Ordinance Would Ban Curbside Vendors In Nashville

Posted: 6:06 PM, Jan 03, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-03 19:58:08-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vendors could soon be banned from selling from public right-of-ways, like sidewalks, to drivers in their vehicles if a new Metro ordinance is passed.

The new rule, sponsored by Metro Councilman Steve Glover, would stop anyone from entering the right-of-way to either ask for money from or to sell a product to a driver.

"I'm talking about people who are intentionally standing out in the medians, creating that kind of issue," sad Glover. "What I'm trying to do is give police a clear direction of what is acceptable and what is not."

The rule would impact anyone who sells to drivers. However, it specifically mentions the sale of newspapers, magazines or periodicals in its text.

Some fear this would have an impact on The Contributor vendors who often sell the non-profit paper from street corners in Metro Nashville.

Councilman Glover said those vendors would not be able to sell to cars, but wouldn't be banned from selling their paper in the city.

"It's not about a newspaper. It's about people standing in the street, going out into the Right-of-ways," he said.

However, those who sell the newspapers say this is going to make a lot of people homeless. The Contributor hires people who are homeless or who are in poverty to sell the newspapers for $2.

"Contributor gives you something to do. Where I can go out here, sell a paper for two dollars," said The Contributor vendor Shawn Lesley. "Meet wonderful beautiful people everyday, get in character, do better, get in character be better, get in character, want better. That's what the Contributor does for you. Everyday on this corner, I feel like I'm blessed."

Lesley has sold papers for The Contributor on Music Row for nearly nine years. He said it keeps him out of trouble and has even allowed him to start his own T-shirt business.

"I want the person that thinks that we should stop this, come out here with me. And see how people treats you. All of the positive. There ain't no negative. I don't think he's ever been poor. I don't think he's ever lived on the streets," said Lesley.

The ordinance is on its first reading in Metro Council.