Yesterday, a coalition of street vendors met at City Hall to deliver their thoughts on a series of proposed changes the city has submitted for public comment to the city’s street vending ordinance. Interested parties have until Friday, April 21, to submit comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org before the rules are finalized. A full list of the proposed changes can be found in yesterday’s article.
Six vendors will speak at a rally on Monday, April 24th at 10:00 a.m. at City Hall. All members of the Santa Monica community are invited to attend. The vendors will tell their personal stories and also tell the City Council that they are opposed to the proposed lottery system in Palisades Park which designates very few stationary spaces to vend.
In addition to asking for an extended deadline and a public hearing on the changes, the vendors have some very specific concerns with both the proposed rules and existing enforcement of existing rules:
- Vendors want to see more stationary vending locations above and below the Pier;
- Vendors are opposed to a prohibition on electric carts and riles that require carts be constantly moving unless making a sale;
- Vendors are concerned about a proposed rule which would allow the city to permanently revoke vending permits;
- Vendors are concerned that searches of carts that are closed are allowed without probable cause of a violation.
The above is not an exhaustive list of their concerns, the rest of which will be enumerated at Monday’s press event.
Earlier this week, I emailed the City Council to ask for comment on the proposed rules and only heard back from Jesse Zwick who seems sympathetic to the vendors’ concerns.
“I would like to see the city go further in identifying additional areas that are suitable for legal vending, including designated portions of the 1550 parking lot just north of the Pier,” Zwick wrote of the proposed rules. “Last but not least, our city must continue to emphasize education over enforcement, especially in the initial rollout of these new rules.”
While he didn’t reply to our e-mail, Councilmember Oscar De La Torre also signaled support for a vending program that promotes a healthy culture versus one that relies on heavy enforcement of rules at a recent City Council meeting.
“We can get people to comply. We can threaten legal action we can do a whole bunch of things,” De La Torre began. “…or we can create a culture where people become part of that culture and this is the way we do business.”