Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nithya Raman, 4th District, and Councilman Curren Price, 9th District, on June 15 co-presented a motion to explore extending reduced permit fees for street vendors – currently set to expire on July 1 – for an additional year.
The motion further asks the city administrative officer to conduct a new fee study to determine an appropriate annual sidewalk and park vending fee – one that does not include enforcement of permitted sidewalk activities in the assessment and takes into account the average annual income of street vendors.
“We’ve taken major steps to bring street vendors into the formal economy by removing barriers to obtaining permits, particularly with the recent passage of [Senate Bill] 972. However, the financial costs alone are often enough to prevent vendors from operating legally,” Raman said. “We also need to recognize that our current economic climate is drastically different from that of 2018, when the city first adopted the sidewalk vending ordinance. After two years of economic upheaval, we need to adjust the costs associated with street vending to meet people where they are – too many livelihoods are on the line.”
In September 2020, the city implemented a reduced cost permit fee of $291 in response to the economic impacts the COVID-19 pandemic had on street vendors. The normal $541 fee will resume if an extension is not approved. The increased fee will create a further financial burden for vendors whose average income is approximately $11,300 a year, according to a report by the Economic Roundtable.
“We worked so hard to bring our sidewalk vendors out of the shadows only to have the pandemic pose a new threat to their livelihoods,” Price said. “Today’s effort is yet another way we here at the city level are supporting people of color, including our undocumented workers, women and the elderly, giving them the respect they deserve along with a fighting chance to provide for their families during this time of uncertainty.”
In addition, the motion instructs Streets LA, with the assistance of the CAO, the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks and the Economic and Workforce Development Department, to report back in 60 days on financial assistance programs and the feasibility of creating a payment installment plan.
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