It has been a long and exciting eight months since Ricardo Lara introduced SB 946 in order to limit the ways in which cities in California are allowed to regulate street vending. Yesterday, thank goodness, it was signed into law by Jerry Brown. The preamble1 is a powerful statement of the value that street vendors bring to our City and to other cities around the state:
SECTION 1. (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Sidewalk vending provides important entrepreneurship and economic development opportunities to low-income and immigrant communities.
(2) Sidewalk vending increases access to desired goods, such as culturally significant food and merchandise.
(3) Sidewalk vending contributes to a safe and dynamic public space.
(4) The safety and welfare of the general public is promoted by encouraging local authorities to support and properly regulate sidewalk vending.
(5) The safety and welfare of the general public is promoted by prohibiting criminal penalties for violations of sidewalk vending ordinances and regulations.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to promote entrepreneurship and support immigrant and low-income communities.
The law reads as if it were written explicitly in response to the weirdo racist antics of the business improvement districts of Los Angeles, displayed during their years-long struggle to keep street vending illegal here. Also, this law completely moots the ridiculous regulatory framework that the City of Los Angeles has been struggling with for years on end, riddled as it’s become with hyperspecific carve-outs meant to appease this or that BID.2
It’s really informative to compare this law with this set of proposals made earlier this year by the Central City Association, which speaks exclusively for the BIDs and zillionaires of Los Angeles. For instance, the CCA and the BIDs want to limit vendors to two per block face. But the law says:3
A local authority shall not restrict the overall number of sidewalk vendors permitted to operate within the jurisdiction of the local authority, unless the restriction is directly related to objective health, safety, or welfare concerns.4
The CCA and the BIDs want to require vendors to obtain property and/or business owner consent. As we’ve seen, this kind of restriction is really easily exploitable to function as a de facto ban. The law says:5
A local authority shall not require a sidewalk vendor to first obtain the consent or approval of any nongovernmental entity or individual before he or she can sell food or merchandise.
And turn the page for more comparisons as well as the full text of the law.
Continue reading SB 946, Ricardo Lara’s Safe Street Vending Bill, Signed Into Law By Governor Jerry Brown Yesterday! — This Is A Huge Victory For Human Beings In California Over The Dark Forces Of Money, Racism, And Weirdo Puritanical White Privilege — Also A Huge Slap-Down For The BIDs Of Los Angeles, Who Evidently Don’t Control Everything