Battle for the Venice Boardwalk

The battle between shop owners and vendors on the Boardwalk in Venice is coming to a head. A possible new ordinance may ban the selling mass-produced commercial goods from the west side of the boardwalk.

The Venice boardwalk could undergo a big change, if a new ordinance is passed that limits who can set up shop in the 205 beachside vendor spots.

The ordinance would ban the sale of anything that isn't protected under the constitutional right to free speech and artistic expression.

That means, if the item has any use other than art, it won't be allowed.

Banned items will include: anything mass manufactured like clothing, incense, oils and candles, and jewelry.

Since a court injunction did away with the permit process, according to Venice Neighborhood Council President Linda Lucks, the boardwalk has become a free-for-all with vendors fighting for spaces, making it look more like a swap meet.

"It's a mess. We want it to go back to what it's traditionally been, and that's an artist serving community," said Lucks.

Storefront retailers say some of the vendors re-sell merchandise they bought elsewhere, and they say that's unfair competition for them.

"We pay a lot of rent here, and they pay no rent, and they just sell whatever they want," said Morena Medina, of Venice Skateboarding Stuff.

But some jewelry makers think the ordinance is unfair.

"I think it’s more about the community trying to get rid of the homeless community and get rid of all the artists, and try and make this basically like Santa Monica is," said Patrick Karrigan, a maker of jewelry.

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