Will Removal of Billboards Make L.A. Streets Safer or More Dangerous?

A recent court order demanding the removal of 100 digital signs across L.A. was seen as a victory for those who had complained about the bright, and potentially distracting, billboards. But a sign company is arguing the order will harm public safety.
December 22, 2012, 11am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Unhappy with a recent appellate court ruling which ordered the removal of 100 controversial digital billboards across Los Angeles, executives with Clear Channel Outdoor (owner of 79 of the signs) is arguing to city officials that, "the digital billboards provide vital public safety messages," reports Dakota Smith. "Attorney Sara Lee Keller sent officials a brief report detailing how Clear Channel Outdoor flashed public information messages during the San Diego (405) Freeway weekend closure in September, and the company's role in providing Amber Alerts.

"As this (report) makes clear for all to see, turning off the digital signs would not only impact Clear Channel Outdoor, it would have serious consequences for public safety," Keller wrote.

The ruling, and letter, is just the latest incident in the long debate over how to regulate digital signs in the city. "The ruling centers around a 2006 agreement between the City Council and then-City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, who forged a deal with the two sign companies in a closed-session meeting," noted Smith in an article on the appellate court decision. "The deal came despite a city ban on converting existing signs to digital billboards."

"Earlier this year, Councilmen Ed Reyes and Paul Krekorian introduced a motion, written by a Clear Channel lobbyist, asking the city to explore crafting new digital sign laws, and study how the signs could provide public benefits."

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Published on Monday, December 17, 2012 in Los Angeles Daily News
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