NEW YORK (WABC) —
Mayor Bloomberg says it is one of the stupidest things he has ever heard. He’s talking about a plan to lower fines on food vendors on city streets.
The city council is expected to vote on the proposal next week.
For street vendors, a fine of anywhere from $200 to $1,000 is just the price of doing business.
Mustafa Tharuvayi has worked as a vendor for nine years. In the last two, he’s paid more than $6,000 in fines.
“Delivery comes, and they keep the propane outside for one minute or two minutes. They will come and give us ticket. $700,” Tharuvayi said.
“It means a lot for all working people, all street vendors in New York City. The fines are so high for them they cannot pay,” said Sean Basinski, of the Street Vendor Project.
The problem has become so bad that vendors took to putting up Speaker Quinn’s photo on their carts, pleading for help.
Thursday Quinn, who’s running for mayor, came up with a bill that would cut maximum fines from $1,000 to $500, but the mayor, he wasn’t happy at all.
“Well I think reducing the fines is one of the stupider things I’ve ever heard,” Mayor Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg, who’s been awfully friendly to Quinn, said he hates her latest idea.
“The public should understand exactly what this bill is about, it’s to not protect the public, it is to protect the vendors,” Mayor Bloomberg said.
Quinn seemed a bit taken aback by her mentor’s anger and she calls the bill fair to vendors and fair to the public.
“For law breakers to be punished you need escalating fines. This is going to help with that. But for the guy or gal who makes one honest mistake, let’s not whack the heck out of them for no reason,” said Christine Quinn, (D) City Council Speaker.
Quinn vows if Bloomberg vetoes her bill, she’ll fight back with an override and win.
Now she’s seen as a hero to street vendors, and it’s the mayor who’s their number one enemy now.
“The mayor doesn’t like working people. The mayor doesn’t like poor people. He hangs out with billionaires. We understand that,” Basinski said.
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A street food fight is brewing between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the woman who wants his job.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is pushing the city to reduce fines faced by street vendors, but the mayor described it as less than a good idea.
“Reducing the fines is one of the stupider things I’ve ever heard,” Bloomberg told reporters, including CBS 2′s Tony Aiello, on Thursday.
The mayor said he’ll veto that “stupid” idea, while Quinn said bring it on.
“There’s never been a veto that I haven’t overridden,” Quinn said.
Quinn is pushing to reduce the maximum fines faced by street vendors from $1,000 to $500 and the mayor is pushing back.
“We want people to follow the rules. If you reduce the fines, they will follow them less. The complaint is they’re not following them now,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor’s point was illustrated on Fifth Avenue on Thursday.
City rules require vendors to be 10 feet from a crosswalk.
A cart spotted by CBS 2′s Aiello was about six feet away. The vendor got three tickets on Thursday, which is about average.
“I mean it goes up to 15, 20 in a week,” vendor Leon Zayid said.
Zayid said last year he had to pay more than $22,000.
“That was a lot of money,” Zayid told Aiello.
Months ago, street vendors began plastering Speaker Quinn’s face on their carts, urging her to support measures to reduce fines and claiming they hurt struggling immigrants.
“We’re not trying to whack somebody who makes a one-time mistake, but if you’re somebody who thumbs your nose at the law, who acts recklessly, then you are gonna get fined repeatedly because that is just not allowable,” Quinn said.
Quinn said the bill the Council will pass next week is balanced and will reduce fines and congestion by banning food carts from heavily congested zones near hospitals.
The mayor doesn’t buy it.
“It is to protect the vendors,” Bloomberg said, referring to the current rules.
The mayor and the speaker, often allies, are now on opposite sides of this street fight.
The City Council votes next Wednesday, and Quinn said she has the votes to override the mayor’s veto.
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If the BMC decides to implement the Supreme Court order on cooking on the streets in earnest, expect never to eat your favourite roadside pani puri again.
The city’s lakhs of workers will also have to start looking for a different 10-rupee meal, because the vada pav will have
Unofficial civic estimates state that 40% of the city’s 2.5 lakh hawkers sell foodstuffs, cooked or otherwise, according to the National Hawkers Federation.
