County vendor ban dies without vote

(Source: Pima County Board of Supervisors)
(Source: Pima County Board of Supervisors)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Pima County remains one of the few places where vendors can sell their wares in medians after the supervisors failed to even hold a vote on a proposed ordinance that would have banned the practice.

Speakers at the county supervisors meeting pleaded with the members not to pass the ordinance, saying they or people they knew made their living selling things this way.

Supervisor Ally Miller said the issue was about safety and money.

"If we don't pass this ordinance and knowingly allow those individuals to continue in Pima county, I believe we will assume the exposure for liability if someone is seriously injured or killed," said Ally Miller, District 1 supervisor who proposed the ordinance.

She also pointed out that Phoenix, Maricopa County, Oro Valley, Marana, and Tucson have all passed bans.

But when she made the motion to pass the ordinance, there was a uncomfortable silence on the board until the Chair, District 2 Supervisor Ramone Valadez announced the "motion failed for lack of a second."

"I cannot support this ordinance and I will not," said District 5 Supervisor Richard Elias said.  "My parents taught me to be fair to people and recognize their right to make a living and work hard for it."

Tucson activist Brian Flagg and Primavera Executive Peggy Huchison both spoke out against it.

"These are humans who need to be treated like humans, Flagg said.

"These are people who want to make a little money to survive," Huchison said.

But by not voting on the ordinance, the county is taking the approach that it would be more costly to deprive vendors of a way to make money.

A factor cited by the county in choosing to leave things as they are is that in the past 10 years, there have been 20,000 accidents at Pima County intersections and only two of them involved people selling from the median.

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