A revised ordinance that would ban pushcart vendors from public sidewalks was introduced Tuesday at the Glendale City Council amid debate over free enterprise and the merits of a hot-dog lunch. The measure appears headed for 3-2 approval next week.
The ordinance would prohibit the sale of anything on public property from vehicles that are not motorized or not licensed for street use. It is aimed at hot-dog vendors who recently began to appear around Glendale, sparking complaints from restaurateurs about unfair competition.
Councilmen John Day and Carl Raggio spoke against the proposed regulations. But they appear to be outnumbered by Mayor Jerold Milner and council members Ginger Bremberg and Larry Zarian, all of whom said they would vote for the ban next week.
"I'm not aware of anything that has happened from a health or safety standpoint that merits us taking this drastic step," Day said. "It just seems to me that we are overreacting. We are taking a basic right away from people."
Zarian, however, said he has seen hot-dog vendors dumping water and relish on sidewalks. He and the other supporters of the ordinance said they feared that city thoroughfares would become clogged with pushcarts and peddlers who pay no taxes to the city and compete with established businesses that pay sales taxes and have high overhead.
The sidewalk vendors, Bremberg said, "contribute nothing to the security or well-being of the community."
The ordinance would allow pushcarts on private property, such as the outdoor plaza of an office building, if the vendor obtains a city permit. It would also continue to allow door-to-door peddling as long as the peddler does not stop to sell merchandise on the street.
There is disagreement about the number of street vendors in Glendale. City officials said the number increased from a handful to more than 40 last year, partly in response to more restrictive laws in nearby communities. But Jerry Berman of Sepulveda, who has sold hot dogs from a cart in Glendale for 18 months, told the council Tuesday that there are only seven now.
Berman said he might be forced to go on welfare if he loses his spot on Brand Boulevard in front of a Security Pacific Bank building. In addition, he said, the ordinance would deny people the chance for a quick and inexpensive lunch.
Permits Expire July 1
But Zarian told Berman that he should ask the bank's permission to move his pushcart onto the bank's plaza.
If the ordinance is passed, pushcart vendors with permits will be able to operate on Glendale public streets until those permits expire July 1.
Another version of the measure was considered last month but was sent back for revisions after complaints from owners of motorized catering trucks.
In its original form, the ordinance would have prevented such lunch trucks from stopping in any location for more than 10 minutes. As revised, the regulation would allow longer stops if requested in the application for a license and if the city clerk agrees there is a good reason.
"We had a situation where catering trucks at a construction site could not meet a 10-minute limit," City Manager James Rez said. "The amendment allows for a flexible time limit."