While the city’s reputation for its street cuisine may take a hit, it’s the other aspect that leaves many worried.
A large part of the city depends on street vendors for meals. “Be it snacks or even full meals, most of the unorganised sector eats food from street vendors. Migrants, especially single ones, also bank on street food,” said Mecanzy Dabre, convenor of the Federation.
As of now, the BMC has taken action, but infrequently and selectively. While it has targeted certain food stalls, “juice stalls” in posh areas continue to function with impunity.
Similarly, new vada-pav stalls under the aegis of Shiv Sena’s Shiv Vada Pav programme peacefully occupy street space, sometimes entire pavements. These stalls are much bigger than the size specified by the SC and they also cook on the streets.
Sandeep Yeole from the Pheriwalla Vikas Mahasangh, said, “The BMC and cops will not miss an opportunity to penalise hawkers, but turn the other way when it comes to such political opportunism.”
A vendor in Santacruz(West), who does not wish to be named, works at a stall selling snack items such as vadas and samosas.
“This ban is completely impractical. It has just resulted in more bribes for officials. We did try cooking our items at a rented location close to the stall, but the costs are very high,” he said.
Street food is a hot topic around New Orleans these days, though its history goes far back and its forms are much more diverse than the gourmet food trucks now getting so much attention. That’s why organizers of the national Vendy Awards street food competition are asking the public to nominate vendors for their inaugural event in New Orleans next month.
”We want it to be this democratic opportunity,” says Helena Tubis, managing director of the Vendy Awards with the New York-based Street Vendor Project (www.streetvendor.org). “We want to curate a group of vendors who represent the street vendor culture of the cities where we do these.”
The New Orleans edition of the Vendy Awards is March 13 at the French Market (1008 N. Peters St., 504-522-2621; www.frenchmarket.org). It joins a group of similar events now held in New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Chicago also will host its first Vendy Awards this year. Between eight and 12 vendors will be selected to serve their signature items at the New Orleans event. A panel of judges will name a winner, and attendees can vote for a People’s Choice Award.
The criteria for nominees is wide open and can include food truck operators, vendors on the second-line or festival circuit or farmers market vendors who sell prepared foods.
”Really, it’s anyone who sells food outside of a brick-and-mortar location,” Tubis says. “New Orleans has had people selling food on the streets forever. The history of it … will be fun to explore.”
Tickets range from $36 (food and beer included) to $6 for basic admission (pay as you go for food and drinks). Admission is free for kids under 6 years old. Find tickets and a form to nominate vendors at www.vendysnola.eventbrite.com.
The Street Vendor Project is a nonprofit that conducts advocacy work and organizes for street vendors. Proceeds from Vendy Awards events support its work. The New Orleans edition also will serve as a fundraiser for the New Orleans Food Truck Coalition and Slow Food New Orleans.
New food safety regulations, set to come into force in April, will legalize street food vendors by granting them a license and a designated place to do business in the city.
Experts and vendors welcomed the new regulation while also calling for more specifics, such as how food hygiene and safety is to be controlled.
According to the new Beijing Food Safety Regulation, mobile vendors selling street food can apply for an official permit that allows them to stay in designated areas to do their business. But first, vendors would need to get approval from local governments and accept supervision from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of City Administration and Law Enforcement.
The regulation is drafted by the bureau and will be launched on April 1, 2013, once it gets final approval, the Beijing Times said Monday.
The Beijing city administration bureau confirmed the new regulation but was unwilling to offer any information about it. Fan Xiaosi, bureau media officer, said the rule is important since it regulates street food, which can have consequences for people’s health.
“But it’s still at draft level and opinions are being gathered about it, so no details have been revealed,” she said.
An anonymous staff member from the Sanlitun urban management office said he has not heard of the new regulation, and could not comment. But he admitted the rule would make life easier for chengguan (urban management officers).
“We chase vendors cooking and selling food like sausages every single day to keep them off the streets,” he said.
“They are all unlicensed vendors and we have to go there every day to keep them away,” he said, noting the vendors might cause food safety problems and mess up public order.
