Posts Tagged ‘visitor’

The commission says cities’ nighttime closures are illegal without state approval. The first big fight is shaping up in Los Angeles, which says the panel has little authority over local statutes.

The California Coastal Commission is taking aim at beach curfews established by cities up and down the coast, saying they are illegal without state approval and that people have a right to be on the sand whenever they want.

The first major battle is brewing in Los Angeles, where the coastal agency has told the city that its longstanding midnight-to-5 a.m. curfew barring the public from beaches, piers and oceanfront parks from Will Rogers State Beach to Cabrillo Beach violates the state Coastal Act and must be relaxed.

Coastal Commission Executive Director Peter Douglas said he’d like to forge compromises with Los Angeles and other cities for narrower curfews that would extend beach hours and grant exceptions for recreational activities while addressing proven public safety concerns. Already, Laguna Beach has changed its curfew rules since the commission raised objections.

“There are a lot of people who want to use the beach, which they have a constitutional right to do, in the middle of the night,” Douglas said. “You don’t preclude the public from that use without a good justification — a good reason — and we have to be able to look at that.”

The new push is likely to renew debate over coastal access, with beach cities arguing that the curfews are needed to ward off late-night crime on the sand. Coastal Commission officials argue that crime has dropped significantly in the last decade while demand for time on the beach has increased.

City officials in Los Angeles said they had no intention of weakening a curfew that’s been on the books for decades. The city attorney’s office said that the curfew was meant to deter crime and that the state didn’t have the authority to challenge the statute. For complete story: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-beach-curfew-20101117,0,1192398,full.story

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June 21, 2010
Breaking News
by Tibby Rothman, Venice Paper

Venice– Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has added his name to the California Coastal Commission’s in rejecting an agreement that would pave the way for permit parking in Venice.

His actions add a new player to the highly contentious permit parking battle. A debate that has seen charged rhetoric from those at its edges but calm discussion and disagreement amongst the preponderance of ordinary Venetians both for and against. While some Venetians see permit parking as a tactic to end the practice of mobile homes plaguing the area, others have protested it as an unwelcome layer of expense and bureaucracy.

On June 17, Villaraigosa rejected city council approval of a plan that could lead to permit parking in the area. (The Coastal Commission had rejected the same plan a week earlier.) His measured letter to the council stated that homelessness was a city-wide problem that needed to be addressed on a city-wide level. He also sought to differentiate between those on the streets because they had been hit hard by economic conditions, and those who simply sought it as a lifestyle.

The development pits the Mayor’s office against City Attorney Carmen Trutanich who had sided with the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation on the issue. The foundation is part of a law suit which supports permit parking in the area. The foundation is a strange bedfellow for supposedly liberal Venice. Amongst its other issues, the foundation is supporting legal efforts to repeal the recently passed federal health care reform bill.

Here’s the text of the Mayor’s letter to the City Council stating his position:

June 17, 2010

Honorable Members of the Los Angeles City Council
clo City Clerk
City Hall, Room 395
Re: CF 10-0843. Venice Stakeholders Association v. California Coastal Commission; City of Los Angeles v. California Coastal Commission; Settlement Agreement

Honorable Members:
Today I return without signature Council File 10-0843, which approves a settlement agreement that would allow for the initiation of overnight parking districts (OPDs) in the community of Venice in West Los Angeles.

I am taking this step in light of the June 10, 2010 decision of the California Coastal Commission to reject the City’s latest application for the establishment of Overnight Parking Districts in the Venice coastal zone. This decision has the practical effect of voiding the settlement agreement and making the City Council’s action moot.

Though technically a parking issue, the underlying issue is the growing number of residents that dwell in vehicles on our City streets. As a City, I believe we have the ability to differentiate between the needs of those legitimately suffering from economic dislocation who are in need of safe places to park and help in obtaining services and housing, and those who are taking unfair advantage of both the system and the historically welcoming tradition of the Venice community by creating nuisances and sometimes committing crimes. We can combine compassion and pragmatism with appropriate measured law enforcement to avoid the further victimization of both the housed and the un-housed populations of Venice.

Homelessness and economic dislocation are issues in every part of Los Angeles, not to mention the region, state and nation. I applaud Councilman Rosendahl for his efforts on issues of homelessness and support his proposal to create safe-haven public parking areas for people who are willing to accept homeless-related services. Programs in Eugene, OR and Santa Barbara, CA have been very successful at bridging this gap. Such a program could provide a number of locations that are dispersed throughout the region, where services could be provided and allow for people to impose overnight parking restrictions without taking away some of the last housing options that some people have.

In this case, and all over our City, it’s time we embraced the challenge and began working toward real solutions, not those that push problems from one block to another, from one neighborhood to another. We can do better, and we must do better.

Therefore, I am returning this file without signature and hope that we can work together to find an appropriate solution for this important and growing problem.

June 18, 2010

From: Arturo Pina
Subject: Message from Councilmember Rosendahl
Sent: Jun 11, 2010 3:51 PM

“I am very disappointed that the California Coastal Commission rejected a settlement proposal that would have given residents of Venice the same ability to regulate street parking as every other community on the California coast. The proposal would have simultaneously given residents local control and increased visitor access to the beach.

Despite this setback, I am determined to use every tool at my disposal to help Venice residents regulate parking in front of their homes. On Wednesday, the council’s Transportation Committee, which I chair, approved a stronger, tougher ordinance restricting parking by over-sized vehicles. I will ask the full City Council to adopt this ordinance. Over-sized vehicle restrictions can be adopted on a block-by-block basis, and can be implemented without seeking the approval of the Coastal Commission.

My staff and I are also moving forward aggressively with a Safe Parking program that will help move RVs and over-sized vehicles from residential streets while providing those living in their vehicles with much-needed social services and a path to housing.

While this is clearly a contentious issue, we all must resist anger and divisiveness. Solving this problem, and striking the right balance with a carrot and stick approach, will be difficult and will require patience and good will. Working together, I am confident we can accomplish that.”

Sincerely,

Arturo Piña
Office of Councilmember Bill Rosendahl
Office (310) 568-8772 – Fax (310) 410-3946
arturo.pina@lacity.org
http://www.councilmanrosendahl.com

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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.