Pushcart vendors _ in LA for decades _ might become legal

They seem to be everywhere on the streets of Los Angeles — pushcarts and tables filled with everything from hot dogs and tamales to toys and tools.

You're a tourist in Hollywood with a phone that's about to die and no charger? No problem. There should be someone nearby selling them.

You're craving a freshly made pupusa, a Salvadoran delicacy made with a corn tortilla stuffed with salsa, beans, cabbage and other tasty things? Yeah, you can get that, too.

Such sales are illegal, although the law is rarely enforced.

Now, after a decade of debate and compromise, the Los Angeles City Council will consider an ordinance today that would grant permits to sidewalk vendors, allowing them to come out of the legal shadows and putting the city on the same footing as New York and Chicago on the issue.

An estimated 50,000 vendors peddle their wares along Los Angeles sidewalks and in parks and other public places, hawking souvenir hats, sunglasses, T-shirts, purses and other merchandise, as well as food from countries all over the world.

Many are immigrants eking out modest livings who have pushed for years for the change.

Dawn Kamber