A plan to put Atlanta’s public street vendors back to work this summer stalled Monday as the Atlanta City Council voted to table Councilman Michael Julian Bond’s temporary vending program.
Bond’s legislation called for public street vendors who were licensed to vend in 2012 to return to work in a limited way, namely at Turner Field and a handful of city-designated kiosks in the downtown area. However, the bill would not allow vendors to return to Five Points, a once-popular downtown location for vendors that prompted complaints of disorderliness.
Bond said his legislation was meant to help the vendors until Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration issues a new permanent program this fall. Vendors are allowed to sell on private property with a license.
The Atlanta Vendors Association condemned the council’s actions and accused the members of bowing to political pressure.
“Real families are going without because the city council refused to stand up for ordinary Atlantans,” vendor Larry Hambrick said in a written statement from the association.
Public street vendors haven’t been able to sell their goods this year after a long legal battle with city officials over the right to operate on public streets. The legal conflict began when former Mayor Shirley Franklin, in an effort to clean up the haphazard look of street vending, turned over the program to a private company.
Hambrick and fellow vendor Larry Miller challenged that move and won last December when a Fulton County Superior Court judge struck down the agreement with Chicago-based General Growth Properties.