Outraged Owner Demands Relief from City

Lynne DavidsonOP-ED45 Comments

Tito’s Tacos, since 1969. Photo: familyvacationhub.com

[Editor’s Note: On Sunday, Aug. 9, some Culver City streets will be closed off for most of the daylight hours – angering certain business owners — when the worldwide bicycling event known as CicLAvia is routed through the community. One owner spoke up at last evening’s City Council meeting.]

I am Lynne Davidson, representing Tito’s Tacos Mexican restaurant, located for the past 56 years on Washington Place in Culver City.

I come here to express my utter outrage that the city and some non-profit group called CicLAvia will close Tito’s Tacos on Sunday, Aug. 9, to our regular customers — many of whom come from as far as Santa Barbara, Riverside and San Diego counties.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with our restaurant, Tito’s Tacos was selected by the nationally recognized media sources the Daily Meal and FoxNews.com for producing the Numero Uno Best Taco in all of Los Angeles County. TechTimes.com recently picked Tito’s Tacos as one of the “Twenty Places where you can get the Best Tacos in America.”

It is truly rewarding to receive this kind of recognition for producing mouth-watering food, prepared fresh daily for our beloved customers on a consistent basis.

I am here this evening to ask you to immediately cancel the CicLAvia event or, at a bare minimum, that the streets surrounding Tito’s Tacos are not closed to through traffic on Aug. 9,, which traditionally is one the biggest days of the year for us.

If this ill-conceived event happens, Tito’s Tacos plans to file a claim under the Government Code against the City of Culver City and CicLAvia to recoup all damages the event causes to Tito’s Tacos.

Ms. Davidson may be  contacted at titostacos@msn.com

45 Comments on “Outraged Owner Demands Relief from City”

  1. Janet Chabola

    The saddest part of Lynne’s dilemma is that she was not informed of this month’s ago and could not plan accordingly. The City is inconveniencing businesses and residents with the closure of our streets. I have received no notice of these closures from anyone.
    This is just WRONG.

  2. James

    Interesting, as I’ve been aware of it for at least 6 weeks from various news and community reports. Love Titos, but perhaps they should reconsider “closing” that day. There are likely to be a lot of hungry cyclists looking for lunch.

  3. Marcus G. Tiggs

    This is a shame! While CicLAvia is a fantastic event providing car-free streets within designated routes, Culver City businesses are clearly impacted (some good and obviously some bad, as that of Tito’s). Travaling to Colombia at least twice per year (Bogota being the birthplace of what is called Ciclovía since the early 70s) with my wife–who happens to be a Colombiana, provisions are made to reduce the impact on businesses. Hey, they do it every Sunday and holidays in Bogota! A little early outreach to businesses could only help make this a win-win for ALL. Especially since it hits Culver City at best 1x per year.

  4. John Heyl

    Discussing this last night with a more business-minded person, the point was made that there is still time to mount a multi-media campaign for something like a discount for everybody who wears a bicycle helmet the day of CicLAvia and orders food at Tito’s. It may pay-off, or it may show a good faith effort to live with the situation… for the legal action. Sorry “All Meat Burrito”, I will try not to cross Washington Place/Blvd. that day….

  5. Charles Deen

    Forcing Tico Tacos to close for day is not exactly a great idea. How about the workers and their families? Loyal hardworking Tico Tacos employees will not have an opportunity to earn a paycheck during that forced day off. Common sense will tell you that this situation could have been avoided with just a little consideration in event planning to mitigate for adverse economic impacts.

  6. Dave Ash

    Don’t worry, Lynne (and others)…your patrons can drive over and park on Sepulveda. The 1 minute walk will do everyone some good and you’ll probably still sell twice as many tacos as usual. Viva CicLAvia!

  7. Alicia

    It’s only one day greedy people! And as many people have said, in a couple hours after ciclavia is over, you will recover your money…

  8. Eric

    Uh, Lynne, I’ve been eating at Tito’s for 30 years…good deal, passable food. Instead of being dismissive and narrow minded about something you don’t understand, perhaps you should embrace a community event that will present you with thousands of new customers. The added bonus? You’ll probably enjoy your busiest Sunday in years.

  9. AB

    Color me shocked that a business owner who still doesn’t accept credit cards in the year 2015 hasn’t heard of CicLAVia, and refers to it as ‘some non-profit’. Nobody is forcing Tito’s to close, and if she took the time to research what CicLAvia has done for other businesses, she’d realize that it’s usually a lucrative day for them.

    I won’t exactly be shedding a tear if Tito’s closes for one day…the people of Los Angeles can live without Taco Bell quality tacos that they’re forced to stand in a long line and pay cash for.

  10. Joe

    As many as 100,000 hungry people who REALLY like Tacos are about to pass by your place on foot and on bikes. You should probably rethink this post.

  11. Wayne

    This is what’s wrong with America. Business people freak out first without any credible thought. Before this owner’s rant, 1000’s of people who never even knew Tito’s Taco’s existed were going to be potential customers. Now this narrow minded business person has gone into freak out mode without having any idea as to how Ciclavia was going to be her best business day ever. Before the owners rant I would have said, you need to bring in more staff for Ciclavia. Cross your fingers that the potential Thousands of new patrons will never read this in which case I’ll say, you need more staff for Sunday or you may wind up closing because you can’t handle all the people trying to eat at Tito’s Taco’s. We’ll wait to see how your Monday after Ciclavia comments change.

