Los Angeles Businesses Will No Longer Be Able To Veto Street Vendors From Setting Up Their Stands On The Sidewalks

credit: elaccorg / Instagram

Street vendors are part of city life. They add vibrancy and color to our car infested streets and freeways. We’re so busy driving here and there, that street vendors provide quick and easy ways to pick up flowers, elote, mangoes, or anything really. But with the demand of their goods, comes great risk. They have limited legal protections. We’ve seen street vendors get harassed by people, by cops, and business owners, but that could change in the very near future in Los Angeles.

After five years of fighting  for the rights of street vendors, the L.A. City Council voted yesterday to send a draft proposal to legalize street vending.

“The City Council passed a street vending proposal today (11-4) that does not include the business veto!!! Thank you to all our supporters! Our work continues as we wait for an ordinance to be drafted by the City Attorney!” The Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign said on their Facebook page.

While this is a huge victory for street vendors, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.

This proposal is just the first step in trying to legalize street vending and coming to some sort of compromise between business owners and street vendors.

Councilmembers have 60 days to come up with a bill that both street vendor advocates and business owners can agree to.

As of now, if a street vendor is positioned on a sidewalk owned by business they can easily tell them to relocate.

Under the new proposed idea, which is still in the works, the Los Angeles Times says it would mean that “shops would not be able to simply prohibit vending on the adjacent sidewalks, but property owners would be alerted when sidewalk sellers seek permits to do business outside their doors. They would then have a chance to lodge an appeal.”

Legalization would also help street vendors from extortion and possible deportations.

City council chambers packed with street vendors. Some council members want to bring back the "business veto", giving…

Posted by The Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign on Tuesday, April 17, 2018

“You don’t really know what is going on out there,” Merced Sanchez — a downtown vendor who sells goods including sunglasses and T-shirts — told KPCC. “In the area where I work, they (businesses) extort us. They intimidate us. At any given moment, if we don’t want to pay them, the rent they demand, they call the police.”

In February 2017, the L.A. City Council voted unanimously to decriminalize street vending. That decision spares undocumented merchants from facing possible deportations since street vending is no longer a crime.


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