LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles is one of the few major cities that bans street vending, but that can soon change.
The legalization of street vending was a four-year battle leading up to Wednesday, and hundreds of people showed up in hopes of hearing the news. Unfortunately, the meeting attendees did not get their answer. The City Council committees will decide at a later date whether they will approve a permit system for vendors to legally be in business.
Tens of thousands of street vendors across L.A. are operating illegally, and until earlier this year, vendors faced criminal penalties. Now they are just cited, but multiple offenses could still result in a misdemeanor.
"So today is a very important opportunity to show the world that L.A. is committed to inclusion, racial equity and economic opportunity for everyone," said attorney Doug Smith.
It's a divisive issue for the City Council and its committees. There's concern of vendors operating without a license, selling counterfeit products and overcrowding sidewalks, just to name a few.
The proposed permit process isn't perfect. In fact, some vendors are concerned it's too regulated, but it'll ease fears of ticketing if it's passed.
"Street vendors already contribute to the city of Los Angeles, and with this permitting process and legalizing street vending, it just allows so many more families to be able to have their livelihood without having fear," said Isela Grecian, of the East L.A. Community Corporation.
The City Council did not say when they will make their final decision.