The Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council has requested Los Angeles City officials to try to quicken their effort in amending the city ordinance regulating vending on the Venice Beach Boardwalk.
The Neighborhood Council voted Tuesday, December 13th, to send a letter to 11th District City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, asking him to “act in all due haste” to help reinstate portions of the boardwalk ordinance that are constitutionally protected as determined by the city attorney.
“We want to bring pressure on the City Council to get a new ordinance in effect,” Neighborhood Council president DeDe Audet said.
“We’re trying to press how urgent the issue is because there’s fighting on the boardwalk.”
Rosendahl had organized a Venice town hall meeting in August after the City Council voted to repeal parts of the boardwalk ordinance at the urging of the city attorney.
City attorneys had said that the ordinance provisions forbidding commercial sales on the west side of the Ocean Front Walk were “too vague and ambiguous.”
As a result of a civil rights lawsuit filed by vendors opposed to the ordinance regulations, the city attorney’s office proposed to amend certain parts of the Venice boardwalk ordinance regulating vending.
City attorneys proposed to remove the parts of the ordinance that define commercial vending and amend the ordinance to include a specific definition.
But city attorneys have yet to present the amended ordinance to the public.
Some Ocean Front Walk representatives, including merchants, artists and performers, have expressed concern about recent problems that have occurred on the boardwalk since the removal of portions of the ordinance.
The Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council established the Ocean Front Walk Committee in response to pleas from boardwalk representatives to help resolve the “negative and chaotic” atmosphere that presently exists on the boardwalk, Neighborhood Council members said.
At a meeting of the Ocean Front Walk Committee November 28th, more than 30 people representing the boardwalk community expressed concern over a variety of problems taking place at the boardwalk, primarily alleged illegal vending, said Linda Lucks, committee chair.
The representatives also expressed frustration with the “slow order” in creating a new ordinance, Lucks said.
Other issues addressed included noise pollution, self regulation, fighting for space and the lottery system.
In response to the variety of complaints, the Neighborhood Council chose to send a letter to Rosendahl that covers the overall message of the boardwalk representatives about the current boardwalk situation, council members said.
In its Neighborhood Council letter, members allege:
n threats and intimidation are being used to claim space on the west side of the boardwalk;
n illegal commercial sales are hurting legitimate merchants;
n artists, entertainers and free speech advocates find it harder to exist on the boardwalk due to competition with illegal vendors;
n noise levels are “out of control” on both sides of the boardwalk; and
n Resale should not be allowed on the west side of the boardwalk.
Mike Bonin, Rosendahl chief of staff, said the councilman plans to moderate a third town hall meeting regarding the new boardwalk ordinance and the Grass Roots Neighborhood Council will co-sponsor the event.
The meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m. Tuesday, January 10th, at the Oakwood Recreation Center, Venice.
City attorneys will present the draft ordinance to the public and a proposal that summarizes many of the community concerns, Bonin said.
City officials would then try to have the City Council address the revised ordinance as soon as possible, he said.