Hot Dog Wars In Bethlehem, Pa.

The battle over the fate of hot dog vendors, and all street vendors, for that matter, goes before Bethlehem’s city council tonight.  A new ordinance could clear the way for them to do business, but only under certain conditions

>> REPORTER: The city solicitor’s office tells us that Mayor Callahan’s administration proposed this ordinance to bring order to the situation. After three food vendors popped up in Bethlehem over the past month, city leaders want to put parameters in place for the vendors to do business. 

>> REPORTER: Rainy weather is likely the reason why hot dog vendors stayed home this afternoon. This corner is where two vendors set up shop over a month ago, sparking debate over who can sell goods and where. 

>> REPORTER: Inside local businesses, merchants are debating the ordinance designed to regulate vendors in Bethlehem. Andy Po, owner of Homebase Skateshop, says it all on this t-shirt: he has no beef with the outdoor merchants. 

>> ANDY PO/OWNER, HOMEBASE SKATESHOP: “If that’s what the ordinance is trying to do, is make a fair business community, then I’m all for it.” 

>> ALISON LEIGH/ESKANDALO: ” I believe there should be a certain number of food carts allowed.” 

>> REPORTER: City leaders propose that 5 licenses should be awarded to the highest bidders. There would be 5 locations in the city for vendors to set up shop. 

>> ANTHONY SPAGNOLA/OWNER, SOTTO SANTI: “It’s all malarkey, it’s all not necessary, and you’re trying to set some kind of standard which is good, but again it’s going to who has the most money.” 

>> REPORTER: This controversy initially took shape over a month ago, when Edwin Padilla set up a hot dog stand at 4th and New streets in Bethlehem. He had a two week permit from the city to sell hot dogs, when it expired, he stayed put in his parking spot, paying fines when the meter ran out. Local merchants protested. And now, the city is stepping in. 

>> REPORTER: I spoke on the phone with David Grant, the second hot dog vendor to set up on the south side. He says he will continue to do business as the ordinance is debated. We reached out to Mr. Padilla’s lawyer, he didn’t return our call. Padilla, by the way, is recovering from injuries he sustained in a hit-and-run car accident yesterday.

Go to wfmz for the video


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