[PICTURED: “EEP C-(something?)” Can the city write a ticket for that?]
October 21, 2010 The Honorable Judge Dean Pregerson (Federal Judge) ruled in favor of Matt Dowd, Zuma Dogg (DOWD/DOGG) and eleven other Venice Beach Ocean Front Walk (boardwalk) performers, and issued a temporary injunction on a good portion of L.A. City’s Venice Beach Boardwalk rules (Ordinance 42.15).
There is still a large portion of the First Amendment lawsuit, that also includes L.A. City Council’s “Code of Conduct” (and their enforcement, thereof), along with other elements of 42.15 that are yet to be ruled on.
The injunction itself, does indeed, constitute a legal victory for DOWD/DOGG and are currently in settlement talks with the L.A. City Attorney’s office on this matter.
Zuma Dogg is quite confident that when the judge rules on the remainder of the lawsuit…it will be a 100%, complete and total defeat for the City of Los Angeles. This opinion is based on both the content in the lawsuit that the judge is yet to rule on — and, almost more importantly (if not more importantly, at this point) — is the process that was engaged between the judge and city, during twelve status conference hearings. (ZD feels it will invalidate ANY minor legalese victory the city may have hoped to go in their favor. NOW, due to the process, even that will lose, now, at the end of any line.)
And again, DOWD/DOGG have been in settlement discussions with the city, but due to not only additional information that has been uncovered regarding some stuff the city mis-interpreted (that they thought they had in their favor, but they actually do not — that I will bring that to light in summary judgment.); and due to events that continue to happen in LAPD’s enforcement and ticket-writing on the boardwalk — and in the city’s untimely delays in trying to drag-out any cutting of a settlement check, time to go “ALL IN” and let the judge sort it all out. I’ll take REAL U.S. FEDERAL JUSTICE over LA CITY STREET JUSTICE, 365 days a year.
PLUS, early chit-chat out of city hall is that there just simply isn’t any money that can be justified to settle this matter, financially, while the city is faced with firing thousands of people. TOO BAD! The City had AMPLE opportunity to settle this for a fraction of what will be accepted now, over the course of the past five years. The city should have had the Hunt/Dowd case SETTLED already, instead of appealing the award amount. (And it CONTINUES to be dragged out, as of today, as it has not been settled.) And, because further rulings have come out since then (recent medical marijuana ruling in Superior Court), that has made it even worse for the city; and even better for DOWD/DOGG. I MAY AS WELL GO FOR THE WHOLE ENCHILADA INSTEAD OF JUST THE RICE & BEANS SIDE DISH!
BUT MOSTLY, the way in which the city continues to operate on the boardwalk and the way the city enforces their “Code of Conduct”in council chambers on Dowd/Dogg —
WE WANT THE JUDGE TO RULE ON THIS MATTER IN IT’S ENTIRETY — AND RULE ON EVERYTHING, ACROSS THE BOARD. NOTHING CAN BE LEFT UP TO THE CITY FOR INTERPRETATION.
HERE IS AN UPDATE AS OF MONDAY, JANUARY 17, 2011:
a) Took down posted rules all along the boardwalk that provided notification to vendors that they are required to display a “Donation” placard from the city that you must go to the Parks & Recreation office to acquire. Currently, although the signs have been taken down; LAPD continues to write tickets to vendors — WITHOUT WARNING. (LAPD will simply walk up to the vendor and write the ticket without any discussion, notification or warning.)
This places procedural hurdles on the process. (Office has limited hours and becoming more limited in budget crisis. How do you get a placard if the office is closed? Police write tickets until sunset without giving warnings. And the office isn’t open early in the morning and closes at 4pm; when people are even in the office.
And how is someone supposed to reasonably know they even have to go to the office to get a placard in the first place, even if the requirement of a city created placard could hold legal muster? How is someone walking up to the boardwalk to do whatever they are allowed to do, supposed to be able to “mind-read” that they need to walk to the office to get the required placard? If you are at the north end of the boardwalk, that’s about a three-quarter of a mile walk, in each direction, from the north end of the boardwalk, to the parks and recreation office And then the office may be closed while personnel is away, doing something else, or just closed at the time. )
b) They LEFT UP the posted signs all along the boardwalk saying, “No Amplified Sound,” although an injunction has been placed on the amplified sound restrictions.
