FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact Person: Barbara Peck Email: email@example.com
Company Name: The Benefit Network Tel: 310-840-5397
When: Wednesday, June 15, 2005 at 9:30am
Where: Garland Building Auditorium, 1200 West 7th Street, Los Angeles
What: CONTROVERSIAL VENICE BEACH “FREE EXPRESSION” LOTTERY REVIEW
The controversial ‘Free Expression’ permit/lottery system sponsored by Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski and unanimously voted in by L.A. City Council on October 27, 2004 has been enforced in the 'Free Speech Zone' on Venice boardwalk, by the LAPD, since March 1, 2005. On Wednesday, June 15 L.A. City Recreation & Parks Commissioners will get a chance to look back (in anger?) at the past 90 days of botched management by Cindy Miscikowski's office, Venice Recreation & Parks, the City Attorney's Office, and LAPD beach patrol, and ask:
• why do commercial vendors proliferate in the place of free speech politicos, nonprofits, churches, artists and entertainers who have the legal right to be there and who are the life-blood of Venice tourism?
• why are some vendors ‘chosen’ for the lottery while others have never ‘won’ a space?
• why are up to half the ‘designated spaces’ not occupied during peak weekend hours?
• why are store owners entering the lottery and tying up spaces?
• why were misdemeanor tickets issued against sixteen or so lottery protesters while obvious violators of amended LAMC 42.15 went unpunished?
• why were lottery protesters targeted, harassed and punished by LAPD officers for upholding their First Amendment Right to free speech in the 'Free Speech Zone', a right that was successfully established in at least three separate lawsuits since 1991?
• why was African-American drummer and long-time resident of Venice, Abraham, arrested for “disturbing the peace” outside Venice Bistro, in the 'Free Speech Zone', in spite of a Supreme Court order allowing him and his band members to play there every weekend from noon to 4:30pm?
• why was Barbara Peck, one of the plaintiffs, with Jerry Rubin, in the 1991-93 lawsuit that established First Amendment Rights on Venice Boardwalk, ticketed for holding a ‘Stop the Lottery’ sign in a ‘designated space’ in the 'Free Speech Zone' when she was exercising her right to free speech?
• why was long-time Venice activist and plaintiff in the 1991-93 lawsuit, Jerry Rubin of Alliance for Survival, ticketed for ‘intending’ to sell his political ‘free speech’ bumper stickers in an ‘undesignated’ space in the 'Free Speech Zone'?
• why are City Attorneys, who are working closely with and advising Cindy Miscikowski's office, tying up valuable taxpayers money and court time dealing with these unconstitutional prosecutions?
• why is the lottery/permit program failing so miserably and what has happened to the Spirit of Venice?
Could it be that the answer to all of these questions lies buried in the past, present and future exploitation of Venice’s natural and economic resources?
# # #