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LA Street Vendors And Advocates Caution City Council Against Criminalization Measures

a woman wearing a face mask stands with her back to the camera. her shirt reads "46th & Main" and then lists street vendor demands in Spanish
Merchandise vendor Lidia Castalan, who is also a community leader in the 46th and Main area of South L.A., says the fight for vendors to sell peacefully is far from over.
(Janette Villafana for LAist)
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Street vendors and advocates rallied at L.A. City Hall Tuesday morning asking City Council to abandon what they call recent attempts to criminalize sidewalk vending.

They spoke out against two specific measures:

  • An already approved motion to give citations to permitted vendors who block the sidewalk. 
  • Councilmember Gil Cedillo's proposal to get city workers up to speed on spotting health and fire code violations by street vendors.

Carla De Paz, an organizer with Community Power Collective, says often vendors aren't well-versed in American Disability Act (ADA) regulations, and that it's unfair to penalize them for things that are beyond their control.
In a statement, Cedillo said his intention is not to hand out citations, but to provide vendors with further education on compliance.

Vendors and organizers at the rally encouraged the council to support Councilmember Nithya Raman's resolution calling on the county and state to streamline regulations on food preparation. Raman said current rules were not designed with vendors in mind.

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“That's why it's incumbent upon legislators in the city of Los Angeles to advocate for these changes because without us keeping it loud they will forget to make these changes,” Raman said.

Vendors also voiced their opposition to a push from stores and residents near Melrose and Fairfax avenues to ban street vending there. The area is in Councilmember Paul Koretz's district, but spokesperson Alison Simard said Koretz has no plans to take such action and instead called for a more visible police presence in the area.

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