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Venice Boardwalk, Regulated

Not that Angelenos often find themselves sauntering down the Venice boardwalk, but in case you did this past weekend, you might have noticed something slightly different: fewer crazies performers and fewer crap craft vendors. As of Saturday, the City’s “Free Speech Protection” ordinance went into effect.

The new law requires artists and organizations that wish to set up on Ocean Front Walk participate in a weekly lottery for spaces marked out on the beach side of the boardwalk. It prohibits vendor's sale of commercial products, limits the size of displays, and cracks down on excessive noise produced by either boardwalk performers or merchant's sound systems. The ordinance came about after nearby residents complained about excessive noise from the whack jobs musicians and after many rent-paying vendors felt unfair competition from sidewalk vendors. Apparently the henna tattoo market for Midwestern tourists is saturated! The City responded by restricting sidewalk vendors, and then calling it “Free Speech Protection.” Brilliant spin on that one. Now, we’re not First Amendment scholars, but we’re pretty certain that does not qualify as “protecting” free speech.
· A Quiet Launch Meets New Boardwalk Regulations [Venice Paper]