The Assault on Street Vendors

Email your City Councilor Today!
Go to http://www.ij.org/SaveATLVending and select your elected officials
Tell them that Atlantans reject Mayor Reed’s anti-vending bill. 

In March 2013, Mayor Reed began a “scorched earth” campaign against Atlanta’s vendors, forcing every sidewalk vendor operating by Turner Field to shut down right before baseball’s Opening Day.  Many of these Atlantans have been out of work for over a year, and their customers have had to endure fewer choices and higher prices.  We need your help to get these vendors back to work.

Please contact Mayor Reed at (404) 330-6100 or tweet him @KasimReed and tell him, “Let the vendors get back to work.”

And please, help us protect our livelihoods by signing the petition.

Here is a timeline of the saga.

February 2014

The Fulton County Superior Court declined to find Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in criminal contempt for failing to comply with her previous orders and issue vending permits to Stanley Hambrick, Larry Miller, and dozens of other vendors who have been suffering and out of work for months.  The vendors have appealed the case and the injunction to the Georgia Supreme Court for review this spring. 0070101-13BM-F048

 November 2013

The Atlanta City Council hurried through a complete rewrite of its vending law minutes before a court hearing in order to protect Mayor Reed from being held in contempt for his failure to issue vending permits to qualified applicants.  Atlanta’s new vending law obliterates vending at Turner Field.

“[M]y entire vending season is gone thanks to Mayor Reed’s political games.”

-Stanley Hambrick, Vendor

October 2013

On Tuesday, October 8, a court ordered the city of Atlanta to issue permits to street vendors. In response to losing in court for a third time, the city continues to refuse to let the vendors get back to work, denying them permits the court ordered the city to issue.  The city also immediately erected permanent fences where vendors had once sold their goods, in gross defiance of the judge’s order.

Mayor Reed is defying the courts and continues to deny these vendors their right to earn an honest living.

Mayor Reed’s defiance is putting ordinary Atlantans out of business. Dozens of entrepreneurs cannot provide for themselves and their families. The crackdown, which kept vendors from working a single day this baseball season, has gone from bad to worse. Atlanta’s vendors have been out of work for seven months.

August 2013 

On Monday, August 19, the Atlanta City Council turned a blind eye to Atlanta’s vendors.  By a vote of 12-2, the ci0070101-13BM-F078ty council tabled a temporary vending ordinance that would have allowed vendors to return to work through the end of the year.

July 2013 

 

On July 1, more than 75 citizens and members of Atlanta Vendors Association marched on City Hall to demand that they be allowed to get back to work.

The following day, the same judge who ruled against the city in December issued a clarification lambasting the city for “frequent mischaracterizations” of her decision.  Her ruling is very clear: that the city is ordered to allow its honest, hard-working entrepreneurs to get back to vending.

Background 

On March 28, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and the Atlanta City Council began a “scorched earth” campaign against local vendors, trying to shut down all vendors operating on public property.

After vendors scored a major state court victory in December 2012, which threw out the city’s sweetheart deal that forced all vendors to operate with one out-of-state company the city granted a monopoly over street vending, the city’s new response is to put all vendors who operate in public spaces out of business.  This includes barring them from selling near Turner Field and the Georgia Dome. Bizarrely, the city claims that its crackdown is required by the court’s order in December striking down the city-granted monopoly.  But nothing could be further from the truth.

Nothing in that order in any way prevents street vending or requires the city to stop it in any way.  Indeed, contrary to the city’s claim that the order prevents them from renewing vendors’ licenses, the court’s order specifically states:

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“This ruling is limited to any decision made pursuant to [the city council ordinance and resolution creating the monopoly and the contract with the private company] and the city may continue its other licensing and regulatory operations.”

Atlanta vendors are fighting back.  Larry Miller, whose small business has operated outside of Turner Field for more than 20 years, has organized the Atlanta Vendors Association, a grassroots organization comprised of local vendors that will work together to fight back against the city’s “scorched earth” anti-vending campaign.

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