The proposed revised ordinance regulating free speech activities and commercial vending and noise on the Venice Ocean Front Walk is moving forward, and Los Angeles Councilmember Bill Rosendahl released the latest revisions on Friday, March 28.
Following Rosendahl’s February Town Hall meeting on the draft ordinance, crafted under the supervision of a federal judge hearing a legal challenge to the existing ordinance [Santa Monica Mirror, February 14-20], changes have been made to the proposal incorporating many suggestions from members of the community. The latest revisions were drafted by the City Attorney’s office and reviewed by the judge.
Although the new changes are relatively minor, they include the interspersing along Ocean Front Walk of “P Zones” for performers, advocates who are speaking or petitioning, and vendors selling items with a “pure speech” message (such as newspapers, leaflets, and buttons) with “I Zones” for artists and vendors of expressive items created by the vendor.
All but five larger performance spaces are now 10’ by 8’, and the boardwalk layout creates separate zones where sound amplification is prohibited or permitted to mitigate noise traveling into residential corridors. Spaces for vending of “expressive items” in Windward Plaza have been eliminated to mitigate noise concentration and congestion, and the number of spaces for “expressive activity” has been reduced from 120 to 100.
The current drafts of the ordinance, program rules, and space allotments for activities on Ocean Front Walk can be found on the “Hot Topics” section of councilmanrosendahl.com.
Mike Newhouse, President of the Venice Neighborhood Council, and Ira Koslow, who chairs the council’s Ocean Front Walk Committee, both reported that the new revisions have not been considered by the Council and it has yet taken no position on them. But Newhouse said, “The great thing about this [proposal] is that we clearly had an ordinance several years ago that was not working well – for residents, businesses, or performers – and this represents a much more common sense approach to the situation.”
The proposal is tentatively scheduled to be considered at the Los Angeles City Council meeting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 9, in the John Ferraro Council Chambers, 3rd Floor, City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.