To encourage entrepreneurship and bring businesses into compliance, the city of San Jose may suspend permitting fees for all street vendors.
The proposal, signed by council members Tam Nguyen and Magdalena Carrasco and Mayor Sam Liccardo, goes before the Rules and Open Government Committee on Wednesday.
A study by the National League of Cities found that mobile and fixed street vendors generate $650 million a year nationwide, a figure expected to grow to $2.7 billion by 2017. Liccardo, Nguyen and Carrasco suggest waiving the peddler permit fee and the business license tax for two months and organizing workshops to teach people how to come up to code.
"The city of San Jose attracts immigrants from hundreds of countries throughout the world," the trio write. "Its multicultural residents bring with them a valuable entrepreneurial spirit and in many cases help drive the findings above. Many small businesses have the desire to open for business but do not have the understanding of the lengthy process they must go through to obtain the proper permits."
In 2013, the city launched an initiative to help small businesses through the permitting process. The Small Business Ally program has been a huge hit, the city says. Liccardo highlighted it in his March spending plan, directing the city manager to drum up ideas for expanding the program, especially for immigrant-run small businesses.
- Following through on a suggestion from Councilman Don Rocha, the city will consider moving the public comment portion of the City Council to the beginning of meetings, so people don't have to sit through hours of testimony to speak. City Clerk Toni Taber noted in her report, however, that keeping public comment at the end of the afternoon session and the end of evening sessions, when there is one, generally fits people's schedules, giving them a chance to drop by after work. "The advantage to retaining the public comment period at the end of the afternoon meeting is that members of the public can come by on their way home from work or leave work early in order to attend and speak at the end of the meeting," Taber writes. "Moving public comment to the beginning of the afternoon meeting may prevent some members of the public from speaking in the afternoon as it starts quite early."
- Councilwoman Rose Herrera, who served in the U.S. Air Force, asked the city to explore the idea of creating a program that would give businesses owned by disabled veterans preference in city contracts.
- Some council members want to draft a Clean Air Act resolution urging President Obama to do something about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. "Adopting a strong environmental resolution ... a day before Earth Day would show our city's commitment and leadership in the fight against climate change," reads the memo signed by council members Raul Peralez, Chappie Jones, Ash Kalra, Don Rocha and Margie Matthews.
WHAT: Rules and Open Government Committee meets
WHEN: 2pm Wednesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260