A boom in unpermitted, illegal food, beverage, and goods sales around Fisherman's Wharf has led to widespread complaints from business owners and others. But depending on which agency or government entity you ask, there seems to be a kicking of the can back and forth about whose responsible for cracking down.
ABC 7/KGO reported this week that San Francisco is "cracking down" on illegal vendors, some of whom have reportedly been selling alcohol to minors off of folding tables, among other infractions. And Hoodline reported last month on the booming black market for drinks and more, noting that the Port of San Francisco essentially barred other local entities from doing anything about it.
Randall Scott, the executive director of the Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District, told KPIX last month, "There’s no ID-checking so, literally, a minor can walk up and buy alcohol. The alcohol is a new factor, they’ve taken it to the next level."
And local business owner Bob Partrite of Simco Restaurants tells KGO, "We are paying all of our taxes, permitting fees and licensing fees and we get inspected by the health department or local organizations and these people come and set up shop and are able to sell without having any of the things a business is supposed to have."
Supervisor Aaron Peskin tells KGO that he's working with the Port on a Vendor's Program that "brings us into compliance with state law while restoring the City's ability to ensure the highest standards for public health and safety." But it doesn't sound as though the program has gotten off the ground, and it's unclear if any agents of the Port are doing any crackdowns of their own.
The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), which would typically act as cops in matters of booze sales to minors, confirms to KGO that some unknown number of citations have been issued to illegal vendors. But, the ABC says, "Since these vendors are not licensed by ABC, the department does not have authority to discipline these business." And, they add, "ABC forwards any misdemeanor criminal citations to local District Attorneys for possible prosecution. Any punishment would be determined through the criminal justice system."
KGO didn't seek comment from the DA's Office, but they did go to the Department of Public Health to see if they have any concerns about the unpermitted food that's being sold.
"Over the past year, we have worked with the Port of San Francisco and the Department of Public Works to provide vendors in the Fisherman's Wharf area with information on how to keep food safe, obtain permits for approved food sales, and how comply to with current regulations," DPH said in a statement. "When necessary, we have also given warnings to unpermitted vendors following enforcement operations."
So, there you have it! Time to set up shop and sell Pisco sours to unwitting tourists.
Top image: TheWharfSF/Twitter