With the chaos of the holidays, you may have overlooked a major victory for the Atlanta Street Vending movement. A story that we first reported on back in July of 2011 has come to a close, or at least entered the next chapter.
On December 21st, the Fulton County Superior Court struck down the city’s Public Vending Management Program that would have consolidated all of the street vending in the city under General Growth Properties. A lawsuit against the City of Atlanta was brought by Atlanta vendors Larry Miller and Stanley Hambrick, with the help of the Institute of Justice, a group of Libertarian lawyers with a strong focus on fighting unfair business regulations.
The suit contended that by revoking all of the existing street vending permits – originally slated to take effect on December 31st, 2012 – and forcing all vending to flow through GGP, the city was essentially mandating a forced monopoly. It seems that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Shawn LaGrua agrees.
In a four page decision, LaGrua held that the City of Atlanta violated the City Charter by granting an exclusive franchise. The more legalese-inclined of you can read the entire decision here.
While the food truck movement was not directly affected by the GGP contract because they operate on private property, the Dec. 21st victory removed what would have been another hurdle for mobile food vendors to win the right to vend on public streets. So, even though your favorite food truck wouldn’t have been run out of town with the dawning of the New Year, the issues are interconnected.
Of course, this may not be the last that we have heard of this case, and the decision could potentially be reversed on appeal, and as Jeremiah McWilliams reports for the AJC, the ruling opened more questions about where to go from here. Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration defended the contract in court, and has until January 22nd to appeal the decision.
- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog