No more jewelry and trinkets for sale on the east side of the Venice Boardwalk? As Hillel Aron reported last week, the Los Angeles City Council is attempting to force just that, with new rules banning the sale of all art not created by the vendor, among other things (“Venice Boardwalk Trinket Sales Ban,” Jan. 20). Readers weighed in on both sides of the issue.
Writes Madocadvikian, “Now there will be no reason to visit Venice Beach. I always enjoyed the eclectic group selling their wares on the boardwalk. I always made it a point to take out-of-town visitors there, just to see it.”
Ralph Bellamy — presumably no relation to the late actor Ralph Bellamy, may he rest in peace — agrees. “It's a sidewalk adjacent a city park. It is not zoned for commercial activity. The only justification the vendors have is that what they are doing is protected by First Amendment free speech, which is a complete and utter distortion. There is only one thing being said here: 'Give me your money.'
“They are commercial vendors, pure and simple, trying to hide under the Constitution. Their activity is not legal in this park, and they have destroyed the very freedom and expression they deceptively cloak themselves in. Of course, we all sympathize with the need to make a living, but go do it in some legal setting and quit destroying the atmosphere of openness and freedom that is the hallmark of the unique street theater known as the Venice Beach Boardwalk. I'm sick of 200 illegal business people hijacking the atmosphere and ambiance that 16 million visitors a year come looking for.” (To which we say: 16 million? Phew! No wonder traffic is so bad in this city.)
Finally, reader David Ewing takes issue with City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who told Aron, “You can put five lawyers in a room and get 10 opinions of what free expression is.” Writes Ewing, “There are only five lawyers whose opinions ultimately count: a majority of Supreme Court justices. I hope the city has finally succeeded in passing a vending/free speech ordinance that passes constitutional muster.”
Mr. Mojo Rising
Readers thrilled to Jeff Weiss's cover story about the history of L.A. Woman — “the seminal album from the seminal L.A. band,” as Weiss put it (“[Don't You Love Her] As She's Walking Out the Door,” Jan. 20).
Writes jwmm2704, “Bravo, bravo. What a brilliant four-page summary of the life, death and resurrection of The Doors, sufficiently hated by those who could not accept an alternative to English rock or the eternally happy sound of the Top 40 crowd. The Doors never wanted people to pretend they liked them. 'We are the band they like to hate,' to quote Jim Morrison. May he rest in peace — but not his music. I ask that they only take that away on the day of my death.”
Grasshopper adds, “Fantastic article. The Doors' old haunts may be mostly gone now, but their legacy will remain intact forever.” And @michaelbloomMR took to Twitter to give his props: “L.A. Weekly marks the 40th anniversary of The Doors' great L.A. Woman album with a terrific article chock full of backstory.”
There also was some criticism. “ The Doors' story has been barfed up a zillion times,” writes Mnamhie. “ Does the lame L.A. Weekly have to regurgitate it once again?“
We'll close with an observation from Eric: “L.A. Woman is marred by the fact that every woman believes it is about them.” And here we thought that was just us!
A Word From Mr. Garcetti
We also heard from Councilman Eric Garcetti, who was less than thrilled with our Jan. 13 news piece about a high-density, skyscraper-heavy regional center for Hollywood (“War for Hollywood's Soul,” by David Futch and Jill Stewart).
Garcetti says, “I want to make clear my position on the draft Hollywood Community Plan, which was terribly mischaracterized in David Futch and Jill Stewart's piece 'Should Hollywood Be Skyscrapers?' First, I firmly believe the answer to this question is 'no.' I also believe that the city has done the community a grave disservice by not updating the plan since 1988. If there were an ideal time in which to 'freeze' Hollywood, it certainly would not be 1988. And through a new plan, we can work toward planning communities holistically rather than the piecemeal way that developments are being approved now.
“It's time for an updated plan that addresses the challenges of the current era. For example, a community plan should address traffic issues, but the existing plan doesn't include the Metro Red Line or account for increased tourism in the area.
“Before the draft plan comes to the City Council for a vote, I will continue working with local residents to ensure the final plan helps protect neighborhoods, create jobs and reduce traffic.”
You Write, We Read
Please send letters to Comments, L.A. Weekly, 3861 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. Or write us at ReadersWrite@laweekly.com. Full name and contact info preferred.
A Jan. 6 article, “Decay at L.A. City Hall,” stated that Councilman Paul Koretz had not held private-sector jobs. In fact, he worked as an insurance agent and claims adjuster and had positions at the California League of Conservation Voters and Jewish Labor Committee. He also once had a business buying and selling historical memorabilia. Also, our Jan. 20 theater review “Molly, Molly, Quite Contrary” wrongly identified the New York Times editor who objected to Molly Ivins' use of the phrase “gang pluck.” It was Abe Rosenthal.