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LA City County Members Consider Legalizing Street Vendors

LA City County Members Consider Legalizing Street Vendors

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Two Los Angeles City Council members said today they  want to legalize the sale of food and wares on Los Angeles sidewalks.

Vendors pushing carts selling hot dogs, tacos and other food items are a  common sight throughout the city, but the activity is technically illegal,  with many getting cited and sometimes arrested.

``Los Angeles has a world-class street food culture, but we sometimes  likes to pretend it doesn't exist,'' Councilman Jose Huizar said, noting that  some streetside edible offerings have even attracted the attention of food  critics.

Huizar took part in a City Hall rally organized with the Los Angeles  Street Vendor Campaign, a coalition of groups advocating the legalization of  street vending of food and other merchandise.

A motion introduced today by Huizar and fellow Councilman Curren Price  would direct city officials to report back in 90 days on a system to allow  vendors that sell food and non-food merchandise to do so legally.

The motion does not address food trucks, which are regulated by the  county, said Huizar spokesman Rick Coca.

The motion was referred to the City Council's Economic Development and  the Public Works and Gang Reduction committees.

Street vending has a strong presence not only in his South Los Angeles  district, but also citywide, and is a ``primary source of income for many  people,'' Price said.

Legalizing street vending would be ``good for micro-enterprises and for  the local economy,'' and would also ``ensure that the goods meet public health  and safety standards,'' he said.

The status of street vendors has been much-debated at the county level,  with operators of brick-and-mortar businesses contending that street vendors  pose safety and health hazards. Street vendors also have an unfair advantage  because they do not have to deal with the expense of paying rent for  storefronts, the businesses say.

Huizar said the legalization of street vending in other major cities  like New York, San Francisco and Chicago demonstrate street vendors can co- exist with brick-and-mortar businesses.

Some of the regulations being considered include creating a buffer  between vendors and storefronts, he said, while some businesses may find they  want to supplement their own operation by incorporating street vending.

 

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