This column criticizes the recently-passed Kansas City ordinance that restricts billboard advertising within the city, claiming it will disproportionately harm local small businesses that are already having trouble getting noticed.
"Don't billboards occasionally serve a purpose nobler than persuading people to buy malt liquor, cigarettes and lottery tickets?"
"For instance, there are those missing-persons billboards and the ones seeking help solving a crime."
"Yep, given the choice between too many roadside signs and the opposite, count me in on the side of information overload."
"What it all comes down to, sign-wise, is size. Unless you're Costco or Best Buy or Target (the bigger the store, the bigger the sign allowed), a business owner has a hard time getting noticed in the suburbs."
"Most cities don't allow businesses to put a sign on a pole. They've got to be attached to the building. They can't blink, be strobe or be made out of colorful neon."
"In short, business signs, like the business districts themselves, are required to blend into the background - as if they weren't even there."