Two ordinances that would severely restrict street vending and begging are scheduled to be considered today by the Anaheim City Council.
Vendors would be forced under the proposed ordinance to move their trucks every 10 minutes instead of every hour, close down by 8 p.m. instead of 9 p.m., limit the size of their unloaded trucks to 6,000 pounds, and pay a licensing fee of $325, up from $175.
Beggars would be prohibited from being "aggressive," which the ordinance defines as threatening bodily harm, blocking a person's path or continuing to pester someone after being told no. The ordinance also forbids beggars from washing someone's car windshield without permission.
Street vending and begging have both been targeted by vocal groups of residents who claim the practices bring blight to the city and decrease property values. The vendors--who sell everything from groceries to cigarettes to furniture from the back of parked trucks--have said they are small entrepreneurs who are just trying to make a living. Most beggars have said they would prefer to be working but, for one reason or another, have been unable to hold jobs.
City Atty. Jack L. White said the proposed vending ordinance's shorter parking limits will make it easier to enforce. Code enforcement officers have complained it is too time consuming to track the city's approximately 150 vending trucks to make sure each moves every hour. Violating the ordinance would be an infraction punishable by a $37 fine.
The council voted last year to ban vending in residential neighborhoods. But the vendors took the city to court and earlier this year the state 4th District Court of Appeal sided with them, blocking the city's ordinance. The appellate court ruled it violated state laws and discriminated against the street vendors, who are almost all Latino. The court said there is a history in this county of entrepreneurs who have created substantial businesses from modest, pushcart beginnings.
The panhandling ordinance would allow someone to ask for money--federal courts have ruled that is protected by the First Amendment's free speech clause--but only in a non-threatening manner and would require them to retreat after being refused. Violators would be fined $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense within one year and $500 for subsequent offenses.
Last summer, Maggie Gonzalez, a retired nurse, asked the council to require beggars to purchase business licenses and wear photo identification, drawing nationwide media attention. The council declined after White said the proposal would likely be unconstitutional.
The council meeting begins at 5 p.m. at City Hall, 200 S. Anaheim Blvd.