  12. Cory

    3rd St. in Santa Monica has been closed for years between Wilshire and Broadway. Restaurants there seem to have managed. I get it’s a bit of a drag not having cars drive by and stop out front, but hopefully the traffic from CicLAvia will more than compensate. If it does, great. If it doesn’t, you will have good reason to protest it next year (should it happen again). Pre-protest without real any data about how you might be affected isn’t that strong an argument. We will see, I suppose. I hope you open and your patrons (old and new) can visit you. I’m not sure basically saying you don’t want the potential new customers from CicLAvia was the best move, but the horse has left the barn on that one.

    Also, the fact you say August 9th is “traditionally is one the biggest days of the year for us” seems a bit odd. Do you mean the second Sunday of August each year? The last day of Week 32 each year? Just curious.

      1. Cory

        The whole letter was a mistake, which she obviously now realizes. I think the August 9th thing was just sort of frantically throwing out reasons and hoping one might stick. To me this letter is akin to a hasty email that should have been saved as a draft rather than sent. I can emphasize. I hope the event ends up being a success for her and for CicLAvia – the latter of which, by the way, sounds like a cool event but is oh so annoying both to type and to say out loud.

  13. Micki

    CicLAvia is not forcing anyone to close. Quite the contrary! They are bringing THOUSANDS of hungry cyclists right to Tito’s Tacos’ doors! Ms. Davidson is clearly out of touch and missing a huge opportunity to attract many new customers. Try a quick google image search of “ciclavia” and tell me you don’t want crowds like that outside your business.

  14. Jack

    Strange but to me, a Culver City resident, the businesses on Venice in the last event were doing a lot of business. People were actually exploring the shops on Washington too, which was a block away from Venice. Does he have some information we don’t about how CicLAvia negatively impact businesses?

  15. James

    Seriously? Does this woman know anything about Ciclavia? Does she not understand that there will be literally thousands of hungry people on bikes, skateboards, foot, etc converging on the area that day? Potentially WAY more people that supposedly drive there from “Santa Barbara, Riverside and San Diego counties” as she claims. She could make a fortune, and help build her customer base if she was not so short sighted.

  16. Terence

    Hey Lynne, how about caring about the community you’re in for a moment before worrying about the fools who drive countless miles to eat your greasy fare? CycLAvia brings thousands of people together in areas they may not otherwise frequent, and at a leisurely pace so they can truly discover and experience the neighborhoods.

    Your mean-spirited rant will adversely affect your business. But this Sunday you’ll be busy serving cyclists who haven’t heard your ill informed opinions on the CicLAvia event.

  17. Pam

    Sorry Tito’s you lost my business….No one said you have to be closed. By stating your ignorant opinion you’ve offended current and future customers. There may not be car traffic but pedestrian traffic will certainly be enough. Obviously, you are not educated on the bigger picture of this event. You did yourself an injustice. No one will want to support your business with your negative attitude, especially me.

    1. Krissy

      I’m with Pam, Traci, Matt et. al. – I biked by Tito’s like four times yesterday (fun with group coordination) and made a point NOT to eat there and don’t really see any need to ever eat there again despite being a Westsider who’s in the area regularly. Lynne Davidson is an idiot.

  18. chris

    i’m confused… since when is providing thousands of bicyclists straight to your front door a bad thing? why is Sun 8/9 their biggest day of the year? Am I unaware of a holiday? what percentage of meals served comes from out of towners who can’t park on another street and walk 1 block over? why is their solution only to open roads near their business (very selfishly stated), and not to fight for all businesses who will supposedly suffer? it’s sad they don’t want to participate in a community event because they are more concerned about money.

  19. Scott

    Great lesson for Tito’s on How to Waste a Golden Opportunity. Short sighted and just plain stupid.

  20. Westsider

    Prior commenter Lena is right. Their tacos are WAY overrated.

    Hopefully Don Chuys down the street will remain open, because their tacos are fantastic, compared to the inedible Titos.

  21. DV

    I grew up with Tito’s, finished most beach days, softball games and post party nights eating here. While an inconvenience to the business for a day, its a greater benefit for the community. Anyone still can access the business by parking North on Venice, South on Culver or on Sepulveda, Sawtelle or any street due West or East. A little walk is good for the soul and besides, all that extra bike traffic couldn’t possibly hurt business, all those hungry bikers, after all, the last event drew around 100K. Cheer up Lynn, you may actually gain more lifelong customers, be a good sport.!

  22. Pingback: Tito’s Tacos Comes Around, Welcomes Culver City CicLAvia Participants | Streetsblog Los Angeles

  23. Traci Park

    Seriously, Ms. Davidson, you have it completely wrong. The CicLAVia event has been well known and scheduled for months. Your “utter outrage” is ridiculous. CicLAVia is a HUGE event that will be bring literally thousands and thousands of potential customers past your restaurant. And you are threatening to file a tort claim with the City over it? On what conceivable grounds? The City has every right to authorize this event, and if you chose to close your restaurant during the event, that consequences of the decision are solely yours. Your utterly ignorant statement, combined with your completely baseless threats of litigation, just lost you this previously loyal and regular customer.

