EDITORIAL: Legalize And Decriminalize Street Vending In L.A.

EDITORIAL
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) City leaders have talked about legalizing and creating a regulatory framework for street vending for at least two decades, and they’ve been working on the latest proposal for three years. But so far they’ve failed to adopt practical, workable rules, leaving peddlers to operate in a legal limbo.

Los Angeles Times

Here’s one small silver lining to the election of Donald Trump: It has forced Los Angeles City Council members to get moving on the long-stalled proposal to legalize and regulate street vending.

Despite the fact that street vendors are practically everywhere in L.A., hawking hot dogs, fresh fruit, toys and even toilet paper to willing buyers, they are illegal under city law. That law is widely ignored by both the vendors and law enforcement — until it’s not. Police and city inspectors occasionally crack down, ticketing or arresting people and often confiscating their carts and merchandise. But the street commerce quickly resumes. The lack of consistent enforcement means that vendors can clutter the sidewalk with carts and trash.

City leaders have talked about legalizing and creating a regulatory framework for street vending for at least two decades, and they’ve been working on the latest proposal for three years. But so far they’ve failed to adopt practical, workable rules, leaving peddlers to operate in a legal limbo.

Street vending is an established part of the city’s cultural fabric, and yet its practitioners — many of whom are in the country illegally — can be arrested at any minute on criminal misdemeanor charges.

The threat of criminal charges has always been a concern for immigrants living in the country without authorization, but the concern has turned into outright fear now that President-elect Trump has promised to deport immigrants who are living in the country illegally and who have criminal records. In response, Councilmen Curren Price and Joe Buscaino have revived the council’s dormant proposal on peddling and pledged to legalize and decriminalize street vending as soon as possible.

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