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San Bernardino County officials okay $9.8 billion budget that has program aimed at cracking down on street vending

San Bernardino County officials adopt new budget with plan to crack down on street vendors
San Bernardino County officials adopt new budget with plan to crack down on street vendors 02:28

Street vendors and community activists aplenty were on hand for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors budget meeting on Tuesday evening in which a $9.8 billion budget was approved. 

Part of that proposal was a $480,000 designation to fund a program aimed at cracking down on illegal street vending within county limits.

"I think this proposal is going to contribute to more poverty in San Bernardino," said one street vendor while speaking during the public comment portion of Tuesday night's meeting. 

Organizers say that they don't really believe the county when they say the money is being used to add more jobs to an already existing program that works collaboratively with street vendors. 

"It's and understatement to say that we're severely disappointed in them for having elected to ignore their constituents," said Bryan Sanchez, lead organizers with the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice. "We at the ICFIJ recognize that this would just open the doors for the county to return to its former aggressive tactics against street vendors."

Instead, vendors say that the nearly $500,000 can be used to help create an education department that helps bring their small businesses into compliance with county law. 

In March, a group of street vendors who were previously kicked out of Muscoy banded together to create the La Quinta Food Market, their own street vendor-led and supervised market. 

But in order for more people to do so, vendors say that cities and counties should work to get on the same page when it comes to street vending, because when they're not it creates confusion. 

Activists are hopeful that instead, they can create a more community-centered approach to making sure they can keep their livelihood. 

"Where street vendors can take care of their entrepreneurship goals and take care of their families without the fear of repercussion by the county," one activist said. 

County officials say that this portion of the budget will allow public health workers to educate and assist street vendors on the weekends and that public health doesn't have the legal authority to issue citations or confiscate their equipment. 

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