Billboard blight was the subject of a segment on “SoCal Connected” on KCET last night. “Billboard Confidential” looked at LA's billboard boondoggle and the reasons why LA is “ground zero” for a $7 billion dollar billboard industry.
The show – the result of a two-month investigation – was a recap of the historic 2002 billboard ban, which resulted in lawsuits by Clear Channel, Regency and CBS Outdoor and the subsequent “sweetheart” deal brokered by City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo who allowed the three giants to digitally enhance over 800 billboards in LA. In exchange, the billboard companies had to take down three percent of their signs.
Highlights include a Silverlake neighbor who has been trying unsuccessfully to get a billboard taken down off his property,an article written by a newspaper editor back in the early 1900's that called billboards “nuisances,” and a city hall clip of Building and Safety inspector David Kime telling city council members that, “I couldn't tell you exactly where [the billboards] all are.”
Another highlight was Delgadillo's statement in 2002 that billboards are a blight to the community.Soon after, the local press found out that he received $400,000 in free advertising space for his run for City Attorney. To top it off, Delgadillo refused to be interviewed by KCET because of “pending” billboard litigation. I guess he won't be available for many years to come.
Also refusing interviews were the Department of Building and Safety (what a shock!), Clear Channel and CBS.
Included in the show was a commentary by Sam Hall Kaplan who calls for more obnoxious billboards to pop up all over town. What????