Los Angeles County Public Health officials, along with Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies and City of Santa Clarita Community Partnership officials, conducted an unpermitted food vendor task force Thursday afternoon.
The task force was led by Los Angeles County Public Health officials with help from city of Santa Clarita officials. SCV Sheriff’s deputies accompanied the task force as a precaution.
“When we do these. what we normally try to do is to target the illegal vendors and generally the illegal vendors are trying to sell corn and things that aren’t packaged out properly,” said Deputy Dan Dantice, a member of the SCV Sheriff’s Station Crime Prevention Unit. “It’s a health issue.”
In the city of Santa Clarita, “no park or open space area may be used for any commercial use or enterprise in any form unless the city is directly involved as a co-sponsor of an event or project or the (Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services) has authorized such commercial enterprise in writing with a permit,” according to city ordinance 14.06.160.
City officials define “commercial use or enterprise” as “any use of a park or facility amenity for or in connection with any money making venture,” according to the ordinance.This includes selling, offering for sale or peddling of any goods, wares, merchandise, services, liquids or edibles for human or animal consumption, and/or sales activities that utilize park property or facilities to complete the terms of sale.”
“We try to do at least a monthly vendor sweep through the code enforcement team,” said Community Preservation Officer Efran Galindo. “We issue out administrative citations or verbal warnings to mobile peddlers. Many times they don’t know that type of peddling is not permitted within city limits.”
Many times, mobile peddlers come from the San Fernando Valley are dropped off in the Santa Clarita Valley to sell their goods from a painted, wooden cart, Dantice said.
A majority of vendors who were approached by officials Thursday were in compliance with county and city code or were given a verbal warning for a minor violation.
No arrests were made.
About once a year, the city teams up with SCV Sheriff’s deputies and LA County Public Health officials to organize a task force in an effort to combat illegal food vending.
“When they have perishables that are made in garages and people’s houses and then they’re brought up here or from here — people buy them off these carts and there’s no standardizations,” Dantice said. “It’s a health issue plus it’s unfair for the businesses that are paying for these permits and inspections because they can’t compete with the (illegal vendors) because the (illegal vendors) don’t have that overhead.”
One man’s cart was confiscated by LA County Public Health officials because perishable food — including mayonnaise and cheese — was not being refrigerated.
“These guys, they have to pay the city and they have to pay the county and the ones that are just pushing around something they got out of their garage don’t have to pay anything, so it’s not fair,” Dantice said.
Violators of the ordinance can be given a warning. Citations can be issued as well.
Both city of Santa Clarita and the LA County Public Health receive complaints about illegal food vendors. Here is the website for the city.