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…)

Wilshire Grand Sign District: Or, How to Diss the City Attorney (and Game the System)

Some of the signage proposed for Wilshire Grand project. (Photoshop approximation by Curbed LA)

Was the City Attorney’s office deliberately excluded from discussions between L.A. city planners and the developer of the new Wilshire Grand project downtown regarding the establishment of a sign district that would legally allow sign types prohibited by ordinance citywide?  At last week’s City Planning Commission meeting where the sign district was approved, a project lobbyist said that developers had been discussing the signage with planners for more than a year, while a representative of the City Attorney’s office said the signage details had been provided to his office less than a week before the meeting. (more…)

Ban on New Supergraphic Signs in Hollywood Contains Huge Exemption, Includes Signs That Would Cover Apartment Windows

View of supergraphic sign on Metropolitan Hotel apartment project above Hollywood freeway. Sign simulation by Skytag, Inc.

L.A. City Councilman Eric Garcetti’s proposal to ban new supergraphic signs in the Hollywood sign district would exempt a total of 31,000 sq. ft. of the signage that has won some form of city approval, but hasn’t been issued permits by the city building department.  Included is a 5,700 sq. ft. sign that would cover many of the windows on a 12-story apartment building clearly visible from the nearby Hollywood freeway.

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Pimps and Prostitutes: Billboard Companies Using Non-Profits to Help Kill Unfavorable Legislation

Public service ad on CBS Outdoor billboard. The sign on the opposite side advertises McDonald's "Angus Third Pounder"

When a bill to put a little bite into California’s toothless billboard regulations came before the State Senate last week, the usual suspects—big billboard companies, chambers of commerce, construction interests—lined up to oppose it.  But also signing on to help kill the bill were such organizations as the National Council of Jewish Women, the Minorities in Broadcasting Training Program, and the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association.

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Unwrapped: Illegal Supergraphic Ad Removed From Historic Hollywood Hotel

Left, east wall of hotel in 2007; right, as of 4/29/2010

During his 2009 election campaign, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich promised to crack down on anyone putting up illegal billboards and supergraphic signs.  Continuing to make good on that promise, his office has gotten the owners of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel to  remove the latest in a series of illegal supergraphics that have covered the walls of the historic structure for the past four years.

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Lawsuit Against City Attorney Seeks to Bar Arrest of Sign Law Violators and the Setting of “Excessive Bail.”

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, Supergraphic on Office Building Near LAX

(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.

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Disappearing Supergraphics: No More Open Season in L.A. For Rogue Sign Companies?

Supergrapic, top, put up earlier this year along 10 freeway by company called Vanguard Outdoor, removed on March 24

Following on the heels of last week’s highly-publicized decision by CBS Outdoor to remove two illegal supergraphic signs in Hollywood, other unpermitted supergraphics have quietly disappeared, although it remains to be seen whether or not the buildings will remain unswathed by the giant mesh and vinyl advertising signs that are big revenue generators for sign companies.

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UNCOVERED: After Six Years, Giant Supergraphic Ads Finally Come Down

CBS Outdoor has finally removed illegal supergraphic ads that have long dominated the surroundings of this 1926 building in Hollywood.  As reported in the L.A. Times, the company, a subsidiary of CBS Corp., agreed to remove the 11-story signs after being sent a cease-and-desist letter by City Attorney Carmen Trutanich.   A complaint about the two 27,000 sq. ft. vinyl ads was registered with the city in 2004, and an order to comply was issued by the Department of Building of Safety in June, 2006.
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Supergraphic Signs: Carmen Trutanich, the Code of Hammurabi, and Excessive Bail

Detail of bolts and cable holding supergraphic sign on Hollywood Blvd. building. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich said the 8-story sign could pose a hazard to people on the street below.

The highly-charged debate about the $1 million bail set for a man accused of allowing an illegal supergraphic sign on his Hollywood Blvd. building brings to mind the 2,500-year old Code of Hammurabi, which prescribed a penalty of death for any builder who put up a house that fell down and killed its owner.  This is thought to be the beginning of building codes, and the modern system of permits and inspectors that embodies the idea that people should not have to rely on builders and property owners to assure them that the structures they live and work in and pass by in the streets won’t cave in on their heads or easily burst into flames.

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Owner of Building With Huge Supergraphic Sign Goes To Jail, Illegal Sign Across Street Draws No Action (Yet)

Illegal Supergraphic ad for Asics shoes on Hollywood Blvd. (Credit: Curbed LA)

UpdateWarrants have been issued for the arrest of the owner of the building and the sign company responsible.  See L.A. Times article.

Our friends at Curbed LA were out in the middle of the night covering the removal of the giant supergraphic ad from the historic First National Bank Building on Hollywood Blvd.,  and they observed the fact that a new, albeit much smaller, supergraphic had gone up on a building across the street.  Which raises the question:  Should the City Attorney’s office, which engineered the weekend jailing of the First National Bank Building’s owner, also be going after the owner of the second property?

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