The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Tuesday that aims to limit commercial vending on the Venice Beach boardwalk. The popular tourist destination attracts about 16-million visitors annually. But battles between residents and street vendors have been brewing for years. Now, city officials say there's been an uptick in crime, caused in part by vendors fighting over boardwalk spaces.
Earlier attempts to regulate vendors were thrown out by a federal court, because they were found to be unconstitutional. Under the new law, vendors will be prohibited only from selling items with more than 'nominal utility,' which includes clothing, incense, candy and jewelry. Performers and artists, however, can still sell their artwork, in addition to bumper stickers, leaflets, buttons and books. Mayor Villaraigosa has 10 days to sign the ordinance. If he does, it remains to be seen whether implementing these new rules will help.
To what extent can street vendors be blamed for crimes in the area? What's the best way to deal with these various problems? Is the wacky, colorful culture for which Venice Beach is so well-known worth preserving? What's the best way to balance the safety of residents and visitors with the rights of vendors and performers to express themselves?
Bill Rosendahl, Los Angeles City Councilman, District 11, which includes Venice, Brentwood, Del Rey, Mar Vista, Marina del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Palms, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, West LA and Westchester
Linda Lucks, President, Venice Neighborhood Council
Captain Jon Peters, Los Angeles Police Department Commanding Officer for Pacific Area, which includes Venice Beach
Jingles, vegan and animal rights activist on the Venice Boardwalk, where he was also a busker for many years