JW_DOGZ-001On Saturday, February 9th, the Venice Dogz held their second protest against national chains on the Ocean Front Walk. It was held in front of Starbucks at 909 Ocean Front Walk and included a march down to Ben & Jerry’s at 1307 Ocean Front Walk and back to Starbucks again. It’Sugar, at the south end of the walkway was not marched to, but was included in the protest as the third and other national chain to be boycotted and protested. When asked why It’Sugar wasn’t protested when they first opened Mark Rago, leader of the Venice Dogz said, “They opened five years ago and I didn’t even know they were a national chain until someone mentioned it to me last year. They’re at the far end of the walkway and kind of went unnoticed by many until last year when Ben & Jerry’s opened and we started hearing all the rumors about a bunch of other national chains potentially coming in like Starbucks and Skechers.” Rago mentioned the latest rumor from a reliable source is a 7-11 going into the space formerly used by The Freak Show. Regarding the ordinance that our City Councilman Mike Bonin is preparing to prohibit future national chains, Rago said “I’m being told we’re still months away but it will be this calendar year.” An ordinance can’t come soon enough – other stores being mentioned to open are Chipotle, McDonalds, Subway, Nike, and Adidas. Apparently Skechers is already committed to open this year at 1023 Ocean Front Walk, one block south of the Freak Show building.

Said Rago, “The biggest misconception is that bringing in national chains will magically clean up the walkway, which is utterly ridiculous. Apparently, the people that think this have never been to the McDonalds, Coffee Bean or Chipotle on Hollywood Boulevard. Many people think these national chains have a magic wand and will magically end homelessness, vagrancy, drug use, and theft… I wish! If they did I’d be all for them, but that’s not rational thinking or common sense. Again, the goal of the protests and boycotting them is so the City puts in an ordinance to prohibit more national chains to open in the future, like so many other cities have done all over the country to protect and preserve their character and uniqueness. If San Francisco can do it for areas like Chinatown, we can do it here for Ocean Front Walk. No one comes to the walkway to go to a Starbucks or a Ben & Jerry’s, and no one loves Venice because they have a Skechers or It’Sugar on the walkway, if anything people love it because it’s not homogenized like that. And if nothing is done who knows what we’ll be seeing 10 years from now: Sidewalk Café could be a Dennys, Big Daddys Pizza might be a Dominos, the Figtree Cafe might be a Jersey Mikes… Who knows?” A date has not been set yet for their next protest.

To help and support the Venice Dogz in their venture:

1) Discuss this with your friends, neighbors and visitors and tell them to boycott these establishments.

2) Join the Venice Dogz mailing list at to join them in future protests.

3) Sign the online petition at: and forward it to others.


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