Appeal of Vending Ordinance Rejected

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to consider an appeal by the city of Los Angeles to a 1997 appellate court decision overturning a city ordinance that severely limited street vending along the Venice boardwalk.

The 1991 law, passed after merchants complained that unlicensed street vendors were taking away business, allowed street sales by newspapers and nonprofit groups only. In 1997, opponents of the law argued successfully before a federal appeals court that the law infringed on the freedom of speech of counterculture activists and others.

Earlier this year, Councilwoman Ruth Galanter proposed a reworded ordinance that will allow vendors to sell “constitutionally protected” materials, while banning the sale of television sets and other merchandise of a purely commercial nature.