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Northridge East Neighborhood Council Opposes Plan to Legalize Street Vending

2014_Fish_and_chips_street_vendor_Chiang_Mai

LA neighborhoods are evenly divided on plans to legalize street vending amid concerns current law opens immigrant vendors to deportation.

Los Angeles is the only major city in America that prohibits street vending, but that may be changing after a City Council committee Monday advanced a proposal to decriminalize it.

The proposal put forward Monday by council members Joe Buscaino and Curren Price would replace criminal penalties with a permit system enforced through fines and property confiscation.

“Ladies and gentleman, we are here today because the status quo is not working as it relates to sidewalk vending,” said Buscaino to open the meeting of the Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee. “Los Angeles is the only major city that prohibits vending of every type, 24 hours a day, throughout the entire city on approximately 11,000 miles of sidewalks, and it is no surprise that is clearly is not working.”

The issue had been stalled in the committee for more than a year, and the move now sends the proposal to the full City Council, which will have to vote to ask city staff to craft an ordinance based on the proposal.

The committee heard from many members of the public both in favor of the proposal and opposed to it, as well as plenty who wanted changes. One common concern was that the proposal would require vendors to seek permission from adjacent businesses to sell in front of their establishments.

“This is fraught with legal and political problems, and practical problems. The proposed policy would clearly exceed the city’s police powers,” said Cynthia Anderson-Barker, a civil rights attorney. “There is no public purpose giving brick-and-mortar businesses veto power over whether a vendor can sell.”

Other concerns included a limit of two vendors per block unless special permission was granted, and the ability of the city and police to enforce the policy.

Buscaino told the crowd that what was being advanced to the full council is a “framework” for a policy, and that if the council voted to direct staff to craft an ordinance, it would come back to the committee for a “full dissection” before going to back to the council again.

Before the vote, activists gathered at City Hall to call on the city to change its policy and decriminalize street vending.

Los Angeles is the only major city in America that prohibits street vending, but that may be changing after a City Council committee Monday advanced a proposal to decriminalize it.

The proposal put forward Monday by council members Joe Buscaino and Curren Price would replace criminal penalties with a permit system enforced through fines and property confiscation.

“Ladies and gentleman, we are here today because the status quo is not working as it relates to sidewalk vending,” said Buscaino to open the meeting of the Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee. “Los Angeles is the only major city that prohibits vending of every type, 24 hours a day, throughout the entire city on approximately 11,000 miles of sidewalks, and it is no surprise that is clearly is not working.”

The issue had been stalled in the committee for more than a year, and the move now sends the proposal to the full City Council, which will have to vote to ask city staff to craft an ordinance based on the proposal.

The committee heard from many members of the public both in favor of the proposal and opposed to it, as well as plenty who wanted changes. One common concern was that the proposal would require vendors to seek permission from adjacent businesses to sell in front of their establishments.

“This is fraught with legal and political problems, and practical problems. The proposed policy would clearly exceed the city’s police powers,” said Cynthia Anderson-Barker, a civil rights attorney. “There is no public purpose giving brick-and-mortar businesses veto power over whether a vendor can sell.”

Other concerns included a limit of two vendors per block unless special permission was granted, and the ability of the city and police to enforce the policy.

Buscaino told the crowd that what was being advanced to the full council is a “framework” for a policy, and that if the council voted to direct staff to craft an ordinance, it would come back to the committee for a “full dissection” before going to back to the council again.

Before the vote, activists gathered at City Hall to call on the city to change its policy and decriminalize street vending.

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