Seven years ago, just a few days before Christmas, a construction crew pulled up to a lot on the north side of the 110 freeway in downtown L.A. and proceeded to erect a 60 ft. high, double sided billboard. Less than 50 ft. from the freeway in the Staples Center/L.A. Live area, its two 700 sq. ft. faces would broadcast ads for such products as fast food, computers, and financial services to nearly 300,000 motorists every day.
New digital billboards could be coming to L.A. residents and motorists on one of the busiest stretches of freeway in the city, thanks to a proposal being considered by Culver City, an island of 40,000 people surrounded by Los Angeles.
Lawsuit Against City Attorney Seeks to Bar Arrest of Sign Law Violators and the Setting of “Excessive Bail.”
(Update: On April 2, U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins denied the request for a restraining order against City Attorney Carmen Trutanich)
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by the president of three outdoor advertising firms and a property rights group, also lists 15 “parties of interest”, including the building owner arrested last month and held for a weekend in jail on $1 million bail after allowing a huge unpermitted supergraphic sign to be put up on his Hollywood Blvd. building.
Maybe it could be called the idea that has nine lives. Each time it comes up, a chorus of criticism arises from citizens and many public officials, and it gets shelved, only to reappear at a later date. See Governor Gearing Up to Sell Ads on Freeway Electronic Signs.
What is the difference between those who spray paint gang slogans and other kinds of graffiti on public walls and companies that put up illegal billboards and supergraphic signs? What is the difference, fundamentally, between graffiti and illegal outdoor advertising? Both make a claim on public space, saying “Look at this!” without observing any laws or considering that citizens might deserve a voice in what they’re forced to see when they drive, walk, or otherwise experience their urban environment.
Three days after handing down a campaign finance decision that rocked the political world, the U.S. Supreme Court handed anti-billboard activists a major victory by refusing to review a lower court’s ruling that California could legally bar off-site commercial advertising along sections of the state’s freeways and highways.
A company called Vanguard Outdoor began marketing the site of this sign alongside the 10 freeway at Robertson Blvd. last year, even though all new supergraphic signs were prohibited by action of the City Council.
Since there are plenty of year-end awards given to people and organizations doing good works, we thought we’d start an annual (for 2009, anyway) list of those in the world of outdoor advertising here in L.A. whom we believe to be particularly deserving of recognition for less than felicitous deeds.
Good: L.A. Superior Court Judge Terry Green isn’t an expert on toxic substances, but he performed an expert analysis on the city’s noxious 2006 lawsuit settlement that allowed Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor to put up 840 digital billboards by declaring the agreement that denied the public any voice “poison” and sending it to the shredder.
Trees Illegally Chopped Down on 405 Freeway: Was It For Visibility of Billboards and Shopping Mall Signs?
Several weeks ago, the California Highway Patrol caught a person cutting trees in the 405 Freeway right-of-way adjacent to the new Westfield shopping mall in Culver City. The above photo shows the remains of two of those trees, which stood in the line of sight of the billboard affixed to a corner of the shopping mall, advertising a yet-to-be-released Disney movie. According to the California Department of Transportation, this blatantly illegal act is currently under investigation, along with six other tree-cutting incidents that may involve the issue of billboard or supergraphic sign visibility from L.A. area freeways.