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Judge Sides With Truck Vendors in Santa Ana

Times Staff Writer

A Superior Court judge has prohibited the city of Santa Ana from enforcing municipal laws aimed at restricting truck vendors’ hours of operation and forcing them to move every 90 minutes.

After a four-day trial, Orange County Superior Court Judge W. Michael Hayes decided Friday in favor of the plaintiffs, three produce and food truck owners, who said the ordinances would devastate their businesses.

The vendors contended they would lose as much as half their trade if the ordinances were enforced, said their attorney, Randall Guritzky.

The city argued that the vendors, who sell food and sundries to a largely immigrant population, threatened public safety by parking their trucks on Santa Ana streets. Witnesses for the city also testified that the trucks, by killing parkway grass and doing business at night, contribute to a cycle of neighborhood deterioration.

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But the court found those arguments unpersuasive.

“The city of Santa Ana has not demonstrated a specific public safety issue, either criminal or traffic, associated with the activities of the vendors,” Hayes wrote.

He asked the two sides to draft an agreement based on his opinion and submit it to the court by the end of the week.

City Atty. Joseph W. Fletcher said he found the decision disappointing, but that it was too early to say whether the city would appeal.

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On a separate legal front, an injunction issued in federal court in March also prohibits the city from enforcing the 90-minute parking ordinance.

That injunction was issued in response to a lawsuit filed by dozens of other vendors who said the city law was a violation of their civil rights. Unless the two sides settle the matter, they will be back in court this year.


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