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Southwest Mobile Storage - Best Mobile Storage & Office Containers In Santa Ana, CA

Southwest Mobile Storage is a family-owned shipping container business founded in 1995. Our strength for more than 25 years comes from the specialized knowledge and passion of our people, along with serving over 24,000 commercial, construction and residential customers. Our facility and expertise in maintaining, manufacturing, and delivering corrugated steel containers is unrivaled in the industry.

While the rental side of our business is regional with branches throughout the Southwest, our container sales and modification operations are nationwide and becoming global. Santa Ana, CA offers a wide selection of portable offices and mobile storage containers you can rent, buy or modify.

Our experts in container rental, sales and customization are committed to providing you the highest quality and best experience from service to delivery - our reputation depends on it.

Whether your need is for storage, office space, moving, multi-purpose or custom use, we've got your back. Here's how:

Storage Containers Santa Ana, CA



We bring your storage container to you for convenient, easy access at your home, business or jobsite. Plus, you'll get more choice in storage space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of a pod or add on building, saving money and energy.


Not enough room to keep a storage container at your business, home or construction site? No problem - we can store it for you. Plus, you get 70% more space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of public storage units.


Need a permanent storage solution for your business, residence or construction? We sell new and used shipping containers in many sizes with a variety of add-ons. Or customize a container to your specific storage needs with our certified fabrication experts.


Take your time packing with our moving containers. We'll deliver to your business or home and pick it up whenever you're ready to move. So, you don't have to stress about moving or making multiple trips in one day, like if you rented a moving truck.


Our moving container solutions ensure the long-distance move of your home or business is highly efficient and affordable throughout the southwest. In fact, we usually cost 20%-40% less than full-service movers.


We understand move-in and move-out dates might be different. We can store your moving container at our highly secure facilities until you're ready to move to your new home or business location, and you can conveniently access it at any time.


Whether you need a workspace, conference room, or other office requirement, our ground-mounted mobile offices meet any and all of your business needs. Plus, it's faster and easier than building additions.


If you need your shipping container to serve multiple uses, such as office-storage combos, breakrooms and even utilities, we've got you covered. We'll modify a custom container to fit your business needs and bring your business to the next level


We'll create a custom container to fit your unique needs anywhere in the US. With our container modification expertise, we make any idea a reality. From pop-up stores to multi-story structures, our unrivaled facilities and fabrication experts do it all.

You'll get your own dedicated storage and container expert to serve as your one point of contact for easy, convenient service you can trust.
With our wide selection of intermodal containers for sale and rent, you'll find exactly what you need, from size, to type and condition.
We maintain our rental fleet to the highest standard - our integrity depends on it.
Our certified, experienced Conex container modification experts have more than 500 years combined experience modifying ISO containers.
All of our containers come with high security dual-locking system for no additional charge, so you can rest assured your stored items stay safe and that you don't have to pay extra for it.
At our unrivaled 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility, ensuring your custom shipping container is made exactly to your specifications.
With our level of service, quality and expertise, you won't find a better value anywhere else.
Our portable offices include lighting and electrical outlets, internet hookups, HVAC and were crafted by our in-house steel container fabrication experts for top-quality construction.

Premium Quality - High Security

With Southwest Mobile Storage, you get much more than a POD or typical Conex box. You also get high security, unparalleled service and unmatched container modification expertise and facilities. No other company offers that much.

Shipping containers and storage containers come in a range of sizes. The most common external lengths are 20ft and 40ft with a width of 8ft. ISO Containers are typically 8ft 6in tall, but high cube containers are 9ft 6in tall. We also have steel containers in a variety of sizes from 10ft long to 45ft long to rent or buy, and we can modify shipping containers into any size you want.

