The Dec. 10 Metro section brought the news that D.C. Council member Jim Graham wants to cut back on sidewalk vendors in Adams-Morgan because, he says, the vendors don't respect our laws. He is responding to shop owners who complain that the vendors park in loading zones or spend all day in metered spaces.
As most residents of Adams-Morgan know, however, the most flagrant violations of parking rules are committed on weekend nights, when every bus stop along the main streets and every corner on the side streets is parked in by cars driven into the neighborhood by those enjoying our night life. These violations interfere much more with neighborhood life, because they make it more difficult for residents and visitors to use Metro buses. But because these drivers are patronizing businesses with clout, there is no campaign to crack down on their parking violations.
Street vendors are not a politically favored group. As entry-level business people, they are not organized and even may be ineligible to vote. Moreover, the campaign to clear them out is shortsighted. People who want rows of restaurants and clubs can find that in Ballston and Bethesda. The vendors are part of what makes Adams-Morgan different--and thus attractive to tourists and residents of other neighborhoods with less character.
PAUL ALAN LEVY