Part of the fabric of Los Angeles, equal in some regards but in others even more essential than the mighty taco truck, are our street food vendors. With products ranging from bacon-wrapped hot dogs to grilled chicken to fresh-cut fruit and juices, these hard working entrepreneurs serve a huge number of people every day in the city of Los Angeles. By and large, they do so on the fringes of legality. In fact, it’s illegal even if the vendor has paid the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health for official street vending permits and the vendor’s cart is able to pass a sanitation inspection. Subsequently, street vendors are vulnerable to police and inspector harassment, intimidation, and loss of property.

KCRW, which also has a number of good photographs of vendors in the city, reports that the

That situation has gotten so intolerable for street food vendors that many are organizing themselves with the help of the East Los Angeles Community Corporation, a non-profit community development organization. In a series of evening town halls held across the city, vendors are coming together to voice their complaint and develop a strategy to get City Hall to overturn the city’s street vending ban.

The ELCC has launched a petition which you can sign here. It reads, in part:

Street vending in Los Angeles is part of the history, culture, and economy of our city. Estimates show that there are over 10,000 street vendors in our communities. Food vending offers employment and opportunities for business ownership for thousands of entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs have been struggling for decades as they experience discrimination, attacks on their livelihood, excessive fines, and even arrests. Our city currently criminalizes sidewalk vendors. We believe that these laws are negatively impacting vendors, community members, and the overall L.A. economy.

Photo by the great Waltarrrr.