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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Controversy over vendor sales along San Diego boardwalks

There's a running battle between the established storefronts in Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, and La Jolla Cove and the sidewalk vendors.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Cruising the boardwalk is part of the San Diego culture; the sights and sounds of a vibrant community where you can catch the sea breeze and perhaps buy a t-shirt or another souvenir of your visit.  Street vendors are both colorful and plentiful.

There's a running battle between the established storefronts with their huge operating expenses in Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, and La Jolla Cove and the people who set up tables with goodies on the sidewalk.

Hamel’s general manager Skyler McManus told News 8, "You know they shouldn't be posted up next to brick and mortar stores where they're selling the same things. It's not fair. It's a free for all."   

One beachfront visitor agreed. Dame Breeze added, "I do think they should have to pay a little space rent to be out here."   

The vendors see it differently.

"All of us here are tiny, small markets so the money we make recirculates right back into the community," said Ulises Consuegra. "We're not taking it anywhere, it stays right here.”

Store owners, though, want regulation.

Mike Soltan is the owner of Kojack’s, which sells shaved ice as well as food and drink.   

"They turn this area into a swap meet," he said. "We pay taxes and we have vendors parked in front of our place."  

The city is trying to find common ground. San Diego City Council President Jennifer Campbell issued the following statement:  

“My office has discussed this issue with residents, businesses, street vendors and beach visitors.  We are working to find a solution that balances the needs of all."  

There is no timeline for a resolution at this point.