Sign the petition for the Breed St. food vendors


Notice anything out of the ordinary here? Well if you ate here, you would know that a few hundred people eating some of the greatest soul food around are missing. Over the last few weeks, the vendors at the street food oasis have been getting raided by the police. Normally, they would disappear for a while only to come back in full force as if nothing ever happened, but something did happen. Things got out of control and the oasis got burned, big time. First it was the L.A. Times a few years ago, as Chimatli tells me, and fellow bloggers putting it on blast and telling everyone to go check it out. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but because this was an under the table operation, there was a need for a level of discretion that helped the vendors make a living and kept the cops at bay. That harmony is now gone and so are the vendors.

If you live in Boyle Heights you know that the street vendors are still around, but I’m going to keep it to myself where they are now. However, you can help out the vendors by signing the petition that Councilmember Jose Huizar got started to get an evening farmers market going in lieu of all the vendors setting up at random locations. Personally, the term farmers market is too stiff and boring, this is Boyle Heights. Why not name it “The Boyle Heights Tianguis” ?

Anywho, East Los Angeles Community Housing Corporation is stepping up in helping the vendors organize and be mediators between them and Huizar. They want to set up the farmers mar… I mean Tianguis in a parking lot on Chavez and Chicago. The vendors are getting a lot of negative feed back from the police because they have to allocate services to deal with the vendors rather than doing their jobs. That’s how this petition got started. The vendors need the help of the community and everyone that visited them. The majority of them depended on food sales for their livelihoods and this fiasco is hurting them.

Because this is going to be under Huizar and in part the city, the vendors will have to pay some fees, meet certain levels of hygiene and other requirements that all the vendors said they would be more than happy to comply with if they just got the opportunity to make a living without being harassed by police. This is a win-win situation because the vendors get to sell and we can all go back to enjoying pancakes with cajeta. (Caramel made from goat milk) Complications will arise and things will happen, but with the vendors having a say in all this, rather than just letting Huizar and the city set their rules and standards. This Tianguis is better than nothing.

ELACC appThis is the petition. Janet Favela of ELACC is the one spearheading this and here is her contact information. If anyone wants to help out by getting more petitions signed or they want to turn in their petition in person, call ahead and set up a time with Favela. The more people help the more support the vendors will have when they take this up with the L.A. City Council. Fax, email, snail mail the petitions, whatever works for you.  They have to be turned in by the last week of this month. The last thing I want is for this situation to get as bad as the lunch truck fiasco that Gloria Molina mishandled.

Janet Favela
Community Organizer
East LA Community Corporation
530 S. Boyle Ave.
LA, CA 90033
(323) 269-4214 X. 258
Fax (323) 261-1065

26 thoughts on “Sign the petition for the Breed St. food vendors

  1. I just read the LA Times article on the Breed Street Vendors and this caught my eye:

    “People like the food on the sidewalk in the style that it is sold in Mexico,” he said. “It’s a tradition.”Zuniga, who set up her stand next to Maldonado’s last week to sell quesadillas and tacos several blocks east of Breed Street, said she can’t imagine cooking alongside dozens of other vendors each day instead of in her own kitchen. She worries that it could take years to get the legal hot food market running.”

    As someone who has done sidewalk street vending and looked into becoming “legal” the regulations can be daunting and will cut into the small profits being made. It sucks they are getting harassed by the cops but I kinda think they are better off working outside the system.

  2. wait am i right or wrong but that looks like the parking lot behind the BofA and across from the Big Buy supermarket.

    Damn i remember as a kid getting dragged by my mom when she went to do some of her shopping in that area..back when Cesar Chavez was still called Brooklyn 🙂
    I haven’t been back in over 10 years.
    Im gonna have to take the Gold line EASTSIDE extension and drop by there.

    signed: went from 90063-city terrace to 90640-montebello

  3. This tough situation can be bent to conform more to traditional practice. In the rags district they’re selling legal hot dogs with bacon. They have grills and the toppings, and it looks all legal – probably a lot less profit because of the cost of the cart, but, in the long term, it’s going to be good for the workers and the customers. Cooking on a grill used to be illegal, but it looks like the law’s been changed.

