Anaheim cracking down on illegal street vendors

The city of Anaheim cracking down on illegal street vendors.

The Anaheim City Council is considering adding extra regulation for street vending as officials say unpermitted vendors are creating public safety issues and getting people sick. 

"If we walked into a restaurant and saw this, most of us would turn around and turn the other way," said City of Anaheim spokesperson Mike Lyster.

Lyster explains when a street vendor is selling food without legal permits, there's no guarantee that those late-night tacos or hot dogs you're buying off the sidewalk are safe.

"Ask your mom. Would she say that is the right way to do it? Not washing your hands, leaving meat out in the sun for hours. Dumping cooking grease into a sewer. We all know what our moms would say, right?" Lyster said.

With that in mind, the City Council will meet Tuesday, February 13 to consider the possible street vendor impound law. The city explained impounding equipment would be the absolute last-resort action if the vendor keeps breaking the street vending rules.

"Quality of food is your first issue. Second, is a public safety issue involving streets. You have people walking in lanes of traffic, let alone if somebody needed to pass in a wheelchair. There is no room for them to do so. People are being pushed out into busy streets. That is just no way to operate," Lyster said.

A vendor FOX 11 spoke with said they are doing the best they can to not step on the city's toes.

"That's our hustle. We're not stealing. We're not taking anything from nobody. And most of the food that we buy is from the groceries. We pay our taxes as well. We're not stealing it," the vendor said.

The vendor, who asked to remain anonymous, agrees with the city that food should be served and handled properly. However, if the city tows the food truck or impounds the equipment, that could leave devastating consequences for the vendors and their families.

"At least give us a break to put things away. Be kind. You know, we're not harassing nobody," the vendor said.

Below is a copy of the redline ordinance that is expected to be discussed during the Feb. 13 City Council meeting:

Editor's Note: This story has been revised to clarify that the city could impound food truck equipment, rather than food trucks.