Street vendors in San Francisco’s Mission District will be taking “direct action” on Monday against a selling ban that they say will cripple their livelihoods.  

The Mission Street Vendors Association, which represents over 100 vendors, will be protesting the 90-day ban on vending that begins Monday. The vendors also said they may set up shop anyway to drive the point home.

San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen is bearing the brunt of their ire after she proposed the ban last month.

Ronen said it would help the cleaning of the area by city workers, who she says face threats of violence.

This misconceived ban ... would force vendors to abandon their established livelihoods and possibly relocate to two designated sites with limited space, a move that would cripple their businesses during the crucial holiday season.

Mission Street Vendors Association

“I recently learned that DPW workers who enforce the law have been assaulted and had their lives threatened by individuals selling stolen goods on the street,” Ronen said in her newsletter this month. “I also found out that DPW workers are wearing bullet proof vests to work and that many workers filed grievances through their union so they no longer had to work in the Mission because they feared for their safety.” 

Ronen said designated areas for vendors are expected to open at 17th and Mission streets. 

However, vendors at a rally last Wednesday said there are not enough spots to fit everyone. 

Vendors gather near the 24th and Mission BART station on Nov. 22 to protest proposed ban on outdoor vendors. (Joshua Picazo via Pagransen)

“This misconceived ban ... would force vendors to abandon their established livelihoods and possibly relocate to two designated sites with limited space, a move that would cripple their businesses during the crucial holiday season,” said the Mission Street Vendors Association on Sunday. 

“We have exhausted every avenue to collaborate with the Supervisor, but our pleas have fallen on deaf ears,” expressed Luis Lopez, a long-standing vendor and member of the Mission Street Vendors Association. “We are not seeking preferential treatment; we simply ask for the opportunity to continue providing for our families during this critical time of year.”

The vendors say there are now only 48 spots available for 116 permitted vendors.

Though the association hasn’t explicitly defined what “direct action” may mean, they said they would “take a stand for their rights and livelihoods” and “potentially continue exercising their right to vend.”

The vendors will gather at Mission and 24th streets at 11 a.m., they said.

Katy St. Clair got her start in journalism by working in the classifieds department at the East Bay Express during the height of alt weeklies, then sweet talked her way into becoming staff writer, submissions editor, and music editor. She has been a columnist in the East Bay Express, SF Weekly, and the San Francisco Examiner. Starting in 2015, she begrudgingly scaled the inverted pyramid at dailies such as the Vallejo Times-Herald, The Vacaville Reporter, and the Daily Republic. She has her own independent news site and blog that covers the delightfully dysfunctional town of Vallejo, California, where she also collaborates with the investigative team at Open Vallejo. A passionate advocate for people with developmental disabilities, she serves on both the Board of the Arc of Solano and the Arc of California. She lives in Vallejo.