  24. Matt

    So she threatens a lawsuit because of ignorance. It makes it onto social media. People don’t want to support her (because she won’t support some nonprofit…) and she loses business on Sunday because loss of sales. So she sues. I’d love to hear the judge laugh at her when every other businesses cash register is overflowing that day.

    Hey MBAs out there… here’s a good lesson on what not to do in business.

  25. Stephanie

    Who does this Lynne think she is? She says “shut it down” or she’s going to take legal action? What is her problem? You think it’s going to be negative for your business. I’ve had your tacos and they are average. They are actually very greasy and you charge extra for cheese. Here is a chance to gain many new customers, but instead, you think you own the city and the street? Sorry, you don’t. You have a very spiteful spirit and I guess it finally came out. You have lost a lot of customers with your demands, which are ridiculous. Guess what? You’re not the only pebble on the beach.

  26. Ruben Pages

    Lynne, you just wasted a big opportunity. Alienate the cyclist community? Your “regulars of every 8/9 (uhhmmm!, BS) can`t walk a block or two? Are they that obese from eating your overrated stuff. You want a real taco?, come to Downtown and East Los Angeles, or any other place for that matter including Hong Kong. Come on, you just needed a little publicity. You picked wrong.

  27. Matt Keller

    Curious. In attempting to make the entire city of Los Angeles bow to her hastily-made, ill-considered demands so she can keep business, she’s lost mine forever – and probably others’ as well. Greedy local business owners, take note: you operate in a community and need to take into consideration that community’s values before going off on a hotheaded rant. CicLAvia’s promotion of more ecological forms of transportation during a time when climate change is a real and pressing threat resonates with me. Greasy tacos made from poor quality ingredients that can be bested at home with a few simple ingredients? Not so much.

  28. Allan

    @ Lynne Davidson

    I’m a little confused here! Why and how is Aug. 9 one of the biggest days of the year for you guys? What’s so special about this day? The only thing I can see is that it’s a Sunday. Other than that, I’m confused!

    The only reason you are going to have to close on this day is because you guys ran out of food! Consider for a moment how many customers you are able to fit in your parking spaces, if they are all on bikes as opposed to in cars. You don’t see the opportunity here?

    I for one am going elsewhere to patronize. Hopefully they’ll be a little happier to see me on my bike!

  29. Estaban

    I have never been to Tito’s Tacos, but would have very likely stopped by during my ride. After such a stink raised by this business owner now it’s more likely i will never visit.

  30. John Walker

    What a narrow-minded, ignorant plea to make when there is a bigger picture at play. Ciclavia is an important community event that encourages everyone to look at our cities differently. When we open our roads and bike or walk the streets, we lessen our over-reliance on cars and we do what is better for our bodied and our communities. We walk; we meet people and we are helping the planet by reducing emissions. As a “proud” business, this woman should be ashamed of herself for thinly veiling her desire to make money for herself over an altruistic non profit that aims to make the world a better place. Shame on you.

  31. Brian Menendez

    I hope she learns her lesson with patrons passing by today and NOT wanting to eat there due to the short-sided views. Besides, I can’t see a big difference between Tito’s, and Taco Bell. They’re both horrible and overrated! Same bs, “Americanized” “authentic” Mexican fare.

  32. Sam Taylor

    Not it is time for Lynn Davidson to start paying all her employees a living wage of $15 an hour, plus health care. Time to step up for the workers!

  33. Jane

    This is the same woman who sued the city over signage and took $300,000 from Culver City to pay her attorney fees. We have not eaten there since – no great loss, by the way – and will never eat there again.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Culver City has agreed to hold off enforcing a sign ordinance that a judge had deemed unconstitutional and vague, thus settling a lawsuit by a woman who had posted signs around the city encouraging residents to vote.

    Lynne Davidson, 49, said she believes the settlement is “the perfect solution” to upholding freedom of expression.

    Davidson said all she wanted to do was encourage people to vote in the April 2002 election by posting “Vote for a Change” signs throughout the city.

    The signs did not advocate a political party, cause or candidate. The city saw the signs as a violation of its ordinance regarding signs in the public right of way.

    Under the terms of the settlement, reached May 19, the city must pay Davidson $300,000 for attorney’s fees and will stop enforcing the current sign ordinance.

    For The Record
    Los Angeles Times Thursday June 05, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 57 words Type of Material: Correction
    Culver City — An article in the May 29 California section about how Culver City suspended an ordinance governing signs may have created the impression that it is now legal to post signs in the public right-of-way. Although the ordinance is being revised in response to a lawsuit, posting signs in the right-of-way still violates city policy.

  34. Patrick

    So what happened on CicLAvia day? Did Tito’s close down? Were they forced to lock their doors on account of lack of business? I happened to be out of town last weekend, so I don’t know what happened!

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