 Rent Storage Containers Santa Ana, CA

SMS Mobile Storage Containers have these high quality features:

1/8" thick steel plate bottom side rails
High strength steel supporting cross members
1 1/8" thick hardwood floor with galvanized self-tapping screws
16-gauge corrugated steel walls
16-gauge roof
270-degree swing cargo door(s)
High security dual-locking system*
Spot-grinded, primed & repainted with a beige high-grade water reducible alkyd direct-to-metal enamel*
* Comes standard on all rental units

SMS portable workspace containers have these structural features:

High security window bars, lever & deadbolt set with lock box
Studs & R-19 Insulation covered with wood paneling
1 1/8" marine board floor is covered with a durable single part gray epoxy coating
Dual pane low-E horizontal sliding windows with screens and miniblinds
18 Gauge steel polystyrene core 3-hour fire rated personnel door
All of our workspaces are manufactured in-house and arrive new or restored to factory specifications
Exterior load center operating on 100 Amp single phase 230 Volt power
Light switch, receptacles and 4' light fixtures; all wiring is Romex 12/2
CAT-6 voice and data lines with electrical junction box
HVAC units ranging from 1 ton to 2 ton on rentals; ability to customize up to 10 tons of cooling

Having flexible storage containers options is important, but security is crucial to protect your peace of mind and your possessions.

At Southwest Mobile Storage, we don't believe in leaving things to chance. We want you to rest easy knowing your inventory, documents, tools, equipment and other items are safe 24/7. That is why we equip SMS high-security slide bolt locking systems and lockboxes on our entire fleet of rental freight containers.


High-security slide-bolt locking system and extra-long lock box, giving you twice the security and peace of mind.
No holes to ensure your rental shipping container is wind and water-tight.
No rust for your safety.
14-gauge corrugated steel for strength and reinforcement.

Contact us to speak with a helpful, friendly representative to better understand our full range of capabilities. We are happy to answer any questions you have, go over pricing and set up a time and place to deliver your Conex box. Our quotes are 100% free and you are under no obligation to pay for your consultation.


When you own a business or manage one, it's crucial to have efficient, affordable ways to store inventory and supplies, whether it's to grow your business or adapt to changes in the market, like the many caused by the pandemic.

Renting storage containers to keep at your business eliminates the cost and hassles of sending your staff to offsite storage facilities. Steel containers with roll up doors make storing and retrieving items faster and easier. Auto repair shops and other businesses that need easy access throughout the workday to secure storage for tools, parts, equipment or supplies find renting shipping containers to be the best solution for their business storage needs. Southwest Mobile Storage has your back.

 Storage Containers For Rent Santa Ana, CA

Renting portable offices gives your business more workspace, breakrooms, pop up stores, security booths and more, without the cost and red tape associated with constructing building additions. Plus, a steel storage container fits neatly into one parking space and provides much stronger security than Pods and way more convenience than self-storage units.

If you have a specific need, we can modify shipping containers to build whatever you need to grow your business. Whether it's a portable workspace to run your business, like a pop-up container bar, or a durable facility for scientific research, like a container laboratory, or even a container gym, our unrivaled fabrication facility and modification experts got you covered. Our full-time, in-house staff of certified welders, engineers, electricians, carpenters and painters have over 500 years combined experience modifying thousands of container projects for just about any business use you can imagine.


Offsite storage alternatives cause a mess of hassles and headaches. Expanding office space and storage capacity at your location saves time, money and hassle of making multiple trips offsite.
We offer more choice in security, size and features in steel Conex boxes or ISO shipping containers than a public storage unit or Pod for less cost and far greater service.
We offer flexible, month-to-month rental agreements and prorate by the day after your first 28-day billing cycle.
With us, you get a dedicated account manager you can rely on, so you can focus on running your business than waste time with a different person every time you call that doesn't know or care as much.
While other companies may have some staff for modifying containers, most outsource the work, so you don't know who is actually doing the modifications or how much they're marking up the price.
 Mobile Storage Containers Santa Ana, CA
When you modify a shipping container for your business, you won't have to worry about expensive, lengthy and complicated construction.
We have modified thousands of containers nationwide and internationally for more than 25 years for NASA, US Navy, GCP Applied Technologies, Helix and Sundt to name a few. And rent containers to Amazon, Walmart and many of other nationally recognized brands.
Our extensive staff makes it possible to custom build multiple projects simultaneously and our 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility prevents contaminants from interfering with fabrication, which delivers better quality and precision.


With an extensive in-house staff and 90,000 sq ft container modification facility, we're able to deliver consistently high quality and work on multiple projects simultaneously for a fast turnaround.

