Santa Ana Begins War on Street Vendors Before Any Ordinance is Heard

Last week, the SanTana City Council shelved a hearing on a proposed ordinance that would effectively wipe out the city’s decades-long food scene by regulating it to death. Councilmembers told staff to do more research over the next 30 days, with Sal Tinajero insisting to a skeptical audience that he thinks the trucks are an “integral part of Santa Ana’s identity.”

But over the weekend, reports came in to the Weekly that code enforcement cracked down especially hard on the tamaleros, flower vendors, fruit carts, backyard restaurants and chorizeros that make life in SanTana’s barrios an eternal moveable feast. Witnesses told the Weekly that many vendors got citations for selling without a license, while another said they say flowers in the back of a code enforcement officer’s truck—most likely after getting confiscated from a vendor. A quick drive through town also saw taco trucks that had long parked in one spot no longer there, and other loncheras turn off their scrolling marquees for fear of attracting unwanted attention from the jura.

Meanwhile, SanTana has experienced four murders in a week (two in neighborhoods near downtown), and the police officer’s union have hijacked democracy—but cracking down on the mango lady is FAR more important, amiright?

Here me talk about the issue on my latest “Orange County Line” commentary for KCRW-FM 89.9

The sweep has vendors frightened but undeterred. “All I want to do is sell food to my customers,” said one carnitas cart owner who not only asked for anonymity, but also requested we not share their location. “I feed working people, and I make sure they clean up after themselves. So how am I a criminal?”

Ask your elected vendidos on the SanTana City Council.

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