Los Angeles’ illegal billboard issue is clearly heating up in the press and cyberspace — again. The Daily News recently published an editorial about the city’s botched 2002 billboard ban and the need for a list of billboard locations and owners.
Today, Los Angeles Times reporter Veronique de Turenne picked up on the Weekly’s blog posting about a new searchable billboard database started by Jim Bursch, publisher of West LA Online, who created a database after reading the Weekly’s cover story about the city’s 4,000 illegal billboards and our struggle to get a list of billboards owned by Clear Channel Outdoor and CBS Outdoor.
Even a Canadian website is keeping track of the billboard battles in Los Angeles, including the case Metro Lights v. City of Los Angeles. Metro Lights filed a federal lawsuit against the city arguing that it was unfair that the city could make money off its 3,300 street furniture advertising program, tens of thousands of street banners and countless wall signs, murals and super graphics on public property but forbid similar advertising on private property by a private firm. A decision is pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. “The LA case is being used as a precedent across the states, and they are trying it in Canada too,” wrote the site’s coordinator Rami Tabello.
The Toronto-based website mostly tracks that city’s outdoor advertising industry but it also dumps on billboard companies across the United States. Its goal is to create a complete illegal billboard database.