So, the City TOOK DOWN the signs that they are still writing tickets for, without warning. But LEFT UP the signs for which they are no longer allowed to enforce. (If you show up to the boardwalk to speak or perform with an amp — with “No Amplified Sound” signs posted anywhere you could possibly look along the boardwalk, any speaker or performer would certainly walk away and leave thinking it is illegal to amplify, at all.
LAMC § 42.15(F) (1) provides that noise levels must
not exceed seventy-five decibels when measured at a distance of twenty-five feet away or ninety-six decibels when measured from one foot away between nine o’clock in the morning and sunset.
DOES BLASTING SOUND ONLY BOTHER A RESIDENT WHEN IT IS FROM A PERFORMER’S AMP?: LAPD is selectively choosing to ONLY enforce sound levels on the west (performer) side, while allowing retailers on east side of boardwalk to blast and saturate an area, far beyond any levels allowed. I have made calls and approached officers in person, but am yet to be able to get them to have a retail store move their display off the boardwalk, or turn down the blaring sound so some performers could be heard. (Again, less space means more competition for remaining spaces. WE SHOULDN’T BE LOSING SPACES BECAUSE POLICE REFUSE TO ENFORCE SOUND OF THE RETAIL OUTLETS. City of L.A. is attempting to manipulate free market competition through selective enforcement of one side of the boardwalk. WHY ARE THE PEOPLE WHO SELL FRUIT RIGHT IN THE CENTER OF THE BOARDWALK ALLOWED TO CONTINUE TO DO SO? LAPD MUST SEE THEM! THEY ARE THERE EVERY BUSY DAY!!! I SEE THEM EVERY TIME I WALK THE BOARDWALK. HERE THEY ARE TODAY. You are not allowed to sell food. You are not allowed to set up anything like that, right in the center, blocking traffic. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON, HERE??? ALL THE CRAP THE CITY PUTS ZUMA DOGG, MATT DOWD & OTHERS OVER…for not having a dumb sign displayed, that isn’t legal to write tickets for, currently…BUT THIS SHIT GOES ON DAY IN AND DAY OUT!!!! I WANT AN EXPLANATION FROM THE CITY AND A TOTAL RULING FROM THE JUDGE. I AM FUCKING FURIOUS!!! YOU CANNOT RATIONALIZE THIS AWAY L.A. CITY ATTORNEY”S OFFICE, CITY COUNCIL, OR LAPD!!!
I THINK I KNOW WHO IS ABOUT TO BE CALLING SHOTS ON VENICE BEACH ACROSS THE BOARD!!! (And Linda Luchs & Company isn’t gonna like it, cause it’s ME!)
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE: Currently, people who sit on spaces after dark are written tickets, without warning. The Coastal Commission has recently stated publicly that the City of L.A. may not restrict access to the state beach, which is supposed to have twenty-four hour, public access.
Since the lottery/permit system has been abolished and found to be unconstitutional; and since the painted spaces on the sidewalk were created for the lottery system, someone should be able to sit, stand or perform ANYWHERE on the boardwalk, without having to stand in a space. The reason the amp ban was overturned, was because anyone can set up an amp, anywhere, on any street in America. So why do you have to stand in a “cage” (painted square) at Venice Beach boardwalk. If I want to stand or set up on the other side of the sidewalk — along a brick wall — or in some space in between, next to the beach itself, one puts themselves at risk for a ticket from LAPD. (Matt Dowd was taken to jail for standing in an area the police claimed was an emergency access area — but the area wasn’t posted with any signage stating as such, and there were no clearly painted lines marking the area as any special zone.)
END OF PART ONE…
YOU ROLLED THE DICE IN FEDERAL COURT, AND LOST…WELCOME TO THE ZUMA DOGG ERA!
Summary Judgment to be filed for on Wednesday.