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City Cracking Down on Selling Cheap Stuff on the Streets

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The New York Times checks in on our fair city's efforts to crack down on illegal street vending, focusing on the hopping sidewalks of Westlake and Venice. A new ordinance for Venice, passed in December, goes into effect January 20--it allows the sale of free speech materials or art that a vendor has created, but not junk like t-shirts or incense. Westside Councilmember Bill Rosendahl told the Times he's convinced the new ordinance will stand up to court challenges; he also had some strong words about some of the vendors: "People come here from all over the planet, and they were just taking over with junk and cheap trinkets... the history here is of free speech, not selling all kinds of nonsense." Meanwhile, in Westlake, Councilmember Ed Reyes is concerned about the proliferation of vendors along Alvarado St. The city's put up signs saying that "street and sidewalk sales of goods are prohibited," with warnings of jail time or fines. Reyes has used federal grand money to help create "a new city-sponsored weekend market, which requires vendors to undergo training and licensing. The plan has met with some trepidation: only 80 sellers have signed up for 120 spots." Permits cost about $500. Vendors say (or demonstrate to NYT reporters) that they'll just hide their wares when the LAPD swings by and set back up after the cops turn the corner.
· LA Cracks Down on Street Vendors [NY Times]
· What You Can and Can't Buy on Venice Beach? [Curbed LA]