L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl has called a town hall meeting on Thursday night, August 18, at which city officials will explain changes in the Venice Beach vending ordinance that were prompted by a civil rights lawsuit.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Oakwood Recreation Center, 767 California Drive in Venice. Rosendahl has asked representatives from the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office, the Department of Recreation & Parks, and the Los Angeles Police Department to attend and answer questions from the public.
Last week, on the recommendation of the City Attorney’s office, the Los Angeles City Council repealed parts of the ordinance regulating vending on the west side of Venice’s fabled Ocean Front Walk, as they were “constitutionally infirm” and needed to be repealed immediately.
The repeal followed the filing of a First Amendment suit against the city by some vendors.
Specifically, the Council voted unanimously to repeal provisions forbidding commercial sales on the west side of the boardwalk.
“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.
In the meantime, city officials said the other provisions of the boardwalk ordinance – regulating the allocation of space, prohibiting setting up stands before noon, restricting noise – remain in place and will be enforced.
“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 their spaces will remain in effect” Rosendahl said. “I am pleased that officials with Recreation & Parks and the Los Angeles Police Department remain committed to that mission.”
The city’s rules and regulations governing the west side of Venice Beach’s Ocean Front Walk have been repeatedly amended since the early 1990s as a result of court challenges and enforcement issues.“This is an example of how I intend to govern,” Rosendahl said. “When there is an issue or a controversy, we will hold public meetings and let everything be discussed in the sunshine.”