The Los Angeles City Council postponed a vote on a sweeping billboard law that would ban digital billboards and giant supergraphics, but allow them in specially designated "sign districts." Facing a barrage of criticism from anti-clutter activists and business leaders, council members agreed to hold off voting until September, when new City Attorney Carmen Trutanich takes office.
Billboard Crooner: Tom LaBonge
The Los Angeles Times reported that Trutanich was chatting up council members in the room behind the body's chamber, telling them that he wasn't completely taken with the proposed sign law. Trutanich told the Times that he wanted to make sure that the sign law was "tight."
At an earlier press conference on the steps of City Hall, council members Tom LaBonge and Bill Rosendahl called for stronger regulations than those approved by planning commissioners last month.
LaBonge, who began the press conference by singing "Signs" by the
Five Man Electrical Band, said he wanted to limit sign districts to
downtown Los Angeles. The proposed sign law allows for 21 sign districts,
Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight President Dennis Hathaway
'The beauty of Los Angeles is in its neighborhoods and neighborhoods
are being overwhelmed by signs," said LaBonge, who was flanked by
Rosendahl, City Councilman-elect Paul Koretz and a dozen billboard activists.
Later, after spotting a fire truck, LaBonge said "Signs are like a
brushfire in the city that we can't control. We have to extinguish this
challenge of signs -- signs, everywhere is signs."
Rosendahl, who was 15 minutes late for the press conference, said the city
should put a "complete hold" on voting until the city attorney "gets a
chance to get a hold on the issue."
"We should slow down everything," he said. "We don't have any idea of our revenue stream."
Last year, Rosendahl and anti-clutter activists counted 563 signs in
the councilman's 11th district, which includes Westchester and Venice.
Of those, 34 were illegal, he said.
Watching from the sidelines was Damian Jones, managing partner of
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Pacific Strategy Group, which represents billboard giants Clear Channel
and CBS Outdoor. Jones argued to the Weekly that the billboard industry
has not had the chance to respond to the proposed ordinance.
"We are all for taking down illegal signs," he said.