Is something rotten about Gilroy’s street fruit vendors?

Red Phone

Yeah, it’s really amazing. I was reading the paper today about how a guy holding a white cross standing at a street corner is carded by a code enforcer for being unsafe and you get these street vendors on 6th and Church Street that are selling trays or racks of fruits, nuts, this and that, and nothing is ever done. Those people are all over the place and cars stop. These guys are illegally selling bags and cartons of fruit. Why isn’t code enforcement doing something about that? I think it’s wrong that people are selling fruit on street corners. It’s not right. Why isn’t code enforcement doing something about that?

Red Phone:

Dear good caller, Red Phone understands your concern about peddlers who do not follow the local ordinances. Red Phone did some research on this topic.

Back in 2008, the City Council discussed this topic at their May meeting. Apparently at that time, street vendors were selling without permits. Mayor Pinheiro reported that he got a phone call that street vending permits were not being enforced. The council agreed that the ordinances permitting mobile vendors needed to be enforced.

Dialing ahead to the present, the police department is still enforcing ordinances on vending permits. Red Phone contacted Gilroy Police Department Administrative Sgt. Royce Heath about the current situation.

Sgt. Heath said, “Enforcement of street vendors is handled by the patrol division of the police department. They issue permits for street vending, however street vendors rarely request them. Officers issue violations when vendors are caught in the act by them, or are based on citizen complaints. Like with all calls to the police, the calls are prioritized so it is not uncommon for a police response to a complaint to be delayed while calls of a higher priority are handled first. On the other hand, in the past few months, there have been very few calls for street vendor violations.”

When asked about the number of permits issued, Sgt. Heath said, “We only have two active mobile vendor permits. There were others, however they recently expired on July 31, and there has been no attempt to renew them. These types of permit are not the same as a solicitor’s permit, which covers door-to-door sales, such as alarm systems, vacuum cleaners, etc.”

Can the public help? Sgt. Heath said, “Yes, the public can help by reporting incidents of mobile vendors and their locations. The vendors that are selling food products are of special concern due to health and health code issues.”

Is the City Council concerned about code enforcement for street peddling? Sgt. Heath responded, “I can’t speak specifically for the City Council, but I can say that the health and safety of all citizens and visitors to the city of Gilroy are of great concern for the City Council and the police department. The municipal code was adopted to protect the public.”

What happens when a street vendor is found to be in violation of the codes? Sgt. Heath said, “A violation of the municipal code for mobile vending is a misdemeanor, which would normally result in a citation.”
For those interested in the details, mobile vendors require a mobile vending permit and identity permit from the police department. There is an application fee associated with the permits. The applicant must provide a certificate of insurance.