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Council votes to ban digital billboards

August 7, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The digital billboards and supergraphics that have popped up around town could be a thing of the past. The Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to ban them across the city. An earlier effort to ban digital billboards and supergraphics, which are multi-story ads on buildings, was ruled unconstitutional.

No new ones will go up, but the hundreds that are already in place can stay.

"It puts us in a better position to work with the existing sign operators and manage them in a way that is much better for the communities around Los Angeles," said L.A. City Councilman Richard Alarcon.

Supporters of the ban told the city council that the billboards and huge ads are distracting. One person said the digital and oversized ads contribute to billboard blithe.

"I am told to save energy, and yet they want to waste energy with those big signs. I do not want my neighborhood to look like Las Vegas," said Jacob Garb, who supports the ban.

"And these billboards that flash and so forth, and you're going down the freeway it is very, very dangerous," Rick Nightingale said during the council meeting.

The opposition to the ban came from the lawyers representing the ad agencies and sign makers.

"Digital displays can have a role in the city of L.A. The industry wants to help and provide the appropriate language, mechanism, and revenue this city so desperately needs," said Ed Wasserman.

Lawyers representing the ad agencies who use these supergraphic ads and the sign makers indicated there will be legal challenges to the ban. They plan to challenge the ban's constitutionality.

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