Other companies don't have the facility, staff or resources to modify shipping containers and will outsource the work to various shops who may not have the special experience or tools needed to modify the right way.

You can rest assured knowing your custom container is safe in our hands. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications through every step of the process.

Renting a moving container from us makes your move much less stressful because you won't have to rush to pack your whole house into a moving truck in one day. Instead, you can take your time packing over the course of a month.

Our ISO shipping containers are weatherproof and come with vault-like security, so you don't have to worry about theft or damage to your belongings.

You won't get that level of security from U-Haul or other moving truck companies.

Renting a storage container at your home keeps your belongings close and gives you convenient 24/7 access, so you're always able to retrieve the contents of your container when you need to.

We know move in and move out dates don't always line up. We can store your packed rental container at our secure facility until your new home is ready.

With our mobile storage containers for rent in Santa Ana, CA, you can save up to 40% when compared to full-service long-distance movers, while gaining more flexibility in your schedule.


We know your needs may change suddenly. With our extensive inventory and variety of sizes of portable offices and shipping containers to rent, buy or modify in Santa Ana, CA, we provide fast service and the best value possible so it's easy for you to get whatever you need when you need it.

Renting storage containers and portable offices from us gives you more flexibility when it comes to your schedule and options. If you don't have enough space at your current location or simply would prefer offsite storage, you can keep your rental storage and office containers at your location or ours - whichever is most convenient for you. You also get more options to choose from when it comes to size and features, like portable offices with divided rooms for private meetings or office/storage combos for storage and office space in one container. All while costing a fraction of the price of a pod or self-storage facility.

You can also buy new or used freight containers from us and choose from a variety of add-ons, including lights, electricity, doors and windows. Or fully customize a shipping container to save time, money and energy by skipping the expensive, lengthy process of constructing building additions. We can modify a Conex box into whatever you can imagine for any use you need, from construction tool cribs to office buildings, monitoring stations, mobile communication towers and much more. The possibilities are endless.


You'll never face hidden fees or surprises with us. We give you transparent billing up front at the best prices.

With us, you get a reliable, dedicated point of contact, who keeps you updated every step of the way. You can rest assured knowing you'll always get what you need, when you need it.

No other company has the breadth and depth of staff and experience that we do when it comes to modifying shipping containers. Our certified welders, engineers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and painters have more than 500 years of combined experience in fabricating custom steel containers.

We prorate your rent by the day after the first 28-day billing cycle, so you don't have to pay for a full month when you only have your mobile containers and offices for a few days.

While other companies may be able to do small container modifications, most don't have an in-house fabrication staff or 90,000 sq ft fabrication facility like we do. As a result, they outsource the work on your custom container, so you don't know who's actually building it.

Rest assured knowing your modified shipping container will be built to the highest quality standards. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors check every step of the fabrication process to ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications.


Whether you're in need of a storage container for your commercial business, a portable office for your construction site, or a moving container for your home, our process is simple and straightforward.

Choose Your Container

Choose the mobile storage solution that works best for your needs. In this step, you will let us know the number of containers you need, their sizes and what types of doors to equip.

Choose Your Options

Let us know if you would like to add any of our rental options, like a folding table or shelving.

Choose Your Security

Choose from padlocks, puck locks and other enhanced security options. All of our storage containers come standard with dual-locking, vault-like security.

Choose Your Delivery Timeframe

You can expect standard delivery within 3-5 days of your order. If you need expedited delivery, we will do everything in our power to accommodate your needs.

Pick-Up Planning

Do you need to keep your shipping container at our location? Prefer to have our team deliver your packed container to a location of your choice? Let us know, and we'll be by your side to work out the logistics.




Let our team know where we should deliver your mobile storage container for rent in Santa Ana, CA. Be sure to let us know if there are any special conditions that might prevent our drivers from entering your chosen destination. Before you schedule your delivery, let us know which direction you would like the doors of your container to face.



Our drivers can deliver your storage container Monday-Friday, between the hours of 6AM and 2PM local time. Our two-hour delivery window is the most precise in the industry. If you desire another delivery time outside of our standard delivery options, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. As a courtesy, our driver will call you at least 30 minutes before they arrive at your drop-off destination.



