To the dismay of Latino street vendors seeking permission to sell to apartment tenants in Anaheim, the City Council on Tuesday postponed a decision for at least three weeks.
The delay means the vendors will continue to be banned from the most lucrative areas for selling their fresh produce, ice cream and other goods.
"What do they think, that we eat . . . air?" Pedro Vazquez, an ice cream vendor, said. "We're being ignored. They're not listening to us the way they should."
Council members on Tuesday asked John Poole, who heads the city's code enforcement department, to return with recommendations in three weeks.
Poole's office initiated a crackdown last December under a 1926 ordinance that forbids street vendors in business districts, including apartment areas.
"We have to work. We no longer have the economic resources," said Inez Velazquez, who with her husband, Jose Luis Bucio, owns and operates two ice cream trucks. The Anaheim couple said they have exhausted their savings.
Robert Nava, who works for the Orange County Human Relations Commission and served as translator for the Spanish-speaking vendors, called the delay unreasonable, because the city's code enforcement office had been working with the group since December. A report should have been ready by Tuesday's meeting, he said.
Poole said his staff needs to review aws that other Orange County cities to regulate vendors. If in three weeks a public hearing is set, no decision would be made for at least one additional week so that residents of the affected areas could be notified, Poole said.
"Something like this can't happen overnight. There has to be input from the people it affects, too," Poole said.
Those affected include Frank Morales, director of the Neighborhood Improvement Program of Anaheim in the Patrick Henry neighborhood. In a letter to the council, Morales listed the same complaints that prompted the city to crack down on the vendors: noise, litter and traffic congestion.