Orange County environmental health workers shut down at least five street vendors in Fullerton last night. They forced at least one taco stand to throw away food and confiscated their kitchen equipment.
The county launched the code enforcement operation after receiving requests from the city.
"They just said I had to go through the right channels and I had to get the right permits," said street vendor Peter Quezada. "I did try that, you know, I spent two years."
Quezada owns Baja Street Tacos, one of the small businesses removed from the sidewalk on Placentia Avenue. He said that a new state law aimed at streamlining the permitting process for street vendors went into effect this year, and yet some cities still make vendors meet so many unrealistic requirements.
They said the high threshold forces them to operate without permits to feed their families.
"It's a revolving door where they give specific requirements and those requirements can only be met through a food truck," said Quezada.
Most vendors cannot afford to buy a food truck. Fullerton's Mayor Fred Jung responded to these claims by saying that street vendors only need to obtain two permits: one from the city and one from the county's health department. He said information and instructional videos have been posted to a dedicated website for street vendors.
He added that the city has received several complaints from residents regarding street vendors taking over sidewalks and encroaching on public right of way.
They said it's hard for strollers or wheelchairs to pass. Quezada said he understood the concerns but believed the people complaining don't want to see vendors.
"Just did not like street vendors and I was told, of course, from a very good source from the department," he said.
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