Before we deliver your Conex box, prepare your delivery area by ensuring that there are no low overhangs, arches, wires, trees or any other obstacles that could interfere with your delivery. It's a good idea to mark the space where you would like your steel container placed.



When our driver arrives, they will back our truck into the space where you would like your shipping container placed. Once we arrive, we will ensure that your container is delivered safely and securely. If placed on asphalt or pavement, we will use wood dunnage pads to make sure your ground surface is protected and the container is level.


Check out our FAQ page or reach out to our helpful customer service team today @

Latest News in Santa Ana, CA

Discovery Cube OC 'Sea Lab & Ocean Encounter' 2023: Santa Ana

Discovery Cube Orange County: Sea Lab & Ocean EncounterOcean Encounter: June 21-Sept. 4, 2023Sea Lab: Open year-round beginning June 21, 2023Discovery Cube Orange County, 2500 N Main St., Santa Ana, CAFrom ...

Discovery Cube Orange County: Sea Lab & Ocean Encounter

Ocean Encounter: June 21-Sept. 4, 2023Sea Lab: Open year-round beginning June 21, 2023

Discovery Cube Orange County, 2500 N Main St., Santa Ana, CA

From Discovery Cube:

"Dive into an unforgettable summer adventure at our brand-new Discovery Cube Sea Lab & Ocean Encounter coming only to Discovery Cube Orange County!

"Experience the thrill of touching a live shark and learn why their skin helps them glide through the water.

"Discover the captivating wonders of a tidepool community and how their diversity supports the entire planet.

"Also, for a limited-time this summer, immerse the whole family in an interactive aquatic wonderland known as Ocean Encounter where you’ll explore all the zones of the ocean and discover what makes them each so unique.

"Don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity to connect with the wonders living just beneath the surface and be inspired to protect the most valuable resource to our coastal community coming June 21 to Discovery Cube Orange County.

"Discovery Cube Sea Lab will open to the public on June 21 and will be available to all Discovery Cube Orange County visitors with paid admission year-round.

"Ocean Encounter will also open on June 21 and will be open to all guests until September 4.

"General admission to Discovery Cube Orange County is $19.95 for adults and $14.95 for children ages 3-14. Members enter Discovery Cube free year-round.

"Established in 1989, the Discovery Cube is an award winning 501(c)(3) nonprofit children’s science museum committed to serving the needs and interests of children, educators, and the community at large."


Image credit: Discovery Cube

Santa Ana's Seaside Escapes: A Guide to the Best Beaches Nearby

Santa Ana, a bustling city in Orange County, California, is not only renowned for its historical landmarks, museums, and picturesque parks, but also for its proximity to some of the most beautiful beaches in Southern California. In this article, we will explore the top beaches near Santa Ana, highlighting their unique features, accessibility, and fascinating histories. Pack your sunscreen and get ready to embark on a coastal adventure!Address: W Oceanfront, Newport Beach, CA 92663Newport Beach, the closest beach to Santa Ana,...

Santa Ana, a bustling city in Orange County, California, is not only renowned for its historical landmarks, museums, and picturesque parks, but also for its proximity to some of the most beautiful beaches in Southern California. In this article, we will explore the top beaches near Santa Ana, highlighting their unique features, accessibility, and fascinating histories. Pack your sunscreen and get ready to embark on a coastal adventure!

Address: W Oceanfront, Newport Beach, CA 92663

Newport Beach, the closest beach to Santa Ana, is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Boasting a pristine stretch of sand, it is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and surfing. The beach is easily accessible, with ample parking options available at nearby lots and meters. Newport Beach has a rich history, dating back to the early 20th century when it served as a popular destination for Hollywood's elite.

Address: 315 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Known as "Surf City USA," Huntington Beach is famous for its consistent surf and vibrant surf culture. Its vast sandy shoreline and iconic pier make it an ideal destination for beach lovers. Parking is available at the beach's multiple lots, with a small fee required during peak hours. Huntington Beach has a storied past, with its surf roots going back to the early 1900s and the establishment of the annual US Open of Surfing competition.

