An estimated 50,000 street vendors operate on the sidewalks of Los Angeles each year. Although street vending is a central part of Los Angeles culture and our economy, government agencies have historically enforced anti-street vending laws throughout the City, imposing fines of up to $1,000 and/or 6 months in jail, regardless of vendors’ compliance with LA County Health Department’s food preparation standards. This approach to enforcement stretches agencies thin, wastes millions of taxpayer dollars each year, and does little to regulate vending. Additionally, the legalization of street vending is a viable bottom-up economic development strategy that increases entrepreneurship opportunities as well as generates tax revenue for the city. In an era where more of our workforce is in the informal economy with zero protections and safety nets for emergencies, ELACC’s organizing for a street vendor movement is critical to building local solutions that can scale up and reach thousands of precarious workers across Los Angeles and beyond.
THE COMMUNITY RESPONSE
ELACC, community residents, and partner organizations came together to form the LA Street Vendor Campaign 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, and in Nov. 2018, we won. After ten years of engaging our neighbors and policymakers, LA passed a permit system for street vending. Now, there is much more work to be done by ELACC, street vendor leaders, and our partners, as we continue our community organizing with street vendors to ensure the permit regulations are fair and inclusive. ELACC’s community organizing efforts will include outreach to vendors across California to ensure they know their rights under SB946 Safe Sidewalk Vending Act (Lara), which legalized vending statewide.
OUR CAMPAIGN GOALS
Ensure permit regulations passed in Nov. 2018 to legalize street vending are fair and inclusive
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 farmer's markets in their communities. This supports the vendors in taking a step towards legitimate employment and small business entrepreneurship.
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 will help local vendors with few employment options earn an honest living and provide food, clothing, and shelter for their families.