Thursday, August 9, 2007

Illegal Vending Allowed To Spread Throughout Los Angeles Under Villaraigosa: A threat to safety and economy other U.S. Mayors wouldn't allow

Illegal Vending: A safety and economic threat Villaraigosa is allowing in a U.S. marketplace.
Now that street vendors are popping up in greater numbers and in new areas throughout the Streets of Los Angeles; what impact will this have on the Los Angeles business, safety and health?

If you take a look around the City, you may notice a new wave of underground economy taking to the streets of Los Angeles: Street vending. It’s a lot of fun…like the world’s biggest flea market, each and every day, right there with no frills, no overhead and no safety or accountability.

All at a time when business owners are hit with skyrocketing operating expenses, in a recession-teetering economy, where restaurant and retail owners have to compete with the mega-centers on one end, and business owners in Los Angeles must also compete with anyone in the world who wants to come to America and set up shop, anywhere on the sidewalk, and sell anything you want, like food or illegally pirated and bootlegged merchandise flown in from overseas by terrorists or whoever decides they want to make beau coup dollars illegally while, undermining the U.S. economy.

And these business owners not only face higher operating expenses on the job, among the new illegal flank attack on the tax revenue generating business, products and services that drive this city and its economy; but when they get home they have to pay their bulky item fee, solid waste fee, trash collection fee, higher gas taxes, and all the other homeowner related increases and innovations of “personal wealth reduction management” that the City, County and State politicians are so good at.

Under Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the city has seen a widespread increase in the number of vendors on the streets and where you are seeing them. In Chinatown, I asked the grocery market owner if the person with the fruit stand in front of his door was part of his store? (It looked like an outdoor display that stores set-up to try to entice customers.)

The store owner shook his head and said, “No”. It’s just something you have to live with I guess. Since the illegal fruit vendor was all set up and cutting off business at the pass.

East L.A., Downtown, South L.A.: On Crenshaw Blvd it looks like a giant flea market, right there on the street, selling any type of bootleg/pirated merchandise, while undercutting the stores they are set up in front of.

And we all know about the Venice Beach vending struggle between the beach vendors and the City of Los Angeles who has banned some first amendment protect items and is being worked out in Federal Court as we speak.

However, the vending mentioned in this article is not that kind of vending. At Venice, the vendors paid a fee, were issued licenses and the area is zones for beach side vending in the painted spaces.

However, I started to notice the previous lower economic area “illegal vending” dispersing to areas I was not used to seeing. For example Venice Beach boardwalk itself. Now I’ve seen a lot of different and unique things sold on the boardwalk.

But one thing that is certainly not allowed to be sold is food. So after fighting for the right to put first amendment items back on the beach, like the tshirts, incense and jewelry people were prevented from selling by police, and after others received tickets and jail time for vending items only to be told by a Federal judge that the City was wrong in the first place, imagine how I felt when I see people cutting up fruit and selling it on the boardwalk?

EXCUSE ME? WHERE’S THE ENFORCEMENT? Can’t sell incense or a t shirt, but FOOD is O.K., right there on the sandy beach boardwalk?

Homie don’t play that. Hey Villaraigosa: Get those f*cking fruit vendors off the beach! What the hell is wrong with you? You arrest people for selling an incense or zuma dogg tshirt, but you will allow anyone to sell food, which opens up some health and safety issues, since I didn’t see the health code rating or any permits on the dirty beach where she was cutting up fruit over the garbage can.

But what triggered this article and outrage over Villaraigosa’s hypocrisy that prevented me and my friends from selling on Venice Beach, after the city sold us permits, while letting every illegal immigrant do whatever they want, wherever they want anywhere across the city occurred today: As I walked through the same parking lot I’ve walked through every morning, in the Venice area, I noticed one of those food trucks you are used to seeing on Hollywood movie shoots. You know, the roach coaches.

As I get closer, although there are people in the lot, it didn’t really look like a movie set, just a roach coach parked in the middle of the parking lot with a bunch of people waiting for the food. There was a cashier with a little table set up in the parking lot.

So I ask the cashier, “Is this private, or for anyone?” She replied, “For Anyone, what would you like?”

Well although I was hungry, I kinda lost my appetite, because I was stressed out over a few things. What if someone has an accident while working on the food truck, or one of the customers has an accident? As the property owner, I wouldn’t be too happy if there was an accident involving people running a food service operation in my parking lot. It is a parking lot, what if a car hits someone while they are patronizing the “establishment”. (Well, it’s not exactly an establishment, though. It’s not established. It just pulls up for the money, then pulls away afterward.)

That’s why we don’t operate businesses in parking lots. It’s a safety hazard. The flies on the plate sitting on the table in front of the cashier were free of charge.
And what effect is this going to have on the economy. The donut shop, convenience fooed market, Chinese fast food restaurant, burger shop, even gas station snack food sales will all take a hit as a result of the underground economy that will undermine any serious attempt to revitalize the City.

HEY ANTONIO: Are you anything BUT a hypocrite? I see no evidence of anything else. But let me tell you this, my friend. You are mayor in a city that is located in the United States of America. And it appears, if you look around the city, you need to be reminded of that.

Now ZD is a passionate pragmatist, so let me say, if you are talking about having a food truck show up at a construction site, where you have a bunch of workers, a little too far from the nearest food outlet, who need fast service during lunch hours and doesn’t have time to walk back and forth, well, I’m o.k. with that!

But not right on the sidewalk in front of the doors and parking lots of the retail outlets the city is taxing and fee hiking in the face of increased competition not only from the mega-stores, but now from anyone who feels like doing whatever they want, wherever they want. Unless it’s on Venice Beach. Then you will be ticketed and sent to jail.


Even though it won’t be for much longer!

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