Address: 17851 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA 92649

Bolsa Chica State Beach, a tranquil haven for beachgoers, offers a more laid-back atmosphere compared to its bustling neighbors. Its calm waters make it perfect for swimming and stand-up paddleboarding. Accessible via Pacific Coast Highway, Bolsa Chica State Beach provides ample paid parking and picnic areas. This beach is also home to the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, an important wetland habitat with a rich history dating back thousands of years.

Address: 902 Ocean Ave, Seal Beach, CA 90740

Seal Beach, a charming seaside town, is known for its quaint Main Street, lined with unique shops and eateries. The beach itself is a peaceful retreat, ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and surf fishing. Parking is available in the nearby lots and along residential streets. Seal Beach's rich history includes its former status as a popular amusement park destination in the early 1900s and the presence of the Naval Weapons Station, which played a crucial role during World War II.

Santa Ana's proximity to some of Southern California's most stunning beaches makes it a perfect starting point for memorable coastal excursions. Whether you're drawn to the vibrant surf scene of Huntington Beach, the serene environment of Bolsa Chica State Beach, or the charming atmosphere of Seal Beach, there is a seaside haven waiting to be discovered. With their unique highlights, fascinating histories, and convenient accessibility, these beaches are sure to leave a lasting impression on all who visit.

Santa Ana’s first female mayor and 3 City Councilmembers take office

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Santa Ana’s first female mayor and three City Councilmembers took the oath of office on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at Santa Ana City Hall.Mayor Valerie Amezcua is the first woman elected to the citywide office in Santa Ana’s 153-year history. Newly elected Councilmember Benjamin Vazquez took the oath of office to represent Ward 2, Councilmember Phil Bacerra was sworn in to serve another term for Ward 4, and Councilmember David Penaloza will again represent Ward 6.The new Santa Ana City Council&rsquo...

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Santa Ana’s first female mayor and three City Councilmembers took the oath of office on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at Santa Ana City Hall.

Mayor Valerie Amezcua is the first woman elected to the citywide office in Santa Ana’s 153-year history. Newly elected Councilmember Benjamin Vazquez took the oath of office to represent Ward 2, Councilmember Phil Bacerra was sworn in to serve another term for Ward 4, and Councilmember David Penaloza will again represent Ward 6.

The new Santa Ana City Council’s first official action was to elect Ward 3 Councilmember Jessie Lopez as mayor pro tem. The other members of the City Council are Ward 1 Councilmember Thai Viet Phan and Ward 5 Councilmember Johnathan Ryan Hernandez.

Mayor Amezcua is a former member and president of the Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Education. She is a graduate of the University of La Verne and worked for the Orange County Probation Department for 30 years before retiring as a supervising probation officer in 2017.

“I am humbled and honored that the voters of Santa Ana elected me as their mayor. This wonderful city is my home, and I am ready to work with everyone, from grassroots, businesses, and other elected officials who want to see our city flourish,” Mayor Amezcua said. “We may have complex problems, but I am confident working together we can reach solutions and usher in an amazing new chapter in Santa Ana. Let’s get started!”

Councilmember Vazquez works as a teacher at Valley High School in Santa Ana and is chair of the Board of Directors of El Centro Cultural de Mexico in Santa Ana. Born and raised in Santa Ana, he received his undergraduate degree from Cal State Long Beach and his master’s from UCLA.

“As a councilmember, my focus will be on making sure our limited city-wide resources benefit working-class families and improve quality of life for all Santa Ana residents,” Councilmember Vazquez said. “Our City budgets, policies, and resources need to be centered on nurturing the families and communities of our city, instead of special interest groups. I believe that our City plan and budgets need to reflect a vision that prioritizes working class families.”

Councilmember Bacerra was elected to the City Council in 2019 to represent Ward 4. A graduate of USC with a bachelor’s degree in urban planning, Councilmember Bacerra has worked for various city government agencies, including the City of Los Angeles. He served on the City of Santa Ana’s Planning Commission, General Plan Advisory Group and Historic Resources Commission.

“I look forward to serving the residents of Santa Ana for another four years and continuing the work to make our city safer, address homelessness, provide and enhance municipal services, and advocating for business-friendly policies so that our Golden City will continue to shine,” Councilmember Bacerra said.

