Thursday, October 27, 2016

Billboard company moves closer to installing digital signs over the Eastside following court ruling

This conventional billboard on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake would be replaced with a digital sign

This conventional billboard on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake would be replaced with a digital sign

The spread of digital billboards across Los Angeles was virtually halted a few years ago after a federal appeals court upheld a city billboard ordinance. But a recent legal victory by Lamar Central Outdoor may put it a step closer to installing 45 digital billboards across town, including Boyle Heights, Echo Park, Glassell Park and Silver Lake.

The bright signs have proven lucrative for the billboard industry but opponents say the electronic billboards are intrusive and a source of visual pollution. Dennis Hathaway of Ban Billboard Blight plotted out the 45 Lamar locations based on legal documents. Those locations include an empty lot on Sunset Boulevard in Sunset Junction; above a car wash on Glendale Boulevard; near a freeway onramp on Soto Street; above a used car lot on Alvarado; and by self-storage centers on Eagle Rock Boulevard and San Fernando Road.

City Attorney Mike Feuer said  he will appeal last month’s decision by Superior Court Judge Luis A. Lavin, who sided with Lamar’s claims that the city billboard ordinance violated  free-speech rights under state law. Under that ordinance, the city rejected Lamar’s permits to install the 45 digital billboards. Now, the city might have to reconsider those permits if Lavin’s ruling is upheld.

Hathaway, in a blog post, warns that the billboard companies might continue to fight the ordinance even if the city prevails in this most recent legal challenge. “Even if the city is successful on appeal, many involved in billboard issues are wary of what the U.S. Supreme Court might do on this subject in the future.”

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  1. I agree that these hideous things are visual blight, but I’ve always wondered why no one brings up the public safety aspect of the argument. They are very distracting for drivers.

  2. Yuk! Yuk! Yuk! The LAS VEGASification on LA! Yuk!

  3. I find it bizarre that the courts (to at least this judge) are not allowing the city to regulate billboards and digital signs. So now we have to permit any and all advertising due to corporate “free-speech rights”?

  4. Digital billboards are a dangerous distraction for drivers. It’s obvious that they take attention away from the roadway, If the images change, drivers will be automatically compelled to notice the difference in their environment. I find the free speech argument ludicrous in face of the obvious dangers and deterioration in the urban environment for all. In addition, this is hardly an example of “free speech” when it costs me to have to suffer through them. Clearly these have to be limited and not placed where they can actually do harm.Put them all down at LA LIVE. As a community we should be able to regulate something that negatively affects us. Even with all our “free speech” you can’t shout FIRE! in a crowded theater.

  5. NO ONE wants these ugly, distracting and dangerous things… no one except those getting the coin for them. FAT coin. What a joke “free speach.” Fine you want ‘free speech,’ go get a soap box. …or a normal billboard.

  6. How hard is it to launch a large BB with a wrist rocket at these things and do some damage?

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