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Police to enforce street vending laws in Gaslamp, coastal areas soon to be regulated

San Diego police are going to start enforcing the city’s street vending law in some areas this weekend. KPBS reporter Jacob Aere tells us why and what’s next.<br/>

Since June, San Diego passed a law against street vending in high-traffic areas like Balboa Park and the Gaslamp Quarter, but enforcement has been a mixed bag throughout the city.

Park rangers and the city's code enforcement officers had been in charge of enforcement.

The Gaslamp Quarter Association’s Michael Trimble said it hasn't worked in his district, so the police got involved two weeks ago.

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“The police have been making communication and making contact with each of these vendors letting them know there’s no vending in the neighborhood," he said.

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Jacob Aere
Anthony, a street vendor, sits at his food and toy booth near the Broadway Pier, Nov. 30, 2022.

Trimble said many of the dozens of Gaslamp street vendors have numerous health and safety violations on their carts. He said that has led to some catching on fire. And some vendors say they're being intimidated by other vendors.

Felipe Rocha is a San Diegan who runs a hot dog cart at the Broadway Pier. He said he’s purposely avoided the Gaslamp, “Because there are many people who are not from here. They come from Los Angeles, they scare you, they tell you that they are going to charge you a certain percent for your place for selling your hot dogs,” he told KPBS in Spanish.

Trimble said this weekend, police officers will begin further enforcement against illegal street vendors in the Gaslamp.

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“And enforcement means, you know, whether it be tickets, citations or whatnot. It really depends on what the police feel is acceptable at the moment,” Trimble said.

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Jacob Aere
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KPBS
Felipe Rocha talks to a customer at his hot dog stand near the Broadway Pier, Nov. 30, 2022.

In a written statement, a City of San Diego spokesperson said:

“The City is evaluating sidewalk vending enforcement procedures following recent violent incidents involving sidewalk vendors in the Gaslamp area, where sidewalk vending is not allowed. Currently, officers from the San Diego Police Department are providing education of the Sidewalk Vending Ordinance in the downtown area.”

Outside of the Gaslamp, enforcement from park rangers and code enforcement officials will soon include beach and other coastal areas. That will happen after an amended version of the vendor law takes effect early next year.

Rocha said he’s not sure what to do. He said he might look for a job at a restaurant, because he has a family to take care of. “If my livelihood is taken away tomorrow, what am I going to do?” the hot dog vendor said in Spanish.

Police to enforce street vending laws in Gaslamp, coastal areas soon to be regulated

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