Should the Hollywood sign be lit up? Debate ensues after Mayor Bass halts Garcetti's plan

Josh Haskell Image
Wednesday, December 28, 2022
Should the Hollywood sign be lