The City of Sacramento is reviewing the way it handles illegal vending enforcement after members of the Latin American labor council condemned the city's handling of an April operation.
Across from Southside park where many members of the Latino community attend church, several food carts were seized for operating without a permit.
It was a joint operation between the Sacramento County Environmental Management Department (EMD) with assistance from the City's Code Enforcement Department, according to a memo sent to Sacramento City Council by Community Development Director, Ryan DeVore, on May 3.
The vendors has been warned weeks before, in both Spanish and English, that operating without a permit would result in confiscation of their equipment and products, the memorandum said.
The incident happened on April 23 and was caught on camera by Fatima Garcia, an executive board member on the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA).
The several minute long video shows county health department employees dumping out drink products and seizing equipment of vendors operating without a permit.
“I came and I personally talked to each of them months ago and I told them if you don’t comply, if you don’t get a permit, then you’re going to be in violation and they’re going to confiscate your product,” a man wearing a code enforcement vest and badge said in the video.
Members of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement said the situation should not have escalated the way it did.
“Already there is fear in the community, especially with police,” said Al Rojas with the LCLAA. “But the fact is they lost control of the situation there. And somebody could have gotten hurt there.”
The group took their concerns to city council saying that vendors are just trying to make a living. Mayor Darrel Steinberg and other city leaders have agreed to meet with the group to discuss what happened.
Garcia said some of the vendors are undocumented immigrants that are afraid to seek permits to operate.
A spokesperson in the city’s Community Development Department, Kelli Trapani, said operating without a permit is a threat to public health and safety. The department is reviewing how it approaches code enforcement.