THE ISSUE

The City of Los Angeles, does not support street vending as an entrepreneurial opportunity of advancement for our community. As we speak street vending is a crime leaving families and women vulnerable to the law and business owners without a permit program that allows them to do their work without fear of harassment or extortion. Conservative figures estimate that over 10,000 street vendors are operating on the sidewalks of Los Angeles. Although street vending is a central part of Los Angeles culture and economy, government agencies continue to enforce anti-street vending laws throughout the city. Los Angeles Municipal Code 42.00(b) bans the use of sidewalks for food vending, imposing fines of up to $1,000 and/or 6 months in jail on street vendors, regardless of their compliance with LA County Health Department’s food preparation standards. The current approach to enforcement stretches agencies thin, wastes millions of taxpayer dollars each year, and does little to regulate vending.

THE COMMUNITY RESPONSE

ELACC, community residents, and partner organizations have now come together to form the “Legalize Street Vending Coalition” to push the Los Angeles City Council to implement a policy that provides a licensing process for vendors to sell foods without the fear of criminalization. The coalition has already conducted numerous town halls throughout Los Angeles neighborhoods where there is a high concentration of street vendors, in order to begin educating and engaging these local entrepreneurs on what the City’s first comprehensive vending policy could look.

OUR SOLUTION

The only way to solve the street vending problem is for agencies, governing bodies and community organizations to work together to legalize street vending in the City and work toward paths of legalization that takes into consideration the needs of the community that we live in. The legalization of street vending is a viable bottom-up economic development strategy that will increase entrepreneurship opportunities as well as generate an increase in tax revenue for the city. We currently lead two citywide issue-based campaigns: The Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign (LASVC), and our Metro accountability campaign. The LASVC is a coalition of 62 organizations advocating for legalization of the estimated 50,000+ street vendors who operate without a legal permitting system. In February 2017, the Los Angeles City Council voted on decriminalizing street vending in the Campaign’s push for a Citywide permit program. Through the integration of cultural arts organizing, we are expanding our work to include more interdisciplinary approaches to addressing social and economic injustices by engaging youth and adults in artistic placemaking activities and both traditional and contemporary methods of art production to assist in communicating and advancing our campaigns

OUR CAMPAIGN GOALS

The legalization of food vending on sidewalks in Los Angeles

Healthy food incentives for entrepreneurs who are committed to selling healthy food as part of their business

Develop a strong community-based, nonprofit infrastructure that supports these entrepreneurs

Build constructive relationships with City departments that support street vendors and helps them find ways to conduct business within the law

Create spaces for vendors to work legitimately at farmers markets in their communities. This supports the vendors in taking a step towards legitimate employment and small business entrepreneurship.

Define areas where vendors can operate through the Boyle Heights New Community Plan Update

HOW DO WE CHANGE LIVES?

Street vendors are hardworking people striving to create a better life for their families and themselves. The legalization of street vending in throughout the City will help local vendors with few employment options to earn an honest living and provide food, clothing, and shelter for their families. For more information contact Carla de Paz at 323-604-1979 or email cdepaz@elacc.org.

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