Wrong on vending

To the Editor:

Re “Concerns rise over vending; Chin targets fake bag buyers” (news article, April 27):

Politicians and the BIDS they work for always seem to get it wrong on vending. Maybe that’s because they always have a hidden BID agenda behind their seemingly well-intentioned vending proposals.

Yes, there is a problem with the sale of counterfeit goods, but no new, unenforceable laws have to be passed to address it.

Virtually all the vendors selling these materials are illegal. They have no vending license, they are not protected by the First Amendment and they are not disabled veterans. They are all subject to confiscation, summonses and arrest

every single moment they are selling on the street – no matter what they are selling.

Why would anyone think that adding more vending laws,

rather than simply enforcing the existing ones, was required?

The existing laws subject all illegal vendors to large fines and jail time.

Contrary to the claims of Senator Squadron and others, every vendor who is arrested is automatically fingerprinted. If they go through Central Booking, they are also face scanned. As an artist who was falsely arrested 43 times (and never convicted) I can assure you from direct personal experience that ALL vendors are fingerprinted when arrested.

As far as the notion of arresting those who buy a fake handbag from these vendors, it is an understandable retaliation strategy but it makes no sense legally. To prove a criminal act you need to prove intent. Unless a customer confesses to the police that they knowingly bought a counterfeit bag, they cannot be found guilty.

Lastly, as far as the hostility some residents report from vendors they tried to evict from their block, let’s get real. When a resident threatens a vendor who is standing on a public sidewalk, they can expect to be met with hostility in return. Vendors normally have no reason to harass or threaten residents. When it happens, it is almost always the result of the resident harassing and threatening

the vendor first.

If a resident has a problem with illegal vending the remedy is calling the police rather than pretending to Charles Bronson or Dirty Harry. That’s what we pay the police for.

Robert Lederman
President of ARTIST