    In the SGV, there was a problem where Chinese markets were illegally selling food that was prepared fresh and sold at room temperature. The law said you had to sell things cold, or sell things hot, so the bacteria would not grow. They eventually got the law changed, by proving that there was no health risk.

    There’s going to have to be a coordinated effort to deal with the current situation.

  4. The apparent downside of officially coordinating street vending are all the b***s*** legal fees the city is going to mandate that drives our beloved vendors away.
    Is all the current media attention to blame? did the official news media pull their sources from local blogs?
    It really sucks that anything good that spreads word of mouth and that brings the community together – without unnecessary tax dollars spent by LA city staff, months of “coordinating” and legal jargon documents – always gets rudely interrupted by self-righteous individuals in self-proclaimed positions of power. What is it with government officials having to control everything? or am I just an naive guppy who’s barely waking up to a reality that’s always been?

  5. Bhhapa, how much do you think each politician rakes in from these fees…fees they’ll never collect anyway, and fees that are only going to hurt them amongst their constituencies (especially Huizar)? You know where politicians make their money. The corporate lobby. I can think of some fast food chains operating on the East Side that will benefit from this crackdown… Unfortunately, I can also think of some mom and pops Mexican restaurants benefiting, too, and that have probably lobbied for this as well. Cash rules everything around us. Anyone losing a buck to these vendors is coming after them, that’s a certainty. The politicians aren’t getting shit out of this aside from future campaign donations from the companies that benefited from this crackdown, unless you want to count the inevitable task of coming up with a political ploy to distract their constituencies from something that’s guaranteed to piss off about 90% of them!

  6. chimatli, i agree that maybe it best that they are best working outside of the system. We can expect the city to regulate vendors just as well as the regulate billboards and medical marijuana, or maybe just as well as Gloria Molina did.

    And just like rob thomas said the community maybe more divided on the issue. Local business are usually the ones who complain against vendors because the they do take away business from local restaurants, franchises as well as independent businesses. Some local residents are happy that they are cracking down on them. So ur not going to find a united Boyle Heights on this issue. I think we can all say that we like food vendors, but not everyone would say that they like them next to their house or on their street.

    Some how i doubt that u’ll see what u saw in Xochimilco most vendors are driven to sell food cause they cant get a better job due to their status in the country. SO they also wont want to attract to much attention, especially from the police, cause the last thing some of them can afford to legal trouble.

  7. The Street Vending Motion will be presented at the next Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council General Meeting. Please come, support and share your thoughts.

    Thank you

    Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council General Board Meeting
    Thursday, November 19, 2009
    6:15 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
    Aliso Pico Recreation Center
    370 South Clarence Street., Los Angeles, CA 90033

  8. Due to the collision of gentrification and poverty, combined with desperation and the entrepreneurial attitude, this issue is going to have to be resolved. There’s no way to avoid politics.

    One way around the problem of politicians is to establish street vending as a right.

    By defining something as a right, it depoliticizes it – you don’t need the favor of a politician to assert and exercise your right.

    Restaurants and businesses get involved in politics, in a big way, because they need land to operate. Land use is organized into zones, and land or organized by zones. Municipal-level politicians influence zoning.

    Mobile vendors don’t need to worry so much about zones.

    Mobile vendors need to worry about the permission to vend. If street vending is legalized, the main risk is that competition will bloom, causing profit margins to shrink to nothing, and street vending will become unprofitable. This will lead to “sharecropping” situations where impoverished vendors go into debt to do business.

    The normal way to regulate this problem is to restrict the competition. For example, taxi drivers in NYC have a medallion that grants the bearer the right to be a taxi. This prevents excessive competition that would drop wages.

    Once that happens, the politician becomes a mediator between the vendors and restaurants, who always want fewer medallions, and the people, who want more medallions.

    It preserves the culture of unlicensed street vending, too, because some will refuse to pay for the medallion.

    That’s my idea. What do people think?

