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Quinn proposes lower fines for street food vendors

February 21, 2013 3:13:54 PM PST
Mayor Bloomberg says it is one of the stupidest things he has ever heard. He's talking about a plan to lower fines on food vendors on city streets.

The city council is expected to vote on the proposal next week.

For street vendors, a fine of anywhere from $200 to $1,000 is just the price of doing business.

Mustafa Tharuvayi has worked as a vendor for nine years. In the last two, he's paid more than $6,000 in fines.

"Delivery comes, and they keep the propane outside for one minute or two minutes. They will come and give us ticket. $700," Tharuvayi said.

"It means a lot for all working people, all street vendors in New York City. The fines are so high for them they cannot pay," said Sean Basinski, of the Street Vendor Project.

The problem has become so bad that vendors took to putting up Speaker Quinn's photo on their carts, pleading for help.

Thursday Quinn, who's running for mayor, came up with a bill that would cut maximum fines from $1,000 to $500, but the mayor, he wasn't happy at all.

"Well I think reducing the fines is one of the stupider things I've ever heard," Mayor Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg, who's been awfully friendly to Quinn, said he hates her latest idea.

"The public should understand exactly what this bill is about, it's to not protect the public, it is to protect the vendors," Mayor Bloomberg said.

Quinn seemed a bit taken aback by her mentor's anger and she calls the bill fair to vendors and fair to the public.

"For law breakers to be punished you need escalating fines. This is going to help with that. But for the guy or gal who makes one honest mistake, let's not whack the heck out of them for no reason," said Christine Quinn, (D) City Council Speaker.

Quinn vows if Bloomberg vetoes her bill, she'll fight back with an override and win.

Now she's seen as a hero to street vendors, and it's the mayor who's their number one enemy now.

"The mayor doesn't like working people. The mayor doesn't like poor people. He hangs out with billionaires. We understand that," Basinski said.

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