LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A street vendor crackdown in Los Angeles' MacArthur Park led to the confiscation of supplies by the Department of Public Health, which reportedly cited health concerns.
The raid on street vendors occurred Sunday and was captured on cellphone video, which showed health officials seizing the vendors' inventory, carts and utensils.
As CBS2's Cristy Fajardo reports, the raid occurred as some city groups and leaders push for the legalization of street vending.
"These are people that are not stealing, that are not robbing anybody or selling drugs. These are people that are trying to provide for their families," said Carlos Marroquin, an activist, who filmed the raid.
The Department of Public Health did not return calls or repeated emails from CBS2 requesting comment.
However, as Fajardo reports, street vending (food or otherwise) is illegal in the city of Los Angeles. Fajardo says it's the only outright ban among the 10 largest cities in the U.S.
"They should legalize it," said one street vendor in Spanish, who sells hot dogs on a corner to support her family.
She insists she wants to follow the health and safety codes and get a permit to avoid the raids and citations but as the law stands now, that's not a possibility.
Similarly, several lawmakers would like to see some street vending legalized and special zones created for the estimated 50,000 street peddlers in L.A., 10,000 of which are food vendors.
But a proposal to establish such a framework has been delayed as various departments weigh in and neighborhood groups express concern that doing so could increase noise and draw customers away from other businesses.
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