  9. I think those are some good ideas alienation!
    I don’t expect street vendors to go the way of rioting Xochimilco ambulantes but hey, it’s an age old tactic that’s worked throughout history. 😉
    I was thinking the other day how Korean restaurateurs were able to change the laws in the city so that Soju could be sold without a liquor license. The reason being it is part of a traditional Korean ceremony and has a cultural importance. Maybe Mexican food vendors can work that angle somehow? Not that they have the influence of Korean-American businessman but maybe they could someday…

  10. Some of those ideas were born of a conversation I had with someone involved with the taxicab organization. The street vendors may want to make some connections through the UCLA labor center, who I suspect may be supportive.

  11. That would be so cool, imagine a tianguis full of loncheras serving all night long. They should use the station on soto and 1st. its so lonely at night. I also know of a few more spots to get tacos and even birria at night, but I aint anymore lol.
    The police shouldn’t complaint, they don’t do shit as is, maybe this would keep them busy.

    can you fill it our if you are not a resident of boyle heights?

  12. the city has yet to start the pilot program. though drive around the area, u’ll find them.

  13. The vendors tried to jump me once. I’m old movimiento. This is my suggestion. MTa destroyed many landmarks in Boyle Heights. Lets take over the land that the razed on Brooklyn Avenue and Soto Street all around the King Taco. Lets turn in it into a community garden and park. It would be a great place for the vendors to set up. At the same time lets educate them on proper food handling and salubridad. Teach them to stop using saturated fat, and cut down on the amounts of corn dough that is helping with the hight diabetic problem in our community. The other thing they can stop using manteca in preparing the masa for the tamales. The man that sets up a table with a lot of aguas dulces could reconsider using sweeteners other than sugar.
    I am all for La Raza, but there are a lot of cabrones vividores, we have to weed them out. What is the use of helping them if they are not willing to make an effort to help improve our community.

  14. Eastsideboulevard,

    What do you mean by “weed them out”? Sounds barbaric.

  15. What do you mean by “weed them out”? Sounds barbaric.

    Rob’s right. ESB maybe should have said “surgically extracted”?

  16. To weed out means to eliminate, does it not? To pull out and throw away. That sounds like a pretty harsh solution for food vendors. At the very minimal it sounds angry. Is he that angry at food vendors? Out of all of the villains in this economic crisis? Food vendors? Either he conveniently blames the poorest in society because they’re easier targets, or he must have gotten one really bad churro one time. You know, they are supposed to be eaten in moderation. Wonder if he knew that?

  17. I’m pretty sure from reading ESB’s comment he was railing more against the unhealthy ingredients in the foods distributed by uninformed vendors than the vendors themselves, and he may have villified these “cabrones vivadores” more for their ignorance of healthy eating habits than the fact they’re making a living under the radar. As usual your criticism is off the rail.

  18. Sabes que Rob Thomas? Who made you so perfect? Weed them out means what it means. When you see weeds on your lawn you go and pluck them out, you don’t remove the whole lawn. Vividores means leeches, people who take advantage of other people. You have to watch out for those.
    If you are going to fight for something make sure it is the right thing. If we are to support these vendors, lets make sure that the rest of the community benefits as well. If we are to find a place for these vendors, lets make sure they don’t poison the community. Si no sabes español entoces preguntale a alguien

  19. Eastsideboulevard
    June 13th, 2010 | 3:48 pm

    Sabes que Rob Thomas? Who made you so perfect?


    Who made YOU so perfect as to give you the high ground to call for people being weeded out, so to speak, just for selling food? And you still haven’t defined what you mean by weeded out. You only defined the proper definition of the term. What do you mean by weeding out the vendors? Doing what with them, specifically? Because, again, it sounds barbaric.

  20. What are the legal restrictions of trying to start a legal “hot food market?” like could I lease an empty lot, organize tons of vendors, and charge them for a spot? In the middle I’d put some tables, chairs, a tent, trash cans, play some music, have some cleaning staff, etc.? Or are there too many legal implications at play here? If anyone knows please e-mail me !! I am pretty serious about this idea..

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