At first glance, it appears that WHWCNC Boardmember Sean McCarthy is engaged in a misguided attempt to sell the Board some Copper Pipe but he is actually declaring war on Ventura Boulevard’s Visual Blight!
Taking to the podium with an armload of signs that he pulled from the light poles in Area 5, Sean expressed his frustration with the proliferation of overnight and underground advertising that amounts to simple manufactured Graffiti.
“How do we expect kids to respect the law and our community when they are surrounded by illegal and ugly signs that clutter our streets?” he asks. “It sends a message that our public space is also a bulletin board! It’s no wonder then that we end up with graffiti.”
Members of the community spoke in support of Sean’s battle to clean up the community and cited other examples such as the “New Homes” signs that litter the landscape.
Of higher quality but still of questionable aesthetic value are the banners that hang from the private fences along DeSoto.
Members of the community spoke of their experiences fighting the proliferation of “grass roots” advertising in their neighborhoods and of the difficulty in getting enforcement support from the authorities who would be responsible for regulating Municipal Code violations.
At a City-wide level, this discussion is just the tip of the iceberg.
From Super Graphics to Billboards to murals to graffiti to posters and guerrilla advertising, our City leadership is adrift in the battle to sort out the mess and to simply define advertising and art and to then decide on the appropriate place for both.
Citing 1st Amendment protection, Billboard Companies are suing to gain access to the public space.
Los Angeles City Attorney Rock Delgadillo stands accused of being too cozy with the Media Companies that his critics charge he should be regulating.
The City Council is left wondering why they still don’t have an inventory of the Billboards that are permitted in Los Angeles.
Debates roil over graphics vs. text and when an image is transformed from art into advertising.
And through it all stands Sean yelling, “Hey, step away from that light pole!”