on changes to Venice Boardwalk vendor law

Changes to the Venice Beach Boardwalk vendors ordinance will be the topic of a town hall meeting led by Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 18th, at the Oakwood Recreation Center, 767 California Ave., Venice.

“When there is an issue or a controversy, we will hold public meetings and let everything be discussed in the sunshine,” Rosendahl said.

Changes to the ordinance come after a civil rights lawsuit was filed against the City of Los Angeles.

Rosendahl invited officials from the Los Angeles city attorney’s office, the Department of Recreation and Parks and the Los Angeles Police Department to attend the forum and answer questions from the public on the Venice Beach issue.

The Los Angeles City Council repealed parts of the ordinance after vendors opposed to the regulations filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the city.

City attorneys advised councilmembers that parts of the ordinance were “constitutionally infirm and needed to be repealed immediately.”

Attorneys said that provisions forbidding commercial sales on the Venice Beach Boardwalk were “too vague and ambiguous.”

Other provisions of the ordinance regulate the allocation of space, prohibit the setting up of stands before noon and restrict noise.

“I have asked the city attorneys to immediately begin work on a replacement ordinance and they have assured me they will have a new ordinance with a constitutionally defensible definition of commercial activity within a matter of weeks,” Rosendahl said.

“All of the other regulations which bring peace to the neighbors and which make sure that artists, entertainers and free expressionists are not bullied out of their spaces will remain in effect,” he said.

Venice Beach Boardwalk ordinances have been repeatedly amended since the 1990s as a result of court challenges and enforcement issues, Rosendahl noted.