There is an ongoing petition at Change.org for anyone willing to sign and support street food vending in Los Angeles. Under the current laws in Los Angeles, food street vendors are criminals – technically. LA Times estimates that there are about 10,000 street vendors selling assorted dry goods and food items in LA. Many of them are trying to augment their income or depend on street sales as their main source of income. Unfortunately, due to out-dated laws, they are vulnerable to harassment, steep fines, confiscation of goods and equipment, and being “shooed” out of the way at any given time. There have even been instances when vendors are put in jail for breaking the law.
The LA Street Vendors Campaign along with other organizations has begun a petition to demand changes in the law that would protect street vendors. They claim that street vendors are a part of LA’s history and culture. Allowing them to stay vulnerable is the crime.
The Los Angeles Times was quoted as saying that a vibrant street culture is to have a safe and effective system that would allow it to grow and foster. Understandably, the government should protect consumers and public health and see to is that sanitation standards are followed. The government should also plan the locations of street vendors so there is a good selection of snacks, fast foods, and healthy foods in the same area.
In addition, legitimizing the street vendors would help the economy as more people can start their own business with low capital. The issues of traffic and over-population of street vendors can be addressed with a new law in place. The local government can put controls to ensure that pedestrians are not bothered by street vendors nor are sidewalks blocked by the vendors.
The history of Los Angeles shows that street vendors were very popular before cars came and they were only pushed out of the way to make way for vehicular traffic. The petition can give residents and workers of LA a chance to revive a good economic idea and help low income families and new college graduates earn.