City Attorney Submits Proposed Street Vending Ordinance To Council — Mostly Kicks Can Down Road To 2020 By Instructing Rec and Parks And BSS To Write Regulations For Council Approval — But Does Include Hard-Coded Ban Of Vending At Venice Beach, Pueblo De Los Angeles, And Within 500 Feet Of Walk Of Fame, Dodger Stadium, Hollywood Bowl, Coliseum, Staples Center On Event Days

September 2018 — A taquera Oaxaqueña plies her trade on Vermont Avenue north of Slauson.
In September Jerry Brown signed into law Ricardo Lara’s monumental SB 946, basically invalidating all municipal bans on street vending in California. One week later the Los Angeles City Council instructed the City Attorney to draft a compliant ordinance. And yesterday the City Attorney’s drafts1 hit the Council File. You can read the drafts for yourself:

These also came with a report from the City Attorney.

The main difference between the drafts seems to be that in the first version the Bureau of Street Services will be responsible for licensing vendors and enforcement won’t start until 2020. In the second version the City will choose a private contractor to administer the program. There may be other differences that I didn’t notice.

In neither case is it possible to tell right now what legalized street vending will look like in Los Angeles. Both drafts require Recreation and Parks and the Bureau of Street Services to draw up detailed regulations for vending in parks and on the streets respectively, and what these will look like is almost completely undetermined by the language of the ordinances. Although, if the earlier-announced positions of Rec and Parks and of BSS are going to be implemented, we’re in for another long ugly fight which will probably include more lawsuits.

Despite the inchoate character of these drafts, though, it seems that there are some prohibitions which the City Attorney feels are too important to be left up to the vagaries of the administrative rule-making process. These are as listed in the headline, and as transcribed and discussed below after the break.

Most notably, and most likely to be challenged, I believe, are the ban on vending within 500 feet of the Walk of Fame and the ban on vending on the Venice Boardwalk. These are, famously, BID controlled areas, and the City Council, even beyond its usual BID-oriented sycophancy, has shown an obscene willingness to cave in to the weirdo unreasoned demands of BIDs in relation to street vending. For instance, just a couple weeks ago Paul Koretz was trying to get vending flatly excluded from a bunch of BIDs in CD5.

Also, don’t forget that the new state law requires any restrictions on the location of vendors to be based on objective health, welfare, and safety concerns. While I can actually see a plausible case for this around e.g. the Hollywood Bowl, where after a show it’s so crowded that everyone’s walking in the street and the hotdogueros’ carts seem likely to tip over at any moment, it’s totally implausible that this applies on the Boardwalk or on Hollywood Boulevard.

This proposal is better than an earlier version which banned vending within 500 feet of anywhere on Hollywood Boulevard rather than just the Walk of Fame, but not much so. Again, maybe there’s a colorable argument with respect to the Chinese Theatre, but the southwest corner of Hollywood and Gower not so much.2

And the state law explicitly states that community animus is not a health, welfare, or safety concern. After years and years of Kerry Morrison and her minions pissing and moaning about street vending on the Boulevard, culminating recently in Hollywood Chamber of Commerce führer Leron Gubler’s racist rant about dark-skinned street vendors making the most famous street in the world look like a “third world bazaar.” it’s going to be pretty hard to argue in court that the reason for the proposed ban is anything at all but community animus, and court is where the City is going to end up if they try to push this nonsense. Anyway, here’s the text of the proposed restricted areas, which is the same in both versions:

Vending is prohibited within 500 feet of: 1) the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Universal Studios and the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument (as described in Chapter 25 of Division 22 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code); 2) Dodger Stadium, the Hollywood Bowl, the Staples Center and the LA Coliseum on event days; and 3) any other venue as determined by the Board of Public Works or Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners and published in the Rules and Regulations.

Vending at Venice Beach is limited to First Amendment protected expressive activities as set forth in Section 42.15.A.

The procedure for measuring the 500 foot vending restriction shall be specified in the Rules and Regulations. The Department of Public Works, Bureau of Engineering shall develop interactive maps available to the public disclosing locations with any restriction on Vending.

  1. They submitted two drafts.
  2. I’m not saying there’s a valid argument for banning vending in front of the Chinese, just that there’s a non-stupid argument for it. It’s still wrong, but it’s just not stupid, as, e.g., any argument that vending should be banned 500 feet from every single part of the Walk of Fame must in fact be stupid.
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