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Urge the City Council to Legalize Street Vending the Right Way!

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LA is the only major city where street vending is outlawed. In our current political climate, immigrant entrepreneurs are in danger and may have their livelihood threatened just for making their living by selling things that people not only want, but that are integral to the cultural fabric of Los Angeles. For more than five years, the Los Angeles Street Vendor Coalition (LASVC) has worked to decriminalize vending and create a fair, smart permitting process for vendors. As a result of these efforts and our dire, national political climate, the LA City Council is now pursuing legalization.

Unfortunately, the Council is considering a policy that will further isolate street vendors, perpetuate conflicts between brick-and-mortar shops and vendors, and give Councilmembers unilateral power to ban vending in their entire district, according to the LA Times.

A bad policy is potentially disastrous. But good policy can work wonders -- bring vendors out of danger, creating vibrant public space, and making our city safer, healthier, and more prosperous.

That's why the City Council ought to follow the recommendations of the LA Street Vending Coalition and implement a policy that will work better and more fairly than what's currently proposed.

There are three main recommendations that we think the Councilmembers should implement so vending is legalized the right way.

1. Don't give one type of business veto or extortion power over another.

We can uplift all small businesses without giving brick-and-mortar businesses the ability to completely deny vendors' access to public sidewalk space.

2. Don’t allow Special Sidewalk Vending Districts to result in unjust exclusion of vendors.

Any prohibition on vending should be strictly limited and based on actual and demonstrable safety concerns, not business discrimination or perceived community animus toward vending.

3. Reasonable regulations for sidewalk space for vending should be adopted over arbitrary mandate of 2 vendors per block. 

* The Sidewalk Vending Program should not impose an arbitrary limit of two stationary vendors per block  which ignores the diversity of our built environment and the size of our streets. Instead, there should be reasonable rules on sidewalk placement to ensure safe passage and protect customers from unsafe proximity to vehicles. These rules should be crafted according realities of vending practices and sidewalk accessibility.

* The Program should allow stationary vendors to operate under time limits that are no more restrictive than brick and mortar businesses in the same area.

You can read the full letter from the LA Street Vendors Coalition here.

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