Council to review electronic billboards

LOS ANGELES The electronic billboards have been popping up all over the city, and some residents are not pleased.

The motion asks the City Attorney to determine whether electronic billboards trigger the California Environmental Quality Act. Under the act, projects that impact their surrounding communities must be reviewed.

The review process allows residents and others to raise questions and concerns about the billboards, like when their content is changed or the hours they are illuminated.

The source of the council's frustration on Wednesday was Hector Buitrago, Chief of Code Enforcement with the city's Building and Safety Department.

"I cannot be absolutely certain," said Buitrago.

Digital billboards are much more profitable than their old counterparts because they can cycle through ads every few minutes. However, they seem much more unpopular.

"This is an extremely high priority for us," said Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles City Council President.

Garcetti pressed Buitrago on Wednesday as to why his department has no idea how many of digital billboards have been installed throughout Los Angeles.

"And all we can do is try and be as transparent as possible. But, every time we don't do some basic work, it just reaffirms people's suspicions about whether city hall is serious about this," said Garcetti.

"She has this digital billboard blasting light of various intensities into her window 24 hours a day, and obviously at night. This is intolerable," said a woman whose friend lives near such a billboard in the Venice Beach area.

Councilman Bill Rosendhal will spearhead an effort over the weekend to catalog all the digital billboards in his district.

"They popped up out of nowhere in the last year out of nowhere, and all of a sudden they're everywhere," said Rosendhal.

Buitrago's department has until early next year to present the council with a rough estimate of how many of these billboards are lighting up Los Angeles.

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