Tuesday, October 26, 2021

LA councilwoman Raman urges code changes to help street vendors

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nitya Raman asked the state on Tuesday, September 28 to make the California Retail Food Code more inclusive for sidewalk vendors and a more practical system to regulate their operations.

“The number of food vendors in Los Angeles who have been issued permits—only 165 out of an estimated 10,000 in our city—speaks volumes as to the prohibitive nature of current state and county food regulations,” said Raman, who offered a The resolution on Tuesday called on the state to change the rules.

“As a result, our vendors are forced to work informally and face the threat of quotes, fines, and confiscation of vehicles and goods that constitute their livelihood. We are calling on the state to implement structural solutions that can empower street food vendors to participate fully and formally in the economy. “

On August 11, the UCLA School of Law Community Economic Development Clinic and the non-profit law firm Public Council released a report that found that despite laws enacted in 2018 in Los Angeles and California to legalize street vending, most Sellers face the dangers of tickets and fines. Everyday.

The report “Unfinished Business: How Food Regulations Tack Sidewalk Vendors of Opportunity and What Can Be Done to Finish the Street Food” – which Raman cited in his proposal – included testimony from sidewalk vendors and claimed that the system would deal with them with the sheriff. punishes. Ticket issuers and card confiscation representatives, depriving them of their livelihood.

According to the report, people applying for a food vendor permit from Los Angeles County have to navigate an English-only process involving multiple offices and a number of required documents, stating that applicants must have sufficient information during the process. Assistance is not given. Only 165 permits have been issued since the city issued the permit in 2020. The report estimates that there are about 10,000 eligible vendors operating in the city.

The report notes that startup costs for those selling unpacked meals are at least $10,000, plus $5,000 in annual fees, while many employees earn only $15,000 per year on average.

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Vendors also have to meet equipment standards designed to regulate large food trucks and include requirements for integrated multi-compartment sinks, plumbing, ventilation, refrigeration, and high-capacity food storage. According to the report, food carts that meet these requirements cost thousands of dollars, are heavy to push and too large for normal sidewalks.

The report states that the California Retail Food Code effectively bans fruit carts and taco stands from cutting, reheating, or storing pre-prepared food on an attached food cart. .

“The problem stems from a tangled web of state, county, and city laws that deny sidewalk vendors permission to sell food legally, hurting all Angelenos by undermining food safety principles and sabotaging seller dreams of entrepreneurship. denials, which the laws claim to protect, said report co-author Scott Cummings of UCLA’s Community Economic Development Clinic.

“Even as local officials make it easier for brick-and-mortar restaurants to conduct outdoor dining, we see them continue to vigorously implement a system that is not limited to LA’s Famous Street.” operates as a de facto ban on food.”

Raman’s proposal calls on states and counties to implement the report’s recommendations to make health compliance more viable for street vendors.

The report recommends that state officials amend the California Retail Food Code:

– To provide a streamlined process for inspection and approval of trains;

– Incorporate appropriate standards that enable slicing, safely reheating of fruits and vegetables, and keeping common sidewalk vending foods warm;

– reduce sync requirements;

– Expand access to safe food preparation; And

To make sidewalk food vending crime-free.

The report recommends Los Angeles city officials:

– Withhold citations for unauthorized vending until barriers to the permission system are removed;

– Shift StreetsLA enforcement practices away from punitive law enforcement and towards trade facilitation;

– replace “no vending zones” with special vending districts; And

– Enhancing small business support through banking-related training and resources, building credit and implementing cashless and other alternative payment methods.

The full report is available at www.publiccousel.org/stories/?id=0336.

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