Street vendors have become a common sight in Los Angeles; from the man selling hot dogs from a push cart, to the woman set up on the corner grilling quesadillas. But these mobile shops are illegal — and prolific. Some estimate there's thousands throughout the county.
So on Wednesday, L.A. city councilmen José Huizar and Curren Price have called for a review of street vending legislation. They said that legalizing vending would create a safer environment for consumers and a more profitable system for L.A.'s economy.
"Unfortunately, we don't have a policy as other cities do — and so street vending is really kind of out of control. This is an effort to provide some regulation, provide a regimen," said Price.
The councilmen point to other cities, such as New York and San Francisco, as functioning models of legal street vending.
Supporters in L.A. have created the Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign. This coalition of organizations is looking to develop a new system "that gives micro-entrepreneurs an opportunity to make an honest living, encourages healthy eating, and supports existing small businesses in communities all over Los Angeles."
Isela Gracian is with the East L.A. Community Corporation (ELACC), an agency pushing for street-vending legalization. She said vendors just want the same rights as other sellers.
Gracian said they want the city to have a process “where street vendors can register as a business, get all the appropriate permits, be able to satisfy the county health department regulations if they’re selling food and be able to support these entrepreneurs and these businesses."
The councilmen are also pushing for incentives under the new regulations to encourage vendors to sell healthier food. Their motion asks for a review of L.A.'s non-food vending policies as well.
Huizar and Price have asked city agencies to report back within 90 days with potential legislation.