The presence of a street vendor should be a welcome sign for a community, as evidence of a flourishing, diverse economy. More to the point — should government be used to discriminate against popular, efficient street vendors and in favor of less popular, less efficient brick-and-mortar retailers? Shouldn’t picking one over the other be a choice for customers, and not bureaucrats and politicians?
Here in Whitewater, we recently had much fuss over a single hot dog cart, and we may yet have a kerfuffle over another.
We’re not alone. The City of El Paso is trying to push street vendors out of that city, through fines and other restrictions, all to help less popular brick-and-mortar retailers.
Restrictions on street vendors punish hard work and ingenuity, and deny consumers a plentiful choice of fare.
Fortunately, the Institute of Justice has begun a National Street Vendor Initiative, to defend the economic rights of street vendors. They’ve also filed a lawsuit against the City of El Paso’s discriminatory, anti-competitive conduct.
First, here’s a video from the IJ explaining what’s at stake.
Over at the Daily Caller, the IJ has a post up about the National Street Vendor Imitative, entitled, Today, we begin our fight for the food vendors.
More about the federal lawsuit, Castaneda v. City of El Paso, is available at an online backgrounder entitled, Mean Streets: El Paso Mobile Food Vendors Challenge City’s Effort to Run Them Out of Town.
I’ll be sure to follow the case.