Los Angeles Approves Sidewalk Vending Ordinance

The new ordinance brings long-awaited legal legitimacy to sidewalk vending in Los Angeles.

Read Time: 2 minutes

November 28, 2018, 12:00 PM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Street Food

Karl_Sonnenberg / Shutterstock

Sahra Sulaiman writes of the details of a Los Angeles City Council committee hearing this week that preceded the approval by the full council of a new ordinance that brings the city into conformity with state law and begins the process for the city to create a permitting process for sidewalk vendors.

State law SB 946, signed by Governor Jerry Brown earlier this year, decriminalized sidewalk vending, and was touted as a victory social justice, but a defeat for local control. Sulaiman explains that the law hadn't done much to improve the situation for sidewalk vendors in Los Angeles, yet:

Even with the decriminalization of sidewalk vending last year, the lack of a formal ordinance meant street vendors were still experiencing harassment from law enforcement, racking up hefty fines they struggled to pay off, and worrying about deportation. It was eating into their livelihoods and making them afraid of losing everything every time they set up their goods.

To address the state law, the city proposed two alternatives for its sidewalk vending ordinance. One would have set up a regulatory model that "would have only required compliance with regulations," but also "it would not have generated funding for a monitoring and compliance program, making it much less attractive to the city."

Instead the city chose a permitting model, and final controversies over the ordinance centered around revisions to the draft ordinance and questions about vending in parks.

Sulaiman wrote the article after a joint meeting of the Public Works and Gang Reduction, Economic Development, and Arts, Entertainment, Parks, and River Committees on Tuesday, November 28, but also confirmed via Twitter that the ordinance had passed the full council on Wednesday, November 28.

Additional, up-to-date coverage by Emily Alpert Reyes has also been published by the Los Angeles Times.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 in Streetsblog LA

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