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Mission District street vendor ban in leaves sellers looking for solutions

Sellers as SF supervisor for solutions as Mission District street vendor ban begins
Sellers ask SF supervisor for solutions as Mission District street vendor ban begins 03:28

As a new 90-day ban on street vendors selling merchandise on Mission Street took effect Monday morning, vendors were struggling to figure out where they would be able to sell their wares.  

Miriam Huerta was just one vendor who was unable to work Monday.

When asked what happened when she arrived that morning, Huerta said, "I didn't know. I wasn't very sure, but they told me that we couldn't be here anymore." 

Huerta, who usually can be found selling radios on Mission Street, expressing her uncertainty amidst the ban.  

She joined a protest organized by vendors seeking answers about the ban from Supervisor Hillary Ronen. She addressed the root of the issue regarding the vending situation.

"The problem with the vending situation on Mission Street is not these people behind me. They're phenomenal people. The problem is that there's another element that has taken over the streets of the Mission that are stealing and selling stolen goods. It's a huge fencing operation," explained Ronen.

READ MOREMission District street vendors push back against proposed ban

To offer alternative spaces, two locations have been arranged for vendors by the city. The larger space is the indoor storefront El Tiangue located at 2137 Mission Street. It is providing around 40 vendor spots along with security and facilities. There are also additional vending spaces to accommodate up to nine vendors in a parking lot at 24th and Capp streets.

Huerta went to El Tiangue, where workers explained the application process to sell at the new location. Requirements include providing business registration and a seller's permit.

Gloria Peralta, a street vendor with 25 years of experience, expressed her thoughts on the space allocated. 

"Here in this space, I would put the table on this side, and here my chair, but it would be placed close to the other stand," said Peralta. However, she also said she thinks the space to be too small and far removed from the street.

Vendors have been asking for the ban delay to be delayed January so they would be able to operate during the busy holiday shopping season. They were met with a refusal from Supervisor Ronen, who emphasized her role and limitations in this citywide operation.

"This is a big city operation, you guys. I'm one person," said Ronan. I have taken responsibility for this because I am the supervisor of the district. I don't run the city departments. The mayor and the department heads run the city departments. I am taking stand on this, but I'm not in control of all of it, as much as I wish I were."

As the ban enforcement began, vendors like Huerta and Peralta waited at the provided locations, hopeful they could soon resume their vending activities in the available spaces and avoid the implications of non-compliance.

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