Tuesday, April 7, 2009

News coverage of protest

Tropicana Supergraphic in Tow, Protesters Hit Brentwood
Monday, April 6, 2009, by Dakota

Here's a comment that was found on the article that really articulates the issue:

It's too easy to oversimplify this issue... It isn't about whether you like or dislike signs. It is about our City having laws and people breaking them or abiding by them. The regulation of signs is a very complicated issue, made even more so complicated in our City because the City leaders have found it convenient to grant EXCEPTIONS to the rules (which the outdoor advertising industry has then used to go to the courts to stop any reasonable enforcement). Those commenting need to understand that Hollywood has been granted "sign district" status by the City. That venture has allowed much of what is seen there (although illegal signs have still been erected in that area by sign companies). The Hollywood sign ordinance was granted because the powers that be felt/feel that Hollywood is a unique entertainment area and that there should be an ability to have signage there. The truth is that despite a city moratorium passed by the City Council in December, many illegal signs have been installed. Why? Because the penalties for those that break the law are a small inconvenience and so minimal as to be a joke... $ 100 for a sign earning $ 10,000 or more a month? If you or I as residents did something against City code, we would be cited. All the billboard protesters want is for the City to enforce the law. We have had a ban on new outdoor advertising signage since 2002... but you would never know it. The outdoor advertising industry is among the most litigious; they challenge laws passed in almost every municipality seeking to delay enforcement. Some of Rahban's buildings are protected by an injunction and they ignore the Dec. moratorium that should take precedence over all signs and buildings.

Most important is the fact that the City is now considering a new ordinance to govern how signs will be regulated in the future. Much is at stake and one can only imagine the level of industry lobbying that will take place. At one recent City Planning Commission hearing on the proposal, FIVE attorneys from one prestigious/powerful law firm each got up to claim their one (or two?) minute chance at the mike to address the Commission. Who speaks for the public? How can the public have a fair shake at these hearings? Who can afford to take off 3/4 of a day from work to attend these hearings? Who has the access to meet with each of the City Council members to plead their case? I can tell you who and that is the industry to be regulated. I say BRAVO to those citizens who spend their time attending these meetings, to those citizens who call their Council offices when they see illegal signs erected, to those residents who take photos of illegal installations, to those who go to their neighborhood councils to raise the issue, who spend their time making signs and protesting. It may not be one of the most important issue in the world given the miserable state the world is in, but it is a local issue of importance and concern and the new law that will be passed will set the stage for future enforcement...or the lack of enforcement. We'll see what happens. All should keep a watch and thank those who give their time to do so.
Comment #30, left at 04/06/09 05:10 PM.

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