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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

County hauls off Echo Park vendor carts

Photo by Echo Park resident

A crew from the Los Angeles County Environmental Health Department hauled off the carts of at least two sidewalk vendors at the corner of Echo Park Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, according to one resident. Health officials occasionally sweep the area for unlicensed vendors. Michael, an Echo Park resident, took the above photo shortly after 12 p.m. as he was headed home. Michael, who did not want his last name published, said:

I didn’t see the fruit vendors, not sure what happened with them. I looked over to see if the orange juice guy was still there, but he wasn’t there either (although he may have left already since this was at noon).

52 comments

  1. They are in front of the Walgreens – that means the pupusa lady! Oh no – they were good! Arf.

  2. So to clarify, the county seized their carts because they don’t have health permits?

    • one would think, but I work with the county public health dept. (subcontractor actually) and the “environmental health” program has nothing to do with health. it’s about promoting quality of life. picking up trash, graffiti abatement, things that cause problems in an urban environment for the citizens. not sure how I feel about fruit vendors being viewed in this light. here’s a link for the program:
      http://ph.lacounty.gov/eh/

  3. Orange juice guy is usually gone before 9 AM.

  4. ….and they don’t any taxes..good to see some proactive decisions being made.

    • and they make a subsistence living, I would think, not enough for much in taxes.

      • People paying mad taxes barely have enough left over for necessities, why should these illegal aliens get a free pass?

        • Cuz they watch you when you sleep.

        • ur grandpapa probly sold mad trinkets in da streets to make a livin…paving the path for u…just sayin

        • Why would you call t hem “illegal aliens”? How do you know their immigration status? Many people make a living selling this stuff; it doesn’t necessarily make them “undocumented.” My grandfather came here during the Mexican Revolution (1910) and never spoke English because he did not need to in the “Ciudad de Los Angeles” that he lived in. You don’t know anything about the community you live in. You must have just moved in from NYC. Learn a little bit.

          • I agree with calling out Randy for assuming too much but Los Angeles was 80% anglo & English speaking in 1910. You’re grandfather most likely lived and worked in an area consisting of mostly Spanish speaking residents. Google: “Sonora Town.”

            I admire the hustle of the people working the food stands and don’t care about their nationalities but they do need to be held to the same standards of all licensed food stands. It’s about public safety.
            Ever had food poisoning? It’s not pretty.

        • Randy, you are making a lot of assumptions…and you know what it means to ASS-u-me.

      • yea good call on the so called “illegal aliens” you have no idea about the people indicted. Your comments really say more about how your racial views than anything. If this was some white kid selling lemonade would you have commented? I doubt it.

        • Really? Are you really saying that it is unlikely that these people are illegals?

          C’mon man.

          but don’t worry, it wont take long for them to steal another shopping cart and set up illegal shop again…

          • They may be illegal immigrants ( although i’m sure not every single street vendor in L.A is here illegally) I’m saying that the judgments in this thread are predicated as much on the latent racism of “other people” as much as anything. Even the term “alien” is racist frankly. Its a term usually reserved for non humans except in this instance.

            There are all kinds of businesses that operate on the fringe. If you’ve ever bought or sold at a garage sale, bake sale, lemonade stand, mowed a lawn, bought or sold something on Craigslist, had a friend pay you to help them on a short project, etc without reporting it then your most likely breaking a law. Many such businesses have been cited and fined. ( Google illegal lemonade stand) BUT in those instances the arguments are the exact opposite people up in arms irate over the fact that their freedoms are being taken away and that the government doesn’t need to regulate every aspect of our economic lives.

            This is reinforced by the way this is handled the city could make the process of subsistence fruit selling extremely easy I mean why not go around with permits and help people voluntarily fill them out that would take even less effort and money than confiscating and storing property and prosecuting people whose main crime is trying to eek out a meager living.

