Is the giant version of the Obama “Hope” banner created by Fairey and hanging from the side of his Echo Park studio an illegal supergraphic, protected political speech or a city sanctioned mural? The city’s Building & Safety Department, after being contacted by The Eastsider for a story on complicated sign laws, sent out an inspector to take a look at the banner at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Elysian Park Avenue. The good news, at last for Fairey, is that the banner is a “political sign,” and does not need a permit, said Luke Zamperini, Principal Inspector for the department’s Code Enforcement Bureau. That bad news, however, is that it’s an “oversized political sign” and must be cut down to size.
“Political or ideological signs do not require permits, however they must adhere to the same requirements as commercial signs with regard to placement, time and manner,” Zamperini writes in an email. “This particular sign could be considered either a wall sign or a temporary banner sign. At any rate, it exceeds the square footage that is allowed for either type at that location and an order to comply will be issued.”