Hot Dogs to go?

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Hot Dogs to go?

CREATED Jul 10, 2012

Reporter: Craig Smith

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A food fight is boiling over on Fourth Avenue over the hot dog carts---the ones that do a brisk business when the bars are closing.

A lot of late night partiers on 4th Avenue relish going to a cart for a hot dog; especially after the bars close for the night.  But the 4th Avenue Merchants Association says carts on the sidewalks bring a side order of trouble.

Sidewalks are the arteries that keep 4th Avenue healthy. But merchants complain food carts can clog those arteries.

John Sedwick , the director of the 4th Avenue Merchants Association says when the bars close,  drunks decide a hot dog sounds good,  and bad things start happening.

"You tend to get arguments going on and some physical fights.   We've had guns discharged.   We've had people thrown through the windows. It's a dangerous situation we're very concerned about."

Sedwick says the everyday concern is how food stands block the sidewalk and can generate loads of garbage some one else ends up cleaning up.
Any attempt to throw out the street vendors would apply just to the ones on city sidewalks.
Sammy Zermeno has a business called Baja Dogs.  He thinks his hot dog cart will be okay because he rents space in a private parking lot but he still worries efforts to clean up sidewalk vendors could affect him.
He says he's careful to clean trash and is pretty good at keeping customers orderly.

KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked: "But you can control it at least to some degree?

Sammy Zermeno: "Oh yeah. I think when you feed people especially at that time of night if you ask them nicely, you're assertive about it yeah they'll comply and they'll work with you."

Space on the sidewalk is a special concern now that streetcar construction is taking up extra space.
Right now City Council is considering limiting sidewalk vendors during construction or banning them outright.