ICIJ Denounces Criminalization on Street Vendors by Fontana Mayor, Acquanetta Warren, and City Councilmembers
For Immediate Release //
November 27th, 2023
Contact: Tamara Marquez, 562-212-2664, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fontana, CA – On Tuesday, October 10th, 2023, Fontana voted in favor of a new ordinance that further criminalizes street vendors by allowing confiscations and misdemeanor charges for vendors without the proper permits to sell their business. Apart from this, Fontana Councilmembers allocated approximately $600,000 to enforce their new ordinances through a private contractor.
The $600,000 investment to expand enforcement with 4Leaf Inc. could be a better use of city resources instead the city decided to create more overreach and criminalize sidewalk vendor businesses. There are now videos of 4Leaf Inc. staff harassing street vendors and forcibly confiscating some material. The city is not respecting and following the two state laws that ICIJ helped pass in 2018 and 2022. Instead, they’re finding every opportunity to reduce sidewalk vending.
Since the ordinance’s passing, organizations such as the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice, street vendors, and Fontana residents have rallied to submit hundreds of public comments against it. Other groups have attended these meetings. However, ICIJ is not collaborating with them since there is no long-term common goal.
“We have now seen Fontana Mayor and City Councilmembers are targeting and criminalizing street vendors through cruel enforcement. ICIJ has peacefully gathered street vendors and has attended city council meetings to advocate against the new ordinance. However, the city has turned us away due to their ignorance and unwillingness to listen to us. It continues to carry forward this new ordinance. As of today, we have seen how this new ordinance is harassing, throwing away materials, and criminalizing our street vending community. The goal of ICIJ will continue to be to protect street vendors and advocate for a collaborative program that serves as a positive example for other cities in the region.” said Lyzzeth Mendoza, Economic Justice Organizing Director at the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice.