Councilmember Nithya Raman Introduces Motion to Reduce Vending Permit Fees

For Immediate Release: June 16, 2022

COUNCILMEMBERS RAMAN AND PRICE INTRODUCE MOTION TO EXPLORE EXTENDING REDUCED PERMIT FEES FOR STREET VENDORS

LOS ANGELES -- Yesterday, Councilmembers Nithya Raman and Curren Price co-presented a motion to explore extending reduced permit fees for street vendors – currently set to expire on July 1, 2022 – for an additional year. The motion further asks the City Administrative Officer to conduct a new fee study to determine the appropriate annual sidewalk and park vending fee, that does not include enforcement of permitted sidewalk activities in the assessment, and which 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 SB972. However, the financial costs alone are often enough to prevent vendors from operating legally,” said Councilmember Raman. “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 of 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 reduced cost fee is set to expire on July 1, 2022, at which time the normal $541 fee will resume. This 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," said Councilmember Curren Price. "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.”

"Street vendors continue to be left out of our systems - the City of LA street vendor program was introduced at the beginning of 2020, 3 months before the pandemic. They, like all small businesses, were deeply impacted by a decline in sales,” stated Lyric Kelkar, Policy Director at Inclusive Action for the City. “Affordable permits are a vital part of ensuring they are included as we shift gears in this next phase of the pandemic."

The motion presented by Raman and Price instructs the City Administrative Officer (CAO) to conduct a new fee study that takes into account the average income of street vendors and ensures vendors are not responsible for paying the costs of the City’s permitted sidewalk activity enforcement. Additionally, the motion instructs Streets LA, with the assistance of the CAO, the 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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