Huizar, Price Introduce Follow-up Motion to Ensure Decriminalization of Vendors
Three years after Councilmembers Jose Huizar and Curren Price introduced a motion to create a legal, regulated street vending ordinance, a City plan appears to finally be moving forward. On Monday, before the Public Works and Gang Reduction committee considered the matter, Councilmember Huizar joined hundreds of street vending advocates to push for an ordinance as a way to allow vendors to earn a living, assure the public that the food they are eating is safe, and provide the City the opportunity to effectively regulate a Citywide street vending program.
Although an estimated 20,000 vendors sell food and merchandise on our streets, L.A. is the only city of the country's 10 largest to completely outlaw sidewalk vending. The Public Works committee voted 3-0 to send an ordinance framework to City Council to vote on.
Under current City of Los Angeles law, vendors can face misdemeanor charges for the simple act of selling a hot dog. Given the expected shift in federal prosecution of immigrants, the proposed framework for a Citywide ordinance recommends decriminalizing street vending. However, there are current triggers in the City’s ACE administrative penalty system – which is designed to be less stringent than court-based infractions – that in fact can lead to misdemeanor charges. The ACE program also has a pay-by-date that is much more stringent than civil infraction payment requirements. On Wednesday, Councilmembers Price and Huizar introduced a motion to overhaul the City’s ACE program in relation to street vending.
The current proposed framework includes limiting the number of vendors to two per block in commercial industrial areas, requiring permission from adjacent business, and only allowing healthy food sellers to set up shop within 500 feet of schools. While the L.A. City Council will consider the item early next year, the goal is to decriminalize street vending before the January 20, 207 presidential inauguration.