shea, COO of Beets Hospitality, the management company that operates Casa Real, said, "We're so upset about that. Our culture, who were are, our employees, and our values are all about accepting diversity. We patronize the taco truck. We've used them for our holiday parties and our employees have used them personally. This has always been about congestion."

To "be accountable and transparent," and so you better understand our being very leery of villainizing Casa Real based on claims from one unverified source, we have posted our email questions to Frost, and his responses, online here.

We asked for original documentation confirming his assertions and sourcing, information about his background as a freelance writer with pieces on marketing and branding, what he thought of the traffic safety concerns and his reaction to Casa Real's new proposal to Nelly's.

The responses:

* "Lo siento pero no hablo con periodistas" (I'm sorry, I don't talk to reporters.)

* "Lo siento, pero no te conozco. No hablo con extra├▒os." (I'm sorry, I don't know you. I don't talk to strangers.)

* After being told the questions were asked by professional journalists from the Pleasanton Weekly: "Ya veo. Sin embargo, no considero que Pleasanton Weekly sea una fuente de noticias professional." (I see. However, I do not consider Pleasanton Weekly to be a professional news source.)

These responses, or lack thereof, speak for themselves in terms of credibility of source and proof, or the lack thereof.

They also speak of a need to ask questions and think critically before accepting statements as fact. A good reminder for us all these days.


16 people like this
Posted by D S
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jul 28, 2017 at 10:15 am

Thank you for providing more details to a story that was taking on a life of its own. While it may be true that the truck has been using this locations for many years the location is not what it was 1 year ago or 5 years and not what it will be in 1 year.
This has become a busier intersection with many near car accidents. The concerns for private property rights have their place but this was clearly a safety issue - and not a case of any type of discrimination.
I applaud the owners of the property to offer the truck a location to conduct their business - knowing the risk they are taking on by having this business relocate to their property. I trust all the "concerned" citizens come out and support both the truck and Casa Real and stop looking for (or making up) the negatives.
Good luck to both.

10 people like this
Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 28, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Flightops is a registered user.

Amazing what a little bad press about a winery will accomplish, poke the hornets nest and solutions are found, especially since according to the above article all the employees at the winery patronize that food truck now and nobody wants to see them leave. Thank you to whoever saw the "light".

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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