General Telephone has won Planning Commission permission to sell advertising space in Long Beach telephone booths, even though planning officials warned that by changing a city ordinance to permit the relatively innocuous signs, commissioners could open the door to more glaring advertisements.
Phone company officials say they need the advertising to offset the cost of maintaining more than 50 unprofitable telephone booths in the city, said Ed Curtis, region sales manager. There are about 900 public telephones in Long Beach, he said.
Long Beach is the first city where General has attempted to install the foot-square signs, Curtis said. If successful, it may try to extend the advertising program statewide, he said.
Commissioners limited the ordinance amendment to a one-year trial period confining the advertising to booths on private property.