            And yes there should be a difference in regulation of single operator fruit stands that operate an subsistence level and restaurants

          • OK marc,

            As soon as they set up shop in their own front yard and limit their transaction total to the amount of times per year that any of the following activities you listed (lemonade stand/ garage sale/ craigslist transaction etc.) happen, (probably 2 or 3), I’ll give them a pass. Setting up shop on a public sidewalk daily is a no-go for me and everyone else in our society following the rules we’ve set up for our protection. As a matter of relevance, the occasional transactions listed above have been deemed “acceptable” in our society. This is why you don’t hear of people being busted for a garage sale (unless they are deemed nuisance erg. having one every weekend) but you do hear of illegal businesses such as this being shut down.

            This is not about race it’s about following the rules that we’ve set up to have a better society.

          • OK Beanteam,

            First of all your making exceptions based on your own ( white middle class values) and that’s my point. Either its illegal to operate a business without a permit or its not. The fact that your willing to make an exception based on your values because it “occasional” is no different than anyone else making an exception for fruit sellers because “they aren’t hurting anyone” its really just your opinion. And they society your speaking of that deems certain exceptions ok is biased and not likely to favor Mexicans that’s for damn sure and my point anyway.

            The rare times these laws are enforced on your “society” people get pissed off ( again google illegal lemonade stand) so you do hear of such businesses being shut down and fined and when the shoes on the other foot people see it for what it is.

          • First off, I’m not white, I am Mexican/Argentinean. So I’m not sure where I’d get the “white middle class values” you bespeak. Perhaps from my foreign parents that decided to assimilate into the American culture…

            Secondly, you are right on about enforcement being discretionary, but that doesn’t make it racial.

            As I stated, people will enforce the illegal activity that they don’t want to tolerate. Ex.When the a-hole next door has a garage sale every weekend, I’d report him because of the adverse conditions he has created. Not because I don’t like him or because he is a different race than me…

            These stands are becoming a nuisance to people and businesses surrounding where they indiscriminately decide to set up shop. These people have a right to decide to request the law is enforced. I don’t begrudge their ability to make money, but if it interferes with my life and they are clearly breaking the law, I will report it whether you happen to be Mexican, Irish or Martian.

  5. Jezzy H Christy-Christ

    sigh indeed, i was wondering what happened the the fruit dude.
    i usually get some fruit but opted out for a fattening burger and soda, damn you guys for making me fat-ter

  6. They are exercising an unfair advantage over those who play by the rules: permits, taxes, inspections, health and safety codes.

  7. I would bet they pay that steep LA sales tax, so “no taxes” is not quite right. Plus, how much income tax do you think a fruit vendor is going to pay in a progressive tax structure. Um yeah none, even if they were licensed. They would probably only get hit with the federal self employment tax which at a low income level with deductions doesn’t amount to very much.

    • They may pay sales tax when they purchase things, but they are also required to collect it at the time of sale from their customers, which they are not doing… This isn’t the BOE though that went after them, it’s some dept of the city.

      They also don’t pay city business taxes, which in LA are based on GROSS RECEIPTS. Thus if my business collects a million dollars in revenue and has 1.5 million in expenses, meaning I lost 500k, I still pay city business tax! Lovely.

      Maybe they could make a streamlined permit process for “street cart vendors” in la…would that help?

  8. Not my beloved pupusa lady!!!!! Eastsider, please keep us posted on what is happening to these vendors.

  9. note to the county for future reference: if you really want to improve my quality of life, next time you drag out those big trucks pick up some old couches, entertainment centers and broken televisions. that stuff is a hazard; the fruit guys are just local flavor.

  10. The most anyone who is upset will do is leave a comment on this blog. You people don’t really care at all. Your Echo Park activism ends at the tips of your fingertips.

    • Yeah I said tips of your fingertips. I did. So what!

      • KittenFace – How on earth do you imagine to know that?
        If you are really imploring people to do something specific, how about providing a link to some additional info or resource?
        You are no better than those you accuse – leaving chastising, know-it-all comments on a blog without actually saying anything.

        • boombala,
          I’m not imploring or saying anything that I didn’t type out. The carts were taken away and no one really cares. If people care more than a comment on this blog then please speak up and tell us what else you did about to stop this from happening.
          Me for example, I called the health department 3 times, filled out their online petition 3 times, posted links to it and called Garcettis office 5 times to get rid of the “Bellevue Steak House” on Bellevue by the 101 on/off ramp. That is what I did besides leave a comment on this blog. Im not making any claims as to my success or the success of the work outside of this comment section that I did, I’m just stating what I did.

