Posts Tagged ‘free speech zone’

Happy Holidaze:

Just a quick word to let you know there’s new news & views on the SOV website:

  • An RV Dweller’s Perspective – He may live in his vehicle, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a good Venice neighbor
  • Video: Assistant City Attorney, Mark Brown, spoke with members of the Venice Boardwalk Ocean Front Walk Task Forcemeeting on Wednesday, Nov 10, 2010
  • VNC Town Hall on December 2nd!
  • …and more at: http://www.spiritofvenice.net

    Peace,
    SOV

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    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.

    An interesting development in the question of the constitutionality of the permit system currently in use on Venice Boardwalk. 

    It appears that a previous US District Court case:  Berger v. City of Seattle in which “Magic Mike” got the City of Seattle to back down on the permit requirement for street performers at the Seattle Center has recently been overturned by the Ninth Circuit of Appeals Court (scroll down page to Berger v. City of Seattle for Court decision PDF)

    For those of us who oppose the permit/lottery on Venice Boardwalk this may come as a disappointing blow to our hopes of retaining  our First Amendment right to exercise Free Expression without prior restraint.  I believe this trend will now reverberate throughout the cities of this land where valiant souls have been fighting similar permit restrictions, and winning.  The problem is, whenever a favorable decision is made in a lower court it can be appealed, as in this case, almost two years later, and have far reaching consequences.

    Now, if they ever secretly doubted their “right” to impose a permit restriction on Free Expressionists in the Free Speech Zone, the City of Los Angeles is forever vindicated.  The only way this latest decision could be overturned would be in the U.S. Supreme Court where it would stand the proverbial “snowball’s chance in hell” scenario.  Nope, I think this is it.  The days of “first-come-first-served” spontaneous free expression in the once legendary “Free Speech Zone” on Venice Boardwalk are over — and if you want to point a finger of blame just check out the number of “commercial” vendors who proliferate in what has become a swap-meet jungle in our beloved Free Speech Zone.