Most Mission Street vendors do not even realize that SF is gearing up to ban vending on Mission Street, and we now learn the vending ban might only be in effect for 90 days.
In the ongoing controversy over increasingly rampant illegal street vending on Mission Street, it was surprise news this week when the district’s supervisor Hillary Ronen announced a full ban on Mission Street vending that would go into effect in November. That comes after a permit system experiment did not do the job of taming the illegal vending scene, and SF Department of Public Works (DPW) employees say they've been threatened and attacked while trying to enforce the permit system.
KGO did some follow-up on the ban, speaking to Ronen and a few vendors. And from Ronen, we get the new information that it may only be a 90-day ban, and that it won’t apply to all of Mission Street.
Ronen told KGO that "for 90 days, as an emergency measure to address health and safety issues, vending from Mission Street, from 14th to 25th and a small perimeter around the BART stations" would not be allowed. So that’s not the entirety of Mission Street, but it’s the stretch where most of the vending takes place.
And we do know that some of the items being sold are clearly stolen, and a few of these operations involve tens of thousands of dollars of allegedly stolen merchandise. But other vendors are permitted and legitimate.
KGO also spoke to a few of those Mission Street vendors. Many of them didn’t even know about the just-announced ban, and were flabbergasted by the news.
"This is going to impact us, and we are not at fault,” permitted vendor Cesar Rolando Canales told KGO, according to reporter Luz Pena’s interpretation. “We have kept the plaza very clean. This is how we make a living. This is how we are able to provide for our families.”
The San Francisco Latinx Democratic Club unequivocally opposes banning of street vending on Mission Street.— San Francisco Latinx Democratic Club (@SFLatinxDems) October 18, 2023
Statement ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/L895JNN08B
There may be more blowback to come, as the SF Latinx Democratic Club put out a statement Wednesday that it “condemns Supervisor Ronen’s proposed legislation to ban street vendors from Mission Street. This ban by Supervisor Ronen further exacerbates the violence our street vendors have had to experience.”
But according to DPW spokesperson Rachel Gordon, there’s been plenty of violence by some vendors and against city workers trying to enforce the permit system.
"Our inspectors have been offered bulletproof vests,” Gordon explained to KGO. “Some of them are availing themselves to that opportunity. They are wearing them. They have been punched, they have been poked. They've had things thrown at them."
There has been talk of permitted vendors being allowed to use vacant storefronts on Mission Street. Another detail we learn from this KGO report is that the vending ban, policy which still isn’t fully formed, might not apply to food vendors. And honestly, can you imagine how this city would react if bacon-wrapped hot dog carts were banned from Mission Street?
Image: Joe Kukura, SFist