Yesterday, April 9, 2008, thirteen (13) City Council members voted to amend LAMC 42.15 that regulates Venice Boardwalk.  Noticeably missing from the text of the new ordinance were the words “FREE SPEECH ZONE”.  What does that mean to US?
Here’s what it means:  what was once a world-renowned historic, designated First Amendment protected Free Speech Zone, a public forum, stretching the length of Venice Boardwalk and beyond –  has been usurped by the City of Los Angeles to accomodate developers who are sizing up (and planning) how they are going to transform Venice Beach into a “desirable destination” for global jetsetters and speculators..
 
At the meeting yesterday, I was surprised to hear one of the developers associated with the Thornton Court luxury condos, directly adjacent the boardwalk, request that the “noise” decibel level be lowered to accomodate his clients.  He had a markedly British accent and I just couldn’t resist thinking about how the British pound is worth twice the American dollar and I wondered “Is this the new British invasion?”  Where’s the tea?
 
You can take the Free Speech Zone out of Venice but you can’t take Venice out of the Free Speech Zone.  Aside from adverse repercussions to local artists and activists, especially the ones who have been fighting for the First Amendment for the past three years, the bigger and more significant crime that is being committed is the erosion and commercialization of the First Amendment
YES, THAT’S RIGHT I SAID IT – commercialization – diluting and polluting the true meaning of those halowed words that have carried this nation and its people for over 200 years!
Are you going to allow this to happen?  If so, just let me know and I’ll stop what I’m doing and go on vacation — because it takes more than one or two people to make a difference in this world.  Here’s what you can do – send an email to each council member expressing your distaste for their treachery.
YES, THAT’S RIGHT I SAID IT – treachery (Merriam-Webster: “violation of allegiance or of faith and confidence”) and there’s more to come, no doubt. Go here to find their contact info: http://www.lacity.org/council.htm
AND send an email to Mayor Villaraigosa before April 18 telling him to veto the newly amended Venice Boardwalk ordinance.http://www.lacity.org/mayor/myrwm.htm He used to be an ACLU attorney and he should be standing up for the First Amendment and the US Constitution, not having extra-marital affairs!  This is a national issue, not just local.  If we lose the Free Speech Zone – that’s it folks.  All public space across America will be up for grabs and you know who’s going to be buying, as the dollar disappears down the toilet — yes, that’s right, flushed away with the Constitution of the United States of America – the rest of the world will be beating a pathway to snatch up a piece of the American pie.
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