You are free to do what you want to do on the Venice boardwalk, a federal judge ruled this week. Local activist Zuma Dogg, who brought the case against the city's lottery system of distributing permits to performers and vendors, was victorious.
He told the Weekly Wednesday afternoon that it was likely he would bring a civil suit against the city for allegedly violating his free speech on the boardwalk.
“The city of Los Angeles was arrogant,” he said at an meeting on the matter Wednesday morning captured on video. “The city failed … My damages will be millions.”
The city can't establish such a permit system regarding who can and can't sell trinkets and sing songs on the iconic boardwalk because it violates the right to free speech, U.S. District Judge Dean Pragerson ruled.
Permits should be first-come, first-serve, and amplified sound and instruments should be allowed in some areas between 9 a.m. and sunset, he said.
“I'm very happy that the federal judge saw it our way,” Zuma Dogg told the Weekly. “It's unfortunate It came to this after all these years, with lives destroyed.”
He's frustrated because he says he warned the city to improve the system before a judge stepped in.
“For years they had a chance to settle,” Zuma Dogg says. “The city had years in which a federal judge was asking them to be reasonable.”
Following the city's 2008 ordinance, recently revised, 12 boardwalk locals, including City Hall gadfly Zuma Dogg, challenged it in court.
Zuma Dogg says he was cited by a Los Angeles police officer for allowing tourists to take free photos with a Hannah Montana cardboard cutout.
He says the incident drove him from the boardwalk and toward homelessness.