Council Delays Action Against Street Vendors

The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to delay action on a proposal that would give police the authority to dispose of the food and wares sold by illegal street vendors.

Councilman Ernani Bernardi introduced the proposal in response to complaints in his district about street vendors. But his colleagues voted to refer the plan to a council committee for more study. The city attorney's office has raised questions about the legality of Bernardi's proposal.

Bernardi has proposed that police be allowed to confiscate and dispose of the merchandise of illegal street vendors upon their arrests and before they are convicted of any wrongdoing.

That would spare the Police Department from procedures that now require them to inventory and store seized food and other goods for possible return to the owners, Bernardi said. Freed from such procedures, the police would be more willing to arrest illegal vendors, the north San Fernando Valley lawmaker says.

The vendors have become a fixture in parts of the Valley, particularly in predominantly Latino neighborhoods and shopping areas.

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