          And why would you say “If you are really imploring people to do something specific, how about providing a link to some additional info or resource?” Where did you get this from my first comment? I did not say that at all.

  11. A very predictable comment string. I believe in entrepreneurship. And I believe that entrepreneurs who follow the law and get permits, pay rent and taxes to open a neighborhood store or sandwich shop just to scrape by (or not) deserve the protection those laws provide from unfair competition.

  12. I can’t believe that there are that many ultra conservative republicans living in Echo Park…

    So then everyone who’s commenting negatively against the Fruit Vendors are either Trolls, or weirdos from Orange County.

    Everyone who actually lives in Echo Park understands that the street vendors are a much appreciated part of the community, who, in the case of the Frutas vendors, provide healthful and cost effective nourishment.

    • Sorry, not from OC nor conservative republican. Actually a business owner who had to spend thousands of dollars to satisfy LA city and county via permits licenses and taxes. Not to mention the cost that comes along with having employees in the state of CA.

      After going through the trauma, a street vendor sets up shop in front of my place. He has no overhead and can sell things cheaper, doesn’t (have to) submit to inspections etc…

      As a society, we must make the decision. Either we ALL submit to the same rules or NONE of us have to.

      It’s not fair and frankly I feel a bit racist to give the “poor immigrant” a pass on following the laws.

      • Street vendors help our economy, encourage people to walk our sidewalks, encourage commerce and nightlife. I don’t see how a fruit stand guy cuts into the businesses he stands near (which are a bank, a dentist, a Walgreens, a taco truck, a couple of restaurants, a liquor store, etc.)

        If you want people to come spend money in your store, you should support as much commerce in our neighborhood as possible.

        • Street vendors do not help our economy. Especially if they are parked outside your front door competing with you with the unfair advantages listed prior.

          I understand that this was not the case here but is what happened to me.

          You either have to allow EVERYONE to compete at this level or NO ONE to do so…

          I would gladly avoid the hurdles required. Unfortunately that’s not allowed.

          Cheers to the dept of Environmental Safety!

  13. I wonder how many of you posters use the friends, siblings and neighbors of the fruit vendors to trim your garden, clean your toilets and watch your children. Guess the rules only apply to you when convenient.

  14. Hv to agree with Huff.

  15. Silver Lake resident

    No!! This is horrible. I love all of these carts. The lady who makes blue corn pupusas is incredible!

    The street vendors add life to Echo Park; without them, the palce feels less like a neighborhood. Seriously bummed this had to happen.

  16. You guys are racist, all of you.

  17. You have to be held to some sort of standard when serving any type of food to the public. That being said I will miss the older man selling the fruit on the corner who always liked to pet my dog when we walk by. I hope to see him back soon.

    • Victoria Harding

      here, here. I do hope he’s back soon! i do miss our neighborhood fruit vendors. I’ve been eating street food since i was a kid and may i have a stomach of steal, but i’ve never gotten sick. My husband did get food poisoning from The Water Grill in downtown…now there’s the rub.

      • Wait, you eat street food your entire life, then one day you go to the Water Grill and your hubby gets food poisoning? Well golly, what are the chances of that? Cause you would think the it would be the other way around, right? Like you should get food poisoning every day from street food and then get extra bonus energy goodness from a fine restaurant like The Water Grill. Because street food is crap and The Water Grill is great, right? By saying you have a stomach of steel you admitting that street food is crap. Damn you Eastsider commenters you have no idea what you are saying! Soilent green is huuuummmaaaannnn!!!!!

  18. SolanoCanyonPop

    Very entertaining comment section.

    I just noticed they were all gone this morning.

    Bummer, they all seemed nice to me!

    But Michael is right. If you are gonna haul eyesores out of the neighborhood, please handle the discarded furniture before you pick on the poor scraping out a living, a-holes!

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