Street vendors are facing a deadline – January 1, 2020 – to comply with city and county regulations.
But at a meeting at the Glassell Park Neighborhood Council on October 15, local government representatives were unable to answer basic questions about the new rules and were generally unresponsive to concerns raised by the vendors and their advocates.
For example, a representative from the L.A. Bureau of Street Services did not have information about the terms and costs of city permits that street vendors will be required to hold as of January 1, 2020.
Technically, city agencies have until November 15 to finalize regulations for permits. But vendors, their advocates and members of the GPNC expressed concern that that the still-undisclosed cost of the permits may be too high a sum for vendors to come up with between November 15 and January 1. Another concern is that there might not be enough time between November 15 and year-end to apply for and process all of the permits that will be required.
Despite those concerns, Edna Delgollado, the east area representative for Mayor Garcetti at the GPNC meeting, rejected a suggestion to delay the deadline.
Yet another concern revolves around standards that vendors must meet to receive permits for selling food. Advocates for street vendors have argued for flexibility. They say that vendors are facing the rules for the first time in a business that was legalized only recently and will likely need time and money to upgrade their carts and make other required operational changes. The advocates fear that that inflexible rules and deadlines will result in enforcement actions against vendors who have never had a reasonable chance to comply.
One thing is sure: Legalized street vending is entering a new phase and the outcome is uncertain.
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Bill Hendrickson, MBA, publisher of the Boulevard Sentinel, has extensive small business management, marketing and sales experience in corporate finance and real estate development and plays a not terrible game of golf.