In recent years, people who hawked ice cream or hot dogs, taught yoga or shilled other goods and services in Los Angeles parks were effectively in the clear.
Selling their wares on city sidewalks was banned. But the city had suspended similar rules prohibiting vending in parks and beaches when the issue became entangled in two lawsuits.
Now those legal battles are over and L.A. lawmakers are poised to punish unpermitted park and beach vending once again. The City Council voted Tuesday to draw up a fresh set of rules, imposing escalating fines and even misdemeanor charges against vendors who ply their trade at parks and beaches without getting city permission.
The decision amplified the enduring debate over the virtues and problems of street vending in Los Angeles. This time around, the debate pitted those who see mobile vending as an economic lifeline vital to a diverse and thriving metropolis against others worried about the commercialization of green space and the legal risk for the city in allowing unlicensed enterprise.
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