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Punta Gorda merchants who question the wisdom of a proposal to allow vending carts on city streets need only look to Bradenton to see their fears confirmed.
Merchants in that city are protesting a proliferation of carts, mostly hot-dog vendors, especially around the courthouse.
Their concerns mirror those of some in Punta Gorda.
"These vendors don't pay gas and electric bills. They don't pay employees. They don't pay land taxes," said Lawton Smith, owner of Council's Bradenton Recreation Parlor. "All these restaurants in the area are struggling to make a living. We don't need people out there nickel-and-diming us to death."
The Punta …