SAN DIEGO — Pop-up tent vendors are now a common sight these days at Balboa Park.
Some parkgoers say they are not supposed to be there and have become a problem while others think they add to the atmosphere.
“I personally enjoy seeing the vendors here,” parkgoer Lauren Valenzuela said. “I think that’s what makes Balboa Park, Balboa Park. They set on the sides, so I don’t necessarily think they’re blocking the walkways at all. It’s nice to see the different types of vendors and what they’re selling.”
Others argue they take away from the established restaurants and businesses already operating at the park. They say many are blocking walkways and not operating with a permit.
“They should offer them a chance to get permits, though, and be here legally and rightfully, so yeah, hopefully the City of San Diego can do something to help them out. Everybody’s trying to make a buck right now. That’s the way it’s going,” parkgoer Josh O’Connor said.
Rose Cork Hats CEO Cishan Raja sells unique purses, hats and other goods made from cork trees.
“It’s actually been helping me have a job and survive in many ways. I wasn’t able to make much for a while. I was on unemployment for a year-and-a-half before I started this company,” Raja said.
He does agree there need to be more rules in place. But he says a recently passed ordinance that would ban vendors during the summertime might be too harsh.
“I do really feel like there should be some regulation. I know there’s some regulations coming up but I feel like some components of the law are very aggressive and will damage my business,” Raja said.
Mayor Todd Gloria noted the city council recently passed an ordinance on street vendors two months ago.
“San Diego is one of the cities that failed to implement any local regulations. I criticized that when running for mayor and now we’re doing something about it. Earlier this year, the city council, with leadership of Councilmember, Dr. Jennifer Campbell passed regulations for the first time in our city’s history. We’ll be before the city council next week to finally take the last vote on that,” Gloria said.
The new ordinance was passed two months ago but it is expected to take place by June 1.
If vendors in Balboa Park don’t have the proper permits by then, they could face fines or be shut down.