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Thanks, Trump! Los Angeles Finally Legalizing Street Vendors to Protect Poor Immigrants From Crackdowns

A bill in the California senate could legalize street vending across the state.

Street vendorLUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS/NewscomThe dude with the elote cart who shows up as school lets out in my Los Angeles neighborhood will soon be able to breathe easier. The city is moving forward and finally, after years of debate, legalizing street vending.

Yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council voted 11-4 to have the city attorney draft a permitting system for street vendors so that they can sell their wares legally. And while this will come with all sorts of regulation (and in all likelihood, overregulation), the city has decided to reject a provision that would give nearby shop owners veto power over where street vendors can peddle their goods.

One street vendor told the council that nearby businesses had used threats to call the police as a way to extort money from her. So the lack of veto power matters. In its place, the city will be implementing an appeals process where businesses can complain about health and safety issues connected to particular vendors.

The ordinance will also restrict the number of street vendors per block and will ban street vending entirely in some busy areas like Hollywood Boulevard and Dodger Stadium. So there may still be some problems when street vendors want to sell where people actually congregate. (The street vendors in my calm residential neighborhood are in no actual danger of being shuttered by police—the residents like them and there are no storefronts nearby competing, so the cops are not getting any complaints.)

At the same time that Los Angeles is finally moving forward with legalizing street vending, there is also legislation winding its way through the State Senate in Sacramento that will legalize street vending throughout California. SB 946 would allow local authorities to license and regulate—but not entirely ban—street vending. The bill would require that persons who violate street vending ordinances face only administrative fines (as opposed to potential jail time) and would require that those fines go into local government treasuries, no doubt inspired by police encounters like this one where a Berkeley police officer shut down an unlicensed hot dog vendor and seized the money out of his wallet. The bill would also allow those convicted of past misdemeanors for sidewalk vending to petition to get those convictions dismissed.

That could be a big deal for the many poor immigrants in the state who are concerned that getting punished or imprisoned for something as harmless as street vending could get them picked up by immigration officials and deported. And that's partly what is pushing all this action forward after years of squabbling. The anti-immigrant nativism of President Donald Trump (he just tweeted something loathsome this morning directed toward sanctuary cities in California) and his administration have helped to turn every arrest by local police into a larger threat of deportment.

We now need to figure out how to get the Trump administration to go after people who violate occupational licensing laws so that the state will start scaling those back as well.

Bonus link: Check out Gustavo Arellano on L.A.'s long war against working class food choices from Reason's August/September 2015 issue.

Photo Credit: LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS/Newscom

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  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    my Los Angeles neighborhood

    West Hollywood, am I right?

  • Scott S.||

    No.

  • Scott S.||

    Also West Hollywood is it's own municipality and not part of the City of Los Angeles.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Is that employer only looking for people who live in West Hollywood?

  • Homple||

    Food trucks and illegal immigrants. All that's missing is asssex.

  • Thrackmoor||

    There are street vendors for that.

  • Jordan||

    It's okay, since you brought the butthurt anyway.

  • Homple||

    I'm laughing at the predictability and far from butthurt. By the way, I forgot about adding pot to the checklist. Needz moar pot.

  • Hugh Akston||

    The metaness of it is the real payoff. Deploying the second most overused quoteunquote joke at H&R to mock predictability? Brilliant.

  • TuIpa||

    And you coming out of the woodwork to be insufferable is the cherry on top.

  • Rhywun||

    And a Tulpa. This is like an HyR Greatest Hits thread.

  • Longtobefree||

    Just so I have it clear in my mind; we are happy that an evil thing (banning street vendors) is maybe going to be replaced by an evil thing (over-regulating and charging fees to street vendors)?
    And especially happy that the reasoning (?) behind the change is not to increase individual freedom, but just another way to thumb California's nose at the feds? And that the new evil thing is MORE likely to bring criminal border crossers into contact with the authorities?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Just so I understand your cosmology a little better, is 'evil' a monolithic category, or are there bad things that are more or less bad than other bad things? Because If so, regulation and administrative fines could qualify as less bad than seizure, imprisonment, and deportation.

  • ||

    To be fair we aren't talking about more evil vs. less evil. They just voted to have an attorney draft slightly less evil-looking skin to put over the "seizure, imprisonment, and deportation" wolf.

  • Aloysious||

    To be fair we aren't talking about more evil vs. less evil.

    Are we talking about lawful evil vs. unlawful evil? Or maybe lawful evil vs. chaotic evil? Because I'm sure some of those bastards are neutral evil.

  • Longtobefree||

    I was a programmer, not a cosmetologist; I didn't need a license to code.
    Which is why I am a bit binary; evil is evil.

  • CE||

    Selling stuff = not a crime.
    Crossing an imaginary line in the sand = not a crime.
    Arresting people for selling stuff = a crime.
    Allowing people to sell stuff if they pay a protection fee = a crime, but not as bad as an outright ban.

    So yeah, it's progress.

  • CE||

    if _they don't_ pay a protection fee

  • Hugh Akston||

    Post-concert midnight bacon dogs are one of the perks of life in Los Angeles.

  • Echospinner||

    I have heard them called "danger dogs". I don't live there but have tried making them at home.

    Great hot dog.

  • ||

    legalizing street vending ... have the city attorney draft a permitting system for street vendors

    So, less 'legalizing' and more 'having people look into drafting a "legalization" scheme'.

    Any win, I guess.

  • BYODB||

    Don't forget an effort to tax illegal aliens to shore up their failing public pension scheme's. Gotta get your dollars out of your slaves, after all. What are these illegal aliens gonna do, sue in court for violations of their non-existent civil rights? That's certainly one way to get deported.

    I'm still waiting on Texas to declare itself a gun-control sanctuary state. The sound of heads exploding would be glorious.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    I'm still waiting on Texas to declare itself a gun-control sanctuary state. The sound of heads exploding would be glorious.

    Gorious, indeed sir.

  • CE||

    But if you try to sell hot dogs without a license, they'll undoubtedly still take all your day's cash as evidence, like the bleeding hearts in Berkeley did.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    We now need to figure out how to get the Trump administration to go after people who violate occupational licensing laws so that the state will start scaling those back as well.

    Well said.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Excuse Me? "Thanks, Trump"? How many "Trumpsters" are there in the CA Leg that will vote for this?
    This is because certain political segments have advocated OPEN BORDERS for decades and refuse to see the damage their policy is doing to America.

  • prediksi singapore||

    Agar adil, kita tidak berbicara tentang kejahatan yang lebih banyak dibandingkan kejahatan yang kurang. Mereka hanya memilih untuk memiliki rancangan pengacara yang agak kurang jahat untuk menempatkan serigala "kejang, pemenjaraan, dan deportasi".

  • John C. Randolph||

    have the city attorney draft a permitting system for street vendors so that they can sell their wares legally.

    I've got a better idea: how about just fucking off and leaving them alone?

    -jcr

  • tommhan||

    So you are a business owner that pays huge taxes for having an actual address and have many expenses and now one or more food carts can set up right in front of your restaurant. GEEZE!!!!!

  • prediksifajar||

    bocoran toto sgp

  • prediksifajar||

    bocoran toto sgp

  • prediksifajar||

    bocoran toto sgp

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