Mayor Mike Is Out to Bust Some Street Vendors

An article in Gothamist on Friday revealed that Mayor Bloomberg is proposing to create a team of seven lawyers who will hunt down food vendors with outstanding violations. He’s willing to invest $580,000 in the program assured that they will recoup that money with the payment of tickets. I’m betting he’s wrong.

The reason why the majority of the millions of dollars in tickets have not been paid is because the fines are simply too damn high! The Street Vendor Project has been arguing this for years (since the Bloomberg administration raised the fines from $250 to $1000 back in 2006). They even held a hearing last year to get the $1000 fines lowered to a more moderate $250 and have been campaigning for City Council Speaker Quinn to call the bill for a vote.

SVP Director Sean Basinsiki responded immediately with an email blast to members. It’s after the jump…

“The City can hire all the inspectors it wants, but the fact remains that street vendors aren’t paying fines because they can’t afford them. The city routinely charges vendors $1,000 for small infractions, the vast majority of which are not related to health or safety – the $1,000 violations are as minor as having their vending licenses in their pocket and not around their neck, or having a cart an inch too close to the curb. Instead of paying for a new group of health inspectors to shake down the city’s hard-working vendors, the City should institute a more sensible fine structure with lower fines and rules that make sense. The Street Vendor Project would be happy to work with the City to do so.”

That would be the perfect solution! Give this money to the SVP (a group of lawyers themselves) who are actually trying to help both the vendors and the city instead of a SWAT team that would only result in a lot of out-of-business street vendors.


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