New Sign Ordinance: Undermining Community Benefits

Some of the many billboards in the vicinity of the proposed sign district for the Midtown Crossing Shopping Center

If you make your money in real estate development or outdoor advertising, there’s lots to like in the new L.A. sign ordinance set for hearing before a city council committee on Aug. 9. But if you’re concerned with blight, clutter, and advertising overload in the city’s visual environment, you may be disappointed, because the new ordinance leaves the door open for off-site advertising–including digital signs–to legally proliferate in many parts of the city, including public parks and recreation facilities.


Advertising Overload? Many New Billboards Planned For Downtown L.A. Freeways

Aerial view of L.A. Convention Center and freeway interchange. Billboards would cover curved facade facing freeway. (Google Maps)

The I-10/ Highway 100 (sic) interchange has an estimated 550,000 vehicles pass through the area per day, making it one of the most heavily traveled intersections in the United States. Consequently, it features a high level of saturation from an advertising standpoint. There are already numerous billboards located adjacent to the interchange–many of which are controlled by LA Outdoor and CBS Outdoor–making the area susceptible to clutter and advertising overload.–From Draft Memorandum of Understanding between City of Los Angeles and Anschutz Entertainment Group, which calls for 41 new signs totaling almost 50,000 sq. ft. in that area.


For the Record: Carmen Trutanich and the Infamous Case of the Million Dollar Bail

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, right; Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson, left; Hollywood building with partially-installed supergraphic sign, center

Depending upon which local blog you read, L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is either a thug, bully, clown, pathological liar, or simply unfit for office. One example of his perfidy, most recently cited in a political attack ad by a candidate for District Attorney, is last year’s arrest and the setting of $1 million bail for a Hollywood building owner charged with violating the city’s ban on supergraphic signs.


New L.A. Sign Ordinance: More Signs? More Blight?

Some of the new billboards allowed by sign districts in the past decade

After a long slumber, a new city sign ordinance is finally heading for the L.A. City Council, albeit in a form that could enable a net increase of hundreds of thousands of square feet of off-site advertising on digital displays and other sign types in a wide area of the city.


Company Sued by L.A. Over Illegal Supergraphic Signs Seeks City Bus Advertising Contract

Commuter Express bus in downtown L.A. (Photo by LADOT)

New York-based Van Wagner Communications is seeking a five-year contract to wrap city buses in advertising even though the city sued the company in April, claiming that it illegally erected numerous supergraphic signs that created serious traffic hazards and endangered the lives of building tenants.  The lawsuit, filed in L.A. County Superior Court, seeks millions in damages from the company and property owners who allowed the multi-story mesh and vinyl signs.


Death Knell? 9th Circuit Rejects Last Active Supergraphic Sign Ban Challenge


One of a series of supergraphic signs put up by Vanguard Outdoor on Robertson Blvd. office building. Fire officials have testified in a criminal proceeding that the sign could impede firefighters trying to reach persons inside. (Photo from 2009)

The mother lode imagined by sign companies and property owners who sought to turn hundreds of Los Angeles buildings into giant advertisements for movies, TV shows, cars, fast food and other products and services has proven to consist almost entirely of fool’s gold. (more…)

Ads on Illegal Signs: Who’s the Responsible Party?

Until recently, southbound motorists on the 110 freeway near the L.A. Convention center were greeted with huge fabric Pepsi signs draped over two sides of a seven-level parking garage. On Highland Ave. in Hollywood, an even larger Pepsi sign hung from the side of a historic building housing a film archive, dominating the view from blocks away.  And for several months, the familiar Pepsi logo adorned a building alongside the 405 freeway in West L.A. (more…)

Is the Ink Dry? Last Month’s Approval of Wilshire Grand Signage Cited in Federal Court Challenge to L.A. Code

Left, electronic signage of the type approved for Wilshire Grand; right, billboards in South L.A. For each square foot of billboard display removed, developer gets credit for 3 sq. ft. of the electronic signage

From the moment developers of the Wilshire Grand project downtown publicly disclosed their intention to wrap the buildings in a 300,000 sq. ft. electronic skin that would display colored, changing images, including commercial ads, some people have raised alarms about the possibility that approval would undermine enforcement of the city’s general ban on new off-site advertising. While that possibility scarcely registered in City Council meetings on the project that more closely resembled pep rallies than debates, it came through clearly last week in a filing in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals alleging that approval of the signage is an unconstitutional exception to the ban. (more…)

New Lawsuit Seeks Millions From Sign Company, Property Owners

Van Wagner supergraphic sign on Santa Monica Blvd. (Photo from April, 2009)

Continuing its aggressive pursuit of sign law violators, the L.A. City Attorney’s office has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Van Wagner Communications and 19 property owners who allegedly allowed the company to put up illegal supergraphic signs. (more…)

State Lets Supergraphic Sign Scofflaw Off the Hook For Millions in Penalties

One of a series of World Wide Rush supergraphic signs on office building alongside 405 freeway in West L.A.. Photo October, 2008


A Pennsylvania company liable for upwards of $10 million in penalties for putting up illegal supergraphic signs at five different sites alongside L.A. freeways has agreed to pay the state of California $218,000 for the dismissal of all claims against it.  Under state law, the company faced fines of $10,000 a day and could have been required to disgorge revenue earned while the signs were up between 2007 and 2010.  (more…)

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