Street vendors won a temporary victory Monday when a judge prohibited the city from enforcing an ordinance restricting their operations.
The temporary restraining order bars city officials from ticketing produce and ice cream vendors who play recorded music to attract customers.
A group of 17 family businesses, called Union de Comerciantes Latinos del Sur de California, say the city is trying to regulate them out of business. Lawyer Salvador Sarmiento claimed that the ordinance is vague and unconstitutionally violates the vendors' free-speech rights. Superior Court Commissioner Eleanor M. Palk blocked enforcement until a full hearing, scheduled for March 26.
"We stop on the street and play music for a couple minutes to attract customers," said Pedro Vasquez, head of the vendors' group. "We never play it if it's not safe," Vasquez said.
The City Council acted after the vendors filed a legal challenge to an earlier ordinance, which city officials eventually concluded was illegal.
A lawyer for the city said it has attempted to ban amplified music because of complaints from residents.