Following months of run-ins with city employees that have threatened to cite them for illegal food vending, or impound their coffee cart, Kude and Fernandez made the decision in March to continue to operate in defiance to raise awareness of the plight of the city’s food vendors.
A tech start-up and a local nonprofit are partnering to explore the possibilities of using new cryptocurrencies to help street vendors move away from cash—something that usually makes them an easy target for theft.
“They just want to go out there and make an honest living and with your guys’ support and protection, it would make things a lot easier for them,” said Tito Rodriguez, who’s known as the Hood Santa because of his philanthropic work.
The Long Beach City Council is looking at developing a safety program for street vendors that would protect them and their small businesses.
Along Cedar Avenue, a line of people formed eager to buy shaved ice, corn on the cob and chopped fruit in a cup.
In an Instagram video, Eliu Ramirez says he called police after his cart was vandalized. He thought officers were going to help “and instead they gave us a ticket.”
Within a week of the incident, Betancourt with help from a local artist produced new t-shirts that read “Defend Street Vendors” and “Love of the Streets” in Spanish, and is using the money from the sales to donate to street vendors in need.
The day after the attack on Sunday, customers lined up to buy fruit from the victim’s cart, and some drove by just to hand him money.
The nonprofit is inviting people come out to 308 E. Shoreline Dr. on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. to buy out all of Pedro’s cart inventory.
On Monday, an entourage of supporters surprise-delivered it to Nuñez at his home in North Long Beach.