Street vendors also welcome the regulation. One vendor surnamed Guo, who sells roasted chestnuts in Yayuncun, Chaoyang district, said that he really wants to have a place where he can permanently settle.
“I hope to get a license without much expense or complicated application procedures,” he said, “so we won’t have to escape from chengguan and take the risk of losing our property from time to time,” he said.
Zhang Xin, an associate professor at the School of Public Administration of Renmin University of China, said that there is a public demand for street food in town.
“Instead of banning these vendors, it’s more reasonable to offer them a place to do business,” he said, “it will make supervising them easier.”
Zhang said the regulation should be as specific as possible to enable law enforcement authorities to carry it out.
“For instance, chenggguan have no knowledge about food quality so they might have to work alongside food safety authorities as well,” he said.
NEW YORK, NY - The Street Vendor Project has recently announced that they are formulation a outrageous enlargement of their mobile food awards (The Vendy Awards) that started in New York City in 2005.
In 2012 The Vendy Awards took place in NTC, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. This year and additional 3 cities around a nation will be means to suffer this good event. Added to this year’s report are New Orleans, Boston and Chicago.
“The Street Vendor Project is anxious to commend a group and women who offer some of a best travel food in a country. The Vendys started as a tiny fundraiser, lifting income to support industrious travel vendors who are operative toward their American Dream – now, we are anxious to take a dream to a inhabitant theatre and applaud 6 cities-worth of gifted path chefs.”
2013 VENDY AWARDS SCHEDULE
New Orleans, LA - March 14
Boston, MA - April 25 – 28
New York, NY - September 7
Chicago, IL - October 3-6
Philadelphia, PA - November 7 – 10|
Los Angeles, CA - November (specific date tbd)
If we are not informed with The Vendy Awards, here is a simple idea:
THE VENDYS ARE:
- the premier travel food showcase and an heated cook-off between a best path chefs that has turn one of a city’s many dear and widely expected food events!
- A festival of honour and thankfulness for all vendors and all they yield us–from your morning coffee (half-and-half, dual sugars) to a $2 powerful when we get held in a thunderstorm.
- A fundraiser for the Street Vendor Project, a membership-based non-profit classification that stands adult for vendors’ rights.
HOW ARE THE FINALISTS CHOSEN?
Simple enough. We’ll take open nominations to establish that propitious vendors will contest opposite any other for travel food glory. People like we can advise your favorite travel food vendors yet an online assignment process.
For a latest news and announcements, follow a Vendy Awards on Twitter at @vendyawards, or on Facebook at Facebook.com/VendyAwards.
VietNamNet Bridge – Dr Tran Dang, former head of the Ministry of Health’s Food Administration, talked with Dai doan ket (Great Unity) newspaper about ensuring food safety during Tet.
llustrative image. (Photo: Internet)
Members of the public have expressed their concerns over the feasibility of the ministry’s newly released circular aiming to control street food. How will street food vendors be able to follow the circular if they are not fully aware of the new regulations?
Food services are booming so we need regulations to manage it. However, restricted dissemination has prevented street vendors from accessing the new information.
We need to ensure that vendors are properly informed of the latest requirements. We will also look at ways to deal with unspecified criteria.
What measures do you think we should take to stop unhygienic food practices?
We have an inspection system, but honestly, it doesn’t work effectively. Many inspectors are graduates but have little experience in the field.
It’s vital to reform the quality of inspectors and inspection stages.
We will strengthen inspections of both small-scale businesses in temporary markets and supermarkets, especially organic vegetables.
Food hygiene and safety must follow a strict process from raw materials, production, processing and preservation, but inspectors only focus on the last step. What do you think about that?
I think that management is overlapping.
According to Decree 163, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development would take responsibility of producing food, the Ministry of Industry and Trade would be in charge of processing food and the Ministry of Health would take care of final products.
However, since the Law on Food Hygiene and Safety was introduced, everything has become more complicated. For example, Clause 62 stipulated that the Ministry of Health would be in charge of functional foodstuff, beverages and food additives, while the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development would take care of essential goods such as dairy products, fruit and vegetables, aquaculture and honey.
Let’s take a vendor as an example. She sells noodles, several bottles of water, vegetables and a box of cooking oil. So, to inspect the food quality, we need inspectors from the Ministry of Industry and Trade to check her noodles, inspectors from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to check her vegetables and inspectors from the Ministry of Health to check her cooking oil. It’s too complicated!
Three ministries are in charge of food safety but it’s still not guaranteed. The Ministry of Health must take charge and issue criteria for food hygiene and safety and the other ministries must follow them strictly.
But it is not that easy. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has difficulty monitoring food produced by small-scale household businesses while the Ministry of Industry and Trade has to deal with street vendors.
What is your evaluation of people’s awareness of food safety and hygiene, especially with Tet approaching?
I think that people’s awareness has increased remarkably over the past ten years, but at least half of food enterprises and consumers lack knowledge of the issue.
Many violations have been uncovered by the Market Watch recently such as rotten meat, smuggled chickens and counterfeit alcohol. I think that inspectors must be more pro-active in their roles to stop unhygienic food from reaching our tables.
On Monday, an Arlington County judge dismissed a criminal loitering charge against Anna Goree, co-owner of the Seoul Food D.C. truck, who faced fines and prison time for violating the jurisdiction’s street vending law. General District Judge Thomas J. Kelley threw out the complaint at the request of prosecutors, who determined the ordinance is too vague to enforce.
Which could be good news for all food trucks in Arlington, not just Goree’s.
“This ordinance is difficult to enforce,” said Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos. “We will wait until the county clarifies the ordinance to enforce it.”
Goree had been issued several citations last year for breaking an ordinance that requires street vendors to move every 60 minutes, even if they’re parked at a meter that extends beyond an hour, said her attorney, Noah Sullivan, an associate with Gibson, Dunn Crutcher. She had paid fines on at least two occasions but decided to fight her December citation, which she received for not parking far enough away from her previous spot.
It was a risky gambit. Because Arlington County considers the parking offense a Class 1 misdemeanor — on par with drunk driving and assaults — Goree could have been fined up to $2,500 and faced 12 months in jail, though Sullivan said such penalties are usually reserved for repeat offenders.
The problem with the law, according to both the Commonwealth’s Attorney and Goree, is that it doesn’t specify how far a truck must move after the hour is up. The Seoul Food D.C. owners, for instance, had been given three different directives on how far their truck must move from its previous spot to comply with the law.
“That’s the sort of thing that can’t stand,” said Sullivan, whose firm was contacted by the libertarian Institute for Justice to take on the case pro-bono. “That’s not the way that a criminal ordinance can be enforced.”
Members of the recently renamed Food Truck Association of Metropolitan
Washington said they are still working with the Arlington County Board and Arlington Economic Development to revise the 60-minute law. The county has already shown itself open to change with food trucks. In 2008, the board revised the law to allow mobile vendors to park for an hour at one spot; previously, they had to leave after a mere five minutes.
“There is a general recognition that the current rules need to change.” said Che Ruddell-Tabisola, political director for the Food Truck Association of Metropolitan Washington.
Cara O’Donnell, spokeswoman for Arlington Economic Development, said her office is working on a new food truck plan for the county that will address the issue, and it should be ready by the spring.
“We are working on a long-term strategy that will better accommodate all of our business and customers,” O’Donnell said. “We know the time restrictions are a challenge.”
In the meantime, the Commonwealth’s Attorney said it is unlikely she will bring cases against food truck vendors charged with violating the 60-minute rule until the ordinance becomes more specific.
“That’s not a good use of resources,” Stamos said.
The Seoul Food D.C. owners elected not to speak with the media about the judge’s decision, but they issued this statement through Sullivan:
“We are so humbled by many of our supporters. . . first and foremost our loyal customers. They are the ones who keep all off our businesses strong. They even made it possible for us to open our own brick and mortar restaurant this spring. We are looking forward to working with Arlington County in the future. We are lucky to live in such a thriving and diverse area. Now we can concentrate on what really matters: bringing great food to our fans.”