Councilmember Penaloza was elected to the City Council in 2018. Born and raised in Santa Ana, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from Cal State Los Angeles. He works as a senior regulatory engineer for Color Science, Inc., a local company specializing in compounding raw materials and resins to produce plastic.

“What an honor it is to be elected to serve the residents of Santa Ana another four years,” Councilmember Penaloza said. “By connecting with thousands of residents this election cycle and hearing their positive feedback, I am confident we’re on the right track. From expanding our parks and libraries, to strengthening our economy and public safety, we’re just getting started. I am looking forward to continue building on the foundation we laid out during my first term.”

The new mayor and councilmembers were elected in the Nov. 8, 2022, General Municipal Election. Under the City Charter, the mayor serves a two-year term and councilmembers’ regular terms are four years.

Watch the City Council installation ceremony at

Watch the full City Council meeting, including farewells to the outgoing former mayor and councilmember, at

6 Fun Facts About Santa Ana: How Well Do You Know Your City?

From its bustling downtown area and thriving arts scene to its historic neighborhoods and beautiful parks, Santa Ana offers a unique blend of urban amenities and natural beauty. With a diverse population, growing economy, and vibrant community, Santa Ana is a city that has something for everyone. Whether you’re a long-term resident or you’re considering moving here, let’s explore some fun...

From its bustling downtown area and thriving arts scene to its historic neighborhoods and beautiful parks, Santa Ana offers a unique blend of urban amenities and natural beauty. With a diverse population, growing economy, and vibrant community, Santa Ana is a city that has something for everyone. Whether you’re a long-term resident or you’re considering moving here, let’s explore some fun facts about Santa Ana.

1. Santa Ana is the county seat of Orange County, CA

Santa Ana secured the title of county seat in 1889 after successful lobbying efforts, establishing itself as the center of political power in the region.

Interested in moving to the area?

Partner with an experienced agent who knows the local market. Contact a Redfin agent 2. The Santora Arts Building is listed in the US National Register of Historic Places

This Santa Ana landmark was built in the 1920s and features Spanish Colonial Revival-style architecture, with stucco walls, red tile roofs, and arched doorways. Over the years, the Santora Building has been home to a variety of businesses, including the popular Daninger’s Tea Room that drew in celebrities for its home cooked meals and great ambiance. Today, the Santora Building is home to restaurants, retail stores, and galleries.

3. Santa Ana was originally developed for cattle grazing and farming

Santa Ana’s farming history dates back to 1769 when a Spanish expedition party leader discovered the stunning valley. The city was used for farming and cattle grazing and known as Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana.

4. Orange County’s oldest courthouse is located in Santa Ana

Located in the historic downtown district of Santa Ana, Old Orange County Courthouse first opened back in 1901. It’s a two-story, Beaux-Arts style building with a dome and clock tower. The interior features marble flooring, stained glass windows, and intricate woodwork.

5. Santa Ana is surrounded by an abundance of natural beauty

Nearby, you’ll find the Santa Ana Mountains, which offer opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, and the Santa Ana River, which is a popular spot for fishing and kayaking.

6. Southern California experiences extreme wind, referred to as the Santa Ana winds

The Santa Ana winds are hot, dry winds that originate in the high-pressure desert regions of the Great Basin and blow towards the California coast, particularly the Southern California region. These winds can increase the risk of wildfires, as they bring low humidity and strong gusts that can quickly spread any sparks or flames.

The Santa Ana winds can also bring uncomfortable conditions with hot temperatures, low air quality, and blowing dust and debris. The winds are most common in the fall and winter months and are a well-known weather phenomenon in the region.

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If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

After Santa Ana’s crackdown on taco stands, council asks California to amend its street vendor laws

The mom-and-pop street vendors — the paleteros, the eloteros, the ladies selling fruits from rolling carts — all good.But those other street vendors from outside Santa Ana, who set up big red tents on sidewalks without the needed permits to sell tacos and other hot foods, are bad for the city, according to local officials.On that, the Santa Ana City Council agreed on Tuesday night. But councilmembers differed on what approach to take next following an ...

The mom-and-pop street vendors — the paleteros, the eloteros, the ladies selling fruits from rolling carts — all good.

