The City Council is moving forward to once again ban unpermitted vendors from city parks after being virtually powerless for years to stop such vending that ranged from swap meets at Echo Park Lake to private yoga classes in the Silver Lake Meadow.
The City Council on Tuesday voted in favor of adopting a ban on the selling of most items and services in city parks and beaches without required permits. The regulations against selling in parks had been frozen for years as the city had to resolve lengthy legal battles over free-speech issues and then re-write ordinances to withstand legal challenges.
While food and merchandise vendors had attracted the most attention and complaints, yoga instructors who were charging fees to hold classes on parkland also were caught up in the issue. Said The L.A. Times:
Backers such as Councilman Joe Buscaino said that the reinstated rules would protect the city from being sued if someone was hurt or sickened by the wares or services sold by unlicensed park vendors. “Say someone gets hurt during an unpermitted yoga class, who would be liable?” Buscaino asked Senior Assistant City Atty. Valerie Flores.
“Arguably, the city could be sued,” Flores said
Many residents and park advocates say the lack of enforcement had allowed vendors to crowd popular parks – such as Echo Park Lake – and operate money-making business – such as yoga classes – on public property. However, many vendors and their supporters argued that banning vendors and then fining them for selling without permits would be an unfair hardship.
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