On May 20 the Los Angeles City Council will have a chance to vote on a long overdue ordinance regulating billboards, also known as off-site signs.
All the existing billboards, more than 12,000 in the City of Los Angeles alone, are being protected by state legislation and therefore cannot be removed or regulated. The best the proposed ordinance could achieve, if enacted, would be to reduce the visual clutter caused by additional billboards.
The proposal, made by the City's Planning and Environmental Committee and the Planning Commission, does not ban new billboards as do such major cities as Dallas, Houston, Little Rock, Santa Monica, etc., which adopted no-new-billboards ordinances recently in an effort to clean up honky-tonk.
However, the proposal does contain a provision to disallow new cantilevered billboards that overhang a building, which we consider the most detrimental to the urban environment. Council members are being lobbied by the billboard companies to adopt a version of the ordinance without such prohibition. We call on all concerned citizens to start a telephone campaign to urge their council members to vote for such prohibition. The proposal is known as the Proposed Citywide Sign Ordinance, CPC No. 86-234. It is up to us to save our city.
Wu is chairman of the Sign Committee of Los Angeles Beatiful, Inc.