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Angeles County | Venice

Code Revisions OKd in Bid to Crack Down on Boardwalk Sales

January 23, 1998

The Los Angeles City Council has passed a motion to change the city's municipal code to ban commercial sales along the city-owned west side of the Venice Boardwalk, officials said.

The mile-long strip, which stretches between Rose and Windward avenues, has long been a haven to street performers and vendors. But in recent years, street sales had gotten out of hand, said Niki Tennant, a spokeswoman for councilwoman Ruth Galanter, whose district includes Venice.

"We had everything from people selling TVs to racks of T-shirts and it was beginning to look like a swap meet," Tennant said.

In August 1997, a federal court overturned a 1991 city ordinance that limited sales on the boardwalk's west side to registered nonprofit organizations and newspapers, saying it violated the 1st Amendment's free speech protections.

Under the reworded measure, vendors may sell constitutionally protected materials, said Byron Boeckman, assistant city attorney, but may offer other merchandise for donations only.

The city attorney's office will rewrite the ordinance and submit it to the City Council for approval within a month, Boeckman said.

He said the city attorney's office has not yet decided whether to appeal the 9th Circuit appeals court's decision to the Supreme Court, but in the meantime, the city ordinance will be rewritten to conform with that decision and with the motion passed by the council Tuesday.

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