AB 1373 would allow more billboards in downtown Los Angeles

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AB 1373 would allow advertisers to put up more billboards in downtown Los Angeles if passed.

A proposed bill that would allow advertisers to put up more giant and digital billboards in downtown Los Angeles already received its first approval of by city leaders.

Assemblyman Miguel Santiago authored AB 1373, which if signed into law, could open the door to more signage, helping to work around regulations in California's Outdoor Advertising Act, but only with support from city leaders.

"We're just doing what we can at the state level to cut all red tape and allow for market based incentives, should the city decide," Santiago said.

AB 1373 would affect signage within a specific zone: The few blocks east of the 110 Freeway, and west of Figueroa Street, and the north and south boundaries stretching from the 10 Freeway up to Wilshire Boulevard.

Within the area are two $1 billion developments under construction: the Metropolis Project and the Wilshire Grand Tower.

Among those against Santiago's billboard bill include Dennis Hathaway, who leads a coalition to "Ban Billboard Blight."

"I don't expect to change his mind, I think we have a fundamentally different view of what this is all about," Hathaway said.

The coalition is concerned that new billboards will be a distraction to drivers on the 110 Freeway. Hathaway said if Santiago's bill were passed, the area of downtown would be more reminiscent of Times Square in New York City.

"Signs can be put up," Hathaway said in regards to Time Square. "Of any size, any spacing, brightness, no regulation, whatever the city decides to approve."

"It's really a David versus Goliath sort of thing," he continued.

"We continue to grow, we continue to see the development and we continue to see people move into downtown because this is what downtown is all about," Santiago said.

Santiago said the bill would be a revenue generating tool, but Hathaway was skeptical of where all the money would be going.

"It's going to go to billionaires here downtown. It's not going to go to the city treasury to fix sidewalks, repair potholes, to deal with the homeless problem, it's going to go into the pockets of developers," Hathaway said.
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