Street vendors in Santa Ana bring happiness on wheels – HS Insider
It is a Friday afternoon in July and it is very hot. As the kids laugh while playing and the adults chat nearby, the sounds of horns, chimes and bells ring out through the bustling neighborhood.
It’s a familiar jingle on Eastside Avenue. Families come out of their homes to buy elotes, raspados, chicharrones, crisps and more at Rodrigo Arenas Torres. He is one of many other street vendors in Santa Ana who honestly make a living while bringing happiness on wheels.
“Apúrate para alcanzar a Rodrigo!an older sister said to her younger brother as they rushed to buy a raspado and an elote.
Arenas Torres is a frequent visitor to the neighborhood. His sun hat, blue cart and black horn are a familiar sight to the neighbors.
For those like Selina Lievanos, 38, street vendors remind them of their childhood. She recently moved to Anaheim, but has lived in Santa Ana for most of her life. There, her favorite street vendor was a man selling churros from his red and white Igloo cooler on Bristol and First streets near a taco truck. Now in Anaheim, she has an elotero who visits her street frequently, and she is one of the few people in her neighborhood to buy from him.
“[They] bring a taste of home, ”said Lievanos. “They come to the neighborhoods and it’s just that they contribute to happiness man. Even me being as old as hell, being 38, and I hear the little bells on it – I’m out, sister chanclas, chanclas sin. I don’t care, I’m outside.
Lievanos, who organized a unit position in March for street vendors, said they preserve traditions and help fight gentrification in cities, making them important to communities.
“It’s part of the neighborhood too – it’s part of our culture,” said Lievanos. “It’s part of our way of life, it’s the paletero guy, the raspado man who arrives on a hot summer day. I think they just contribute to our community, our neighborhood.
Santa Ana street vendors
Long hours and busy days are not unusual for street vendors in Santa Ana.
Jose Guadalupe Rodriguez, who emigrated from Morelos, Mexico, has stood on the same corner of Fourth and Bush streets in Santa Ana for almost 30 years with his cart full of snacks: chicharones, candies, fruit cups, crisps and more. .
Day to day, Rodríguez works almost 12 hours.
He wakes up at 5:30 a.m. to pick up his cart from the warehouse where it is stored and spends about four hours preparing all the fruit for the carts. Then he ventures out into the street to his corner, where he works until 6 p.m. Then he loads his cart, takes the items back to the warehouse and goes home, ready to start all over again the next day.
“A lot of people think it’s an easy job but it takes a lot of patience and tenacity,” Rodriguez said in Spaniard. “It’s difficult because in winter, you have to resist the cold when there is a lot of wind… During the rainy season, it’s the same thing. It’s raining, it’s cold and we get wet.
Silvia Trujillo, from Puebla, Mexico, is another street vendor who works in the same neighborhood as Rodriguez. For her, long days are the same.
Trujillo wakes up at 4:30 a.m. to start his day an hour and a half later. She does the dishes, then makes the syrups and loads her car. In Fourth and Main streets, she sets up her fruit cart with a colorful array of umbrellas. Crisps and chicharrones hang from the front, and fruit bowls sit beside peanuts on its silver cart. Once 6.30pm rings, it’s time for her to stop for the day.
For street vendors like Trujillo and Rodriguez, those long working days can conflict with family life. Rodriguez said he was lucky that his job as a street vendor was part of his in-laws’ business, which also operates on the same street, so some days his family works with him.
He is one of the many street vendors who work with their families, but that is not always the case. Arenas Torres has to travel from the United States to his homeland to see his family, which is not always easy. He returns there every three years.
“Going to Mexico is the best thing that can happen. It’s the best time you come to Mexico because of the excitement, ”said Arenas Torres in Spanish. “When you come back from Mexico, it’s very sad.
He said that being away from his family has its ups and downs – it’s uncomfortable being away from them, but it feels good when he can support them financially, especially since his previous job did not pay him well.
Rodriguez started selling street vendors to support his family. Despite his uneven day-to-day pay, it’s still enough for his family, he said.
City regulations and the risks faced by street vendors
With street vending, other risks can sometimes arise. Street vendors are not always safe at work. They run the risk of flights and confrontations, some of which have gone viral across California in recent years.
According to OC voice, street vendor Jessie Flores, who works on Edinger Avenue, was nearly robbed four times – the most recent case in November.
In March, street vendor Lorenzo Perez was shot and killed in southeast Fresno by a man who approached him as a customer, according to ABC30. The death of the father of four has led the city to change its regulations.
Fresno City Council member Luis Chavez said ABC30 the city would sponsor an association for food vendors in Fresno to help them learn how to operate legally with other resources.
Actions for change
Some people like Lievanos stepped up to help. Lievanos owns a security company and last summer offered its security service to street vendors who were victims of harassment. She thinks the city should support vendors more directly.
“I feel like they would feel a lot safer if they had permits… if they got the education and just the information. I feel like it’s a big secret too, ”said Lievanos. “It’s like, why wouldn’t you want them to be legitimate?” “
In March 2017, the Santa Ana City Council passed an ordinance allowing street vendors to operate legally in the city. However, street vendors must follow specific rules to operate legally. For example, they are only allowed to use lights found on their vehicle and cannot install additional lights that might distract drivers, according to the ordinance.
They must also apply for a permit and business license to operate – an additional $ 200 to be considered a business owner with multiple carts compared to registering as a self-employed with a single cart, according to the spokesperson. of Santa Ana, Paul Eakins.
According to the city’s website, the license fee is used to help the city operate and pay for police and fire departments and other security needs.
Amid long hours and fears for safety, the community of Santa Ana has supported their street vendors. In March, Lievanos organized a Unity Position to let sellers know they have a community behind them. She was tired of seeing them being mistreated and treated unfairly.
“The oneness position is literally that I’m fed up with the news, headlines, social media and seeing our salespeople attacked, harassed and beaten and sadly in some cases killed,” Lievanos said. . The aim of the Unity Position was to show solidarity and compassion towards street vendors.
Lievanos believes that as a younger generation of immigrants, she and others have a duty to stand up for salespeople that people have turned a blind eye to. She said she hoped to protect their elders who were silenced for years, unable to speak out.
“I feel like in society now we have lacked a lot of compassion for people. And it’s just that I put my family in these positions like it could have been my uncle, it could have been my dad, it could have been my grandfather and that drives you crazy, ”Lievanos said.
In the oneness position, she said she wanted the street vendors to know that they have the whole community behind them. It is important to raise awareness about this issue as it is not in the mainstream and requires adequate attention, Lievanos added.
“Just to be like, man, we’re proud. We are proud of our street vendors. We are proud to support our street vendors, ”said Lievanos. “And the whole message to me that I wanted was just to show that you are not alone.”