Street food joints cater to a majority of people in the city and if these outlets are removed, the cost that one has to bear and the effort that one has to put in scouting for affordable food would be huge.
Most family outings in the city usually end up on a rendezvous with roadside stalls either for a ‘chat-pata chaat’ or a quick delicious snack. Indeed, the city is famous for its culinary dishes and street food vendors play a major role in the city’s eco-system.
In spite of this role of catering to many people on a daily basis, the street food vendors are the most neglected lot in the city, Anne Dahmen, coordinator for Sustainable Hyderabad Project (SHP) observes. Anne, a German research scholar, has been working on the problems and issues faced by the street vendors in Hyderabad since 2009.
Street vendors have a very peculiar condition in the city, Anne points out. “Street food joints cater to a majority of people in the city and if these outlets are removed, the cost that one has to bear and the effort that one has to put in scouting for affordable food would be huge,” she points out.
Unlike restaurants, where people go to eat, street food vendors identify a place where there is an unfulfilled demand and open their stall, hence these entrepreneurs are very important for the city, she explains.
Some people are suspicious of the quality of food that these food vendors provide, while others, particularly government officials, view them nothing less than a nuisance in the public space. This, Anne says, is because of lack of legal sanction for this profession.
“From the moment a person starts a street food counter he has to face many troubles and one of the most important problems he faces is lack of knowledge about the policy provisions available for them along with the legal issues they have to follow,” she says.
On one hand, street food vendors face the threat of eviction on a daily basis because of a lack of legal recognition to their profession. On the other, vendors are also not aware of following legal requirements like Food Safety and Standards Act 2006, she explains.
“When compared to smaller hotels and restaurants, street food is safer as the customers can see the process of food preparation. With proper training, street food can be a source of sustenance for many families in the city,” she says.
As a pilot project, SHP, in collaboration with Dr. Reddy’s Foundation, trained four street vendors from four categories of street food – Chaat, ‘mirchi’ based snacks, Chinese fast food and ‘tiffins’. They in turn trained about 80 vendors in their own categories.
According to M. Vijay Kumar, one of the initial four food vendors who were trained under the ‘Aarogya’ scheme, his sales have gone up by an average of Rs. 800 to Rs. 1,000 per day after he implemented the training lessons.
“There are about 18,000 street food vendors in the city and if these results can be replicated for all these vendors, the economic benefit accruing to these many families will be phenomenal,” Anne explains.
To achieve this objective, there is a need to change the way street food vending is viewed among the people, she says. “Currently officials view the issue more as a regulatory problem, whereas to improve the sector there is a need for them to make the process more participatory,” she adds.
In our society, cooking has been the traditional forte of women and this can be used to as a tool for their economic upliftment, V. Usha Rani, Director of Sannihita, Center for Women, Girl and Children Society says.
If street food vending is legalised and brought into mainstream, this sector can be a source of sustenance for socially backward women, she observes.
To create this awareness, both among officials and women street food vendors, Sannihita, in collaboration with Sustainable Hyderabad Project (SHP), has come up with a new initiative – Jeevanpath.
“Street food vending can be used to create livelihood security for marginalised women in the city. But to achieve this there has to be better policy initiatives,” Ms. Rani says.
Though men stand at street food outlets, women play a major role in processing raw materials and preparing basic ingredients, if this role is formally accepted and encouraged, their potentiality can be fully tapped, Ms. Rani observes.
To achieve this goal there is a need to provide legal recognition to street food vending and to bring it under the fold of Self-Help Groups (SHGs), she explains. By legalising the profession the day-to-day threat that these vendors face from enforcement authorities can be tackled and along with it they can also apply for financial support, she points out.
Officials should also provide designated places for these vendors to operate along with providing facilities like proper storage facilities, she maintains.
“Unlike formal hotel and restaurant businesses, street food vending needs very less investment but has a huge potential,” she says. There are a total of 1.5 lakh street vendors in the State and by rejuvenating this sector, one can bring about a cascading effect in the lives of these many families, she adds.
To highlight these aspects, Sannihita and SHP organised a two-day seminar in first week of January in which women street food vendors from across the State participated.
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