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Letters: Legalizing street vendors

November 10, 2013

Re "Legalize the street vendors," Editorial, Nov. 8

I managed the oversight and operation of the MacArthur Park vending district, L.A.'s last attempt at legal street vending. It was funded by federal grants and was supposed to become self-sufficient. It never got close. The health and safety issues that you raise are very valid. It would take just one instance of food contamination to ruin an entire program.

The main problem with the MacArthur Park program was that the illegal vendors ran rings around the legal ones; you can't compete when you have to follow the rules that others don't. That will be a hurdle to overcome in any new program.

A citywide program will require numerous city and county staff to oversee. If fees and taxes are enough to cover it, all is well. I am very skeptical, however.

Carolyn Weiss



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