Page One

University to 86 area food vendors

By Kurtis Alexander, Daily Planet Staff
Friday May 24, 2002

City Council considers new regulations as well 


Toyoko Yoshino has been serving Japanese food at the gateway of the UC campus, off Telegraph Avenue, for three decades. 

Her kitchen is a wheeled cart that loosely resembles a little house, minus the tires, one might find in the countryside of Okinawa. Yoshino offers more than 25 food items on her sidewalk menu, most which cost less than $5. Chicken teriyaki, she says, has been the most popular dish of her 30-year-old cuisine. 

New street vending policies in Berkeley, though, may have Yoshino scrambling up some changes to her time-honored food cart, if not to her recipes, to her location. 

“My cart has wheels. I can pack it up in a minute,” Yoshino said accommodatingly. 

Campus on the city’s list of vending spots, and city officials themselves have begun pushing for tighter regulation of food vendors within city limits. 

The impact will be no city-licensed vendors on the UC campus, at least for the short term as well as uncertainty about where city officials will allow future food vending on city lands. 

A city ordinance, approved by City Council in its first reading this week, puts the city manager’s office in charge of overseeing food vending policy, eliminating the current committee that governs vendors, and redefines the standards, fees, and licensing terms for street carts. 

Although the ordinance, put forth by the city manager’s office, was initially slated to cover the entire city, council voted by a narrow 5-4 vote to limit its scope to the two already-designated food vending sites on Bancroft Way, at the junctions of Telegraph Avenue and College Avenue. 

“I don’t want the ordinance to go citywide without getting neighborhood input,” said Councilmember Polly Armstrong, who authored the amended measure. Neighbors along Bancroft Way have already shared their input on the measure, she noted. 

Under the new ordinance, Yoshino’s food cart and those of her neighbors, which have shuffled between university and city property, could likely secure legal positions on the same sidewalk or merely shift to a nearby city sidewalk, according to the city’s Senior Management Analyst A. Robin Orden. 

But there is some question. 

“There are legal issues about how far from the university’s right of way we can permit vendors, if the university decides they want to wipe them out,” said Councilmember Kriss Worthington. 

Worthington explained that, since the city’s new ordinance doesn’t apply to other areas of the city, the only sites where vending can legally occur, once the ordinance takes effect, is along Bancroft, and legal challenges may jeopardize these sites. 

“There might be no vendors anywhere in Berkeley,” said Worthington, who opposed the change to the ordinance that narrowed its realm. 

Adoption of the new ordinance, as determined by council, would effectively abolish the current ordinance and the vending sites it establishes. 

Councilmember Armstrong, though, suggested that the city intends to expand the scope of the new ordinance, meaning adding more vending sites, once public input can be heard from neighborhoods where the ordinance is being considered. 

“I love the food carts and I patronize them regularly,” Armstrong said. 

The city is expected to consider final adoption of the new vending ordinance next month. At the university, officials remain in the process of deciding what food vending policy will be enacted on campus. 

Currently, there are only four food vendors operating on public right-of-ways in Berkeley. All of the vendors are along Bancroft Way. 


Contact reporter at