But those other street vendors from outside Santa Ana, who set up big red tents on sidewalks without the needed permits to sell tacos and other hot foods, are bad for the city, according to local officials.

On that, the Santa Ana City Council agreed on Tuesday night. But councilmembers differed on what approach to take next following an influx of unpermitted taco stands in the city.

In a 5-2 vote, the council majority adopted a resolution that urges state legislators to amend two laws relating to street vendors, seeking more local control. The resolution asks legislators to amend the laws to give local jurisdictions “the right of self-determination” to enact their own regulations, including rules to maintain sanitary conditions on city sidewalks.

In the resolution, city officials say they want changes to legislation that decriminalized street vending across California as of January 2019, and to another bill that took effect this year, making it easier for smaller vendors to obtain local health permits by, among other things, revising equipment requirements.

The resolution blames the laws for a rise in street vendors — including those selling “food deemed unfit for human consumption” — and who block sidewalks and hinder people with disabilities from using sidewalks, posing a danger to the public’s health and safety.

“The Bills have eliminated key food health and safety requirements intended to keep food safe for public consumption, such as water requirements and handwashing stations, and prohibit the regulation of where food vendors can be located,” the resolution reads in part.

Related: What do Orange County restaurant health inspectors really do?

Sen. Lena Gonzalez who authored Senate Bill 972, the legislation pertaining to health permits for smaller vendors, said the new law “reduces barriers to obtaining a food-vending permit, promotes greater food safety, and improves public health.”

The law, she said Wednesday, does not affect “a local jurisdiction’s ability to regulate sidewalk vending in response to objective health, safety, and welfare concerns. If a particular location is not suitable for sidewalk vending for safety or accessibility reasons, local jurisdictions continue to have the ability to regulate or prohibit vending in those areas.”

Local health officials can also issue administrative citations, she said.

“We must not go back and undo the progress that has been made to achieve a more inclusive food economy that allows all Californians to thrive and achieve their California Dream,” Gonzalez, D-Long Beach, said in an email.

Sidewalk food vendors are typically low-income and immigrant workers.

Late last year, vendors that Santa Ana officials said were coming in from Los Angeles set up taco stands, also run by immigrant workers, on sidewalks under large red tents but without proper permits. The stationary taco stands, some residents complained, took over large sections of sidewalks, involved open flame heating equipment and left food and grease residue behind. During a six-week period, inspectors from the city and the Orange County Health Care Agency shut down more than 100 of them.

Related: Santa Ana, OC health officials shut down more than 100 sidewalk food vendors

“Food vendors who are run by and owned by large corporations from outside of the city of Santa Ana, who know full well that they are violating the law … who flout the regulations and safety protocols and do not care what happens to our water systems, our trash or the safety of our residents, those are the people we are trying to prevent from working here in the city,” Councilmember Thai Viet Phan told colleagues Tuesday.

“I don’t believe any of us are interested in preventing our typical mom-and-pop sidewalk vendors,” she said.

Councilmember Benjamin Vazquez said the resolution was “blaming” the new state law for the recent influx of unpermitted sidewalk taco vendors in Santa Ana. He unsuccessfully sought to amend the resolution to include an educational component, urging Santa Ana to work with the county to implement the latest law while ensuring local vendors are aware of the permit process.

Vazquez also sought to include street vendors listed in the resolution among those the city is looking to protect.

Johnathan Ryan Hernandez, the lone councilmember who supported Vazquez’s proposed amendments, cautioned against taking any action that could hurt street vendors, which make up an important part of the city’s culture.

“I was fed by street vendors my whole life,” Hernandez said. “When I hear that campana (bell), I’m outside. So is my little girl.”

“In theory, this resolution is accomplishing a lot of what our residents are asking for,” Hernandez said. “We don’t want the large corporations coming here and bringing the red tent and corporatizing and monopolizing and pushing us out. We don’t want that in Santa Ana. But what I don’t want is for this resolution to then be weaponized and to turn against food trucks.”

Vazquez and Hernandez voted against the resolution. In support were Phan, Mayor Valerie Amezcua and Councilmembers Phil Bacerra, Jessie Lopez and David Penaloza.


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