City officials are preparing for a contentious summer among Venice boardwalk vendors and say the early spring has already shown that a slow economy and confusing rules add up to chaotic conditions along the famed oceanfront community.

Weekly lotteries for city-regulated performance and nonprofit-art-vendor spots along the walk have been contentious, with the number of performers requesting space up 80 in the last year and the number of would-be sellers doubling in that time, according to the Associated Press.

Legitimate artists have complained that otherwise profit-minded vendors have taken up their space on the boardwalk by claiming tenuous connections to art pieces — cultural links, for example — that is otherwise sold to make a buck. Police, citing complex city regulations on the matter, are loathe to wade into the legal definition of art.

“It's very difficult for an officer to decipher what that means,” Los Angels police Sgt. Marc Reina told the AP. “We're not going to enforce anything like that.”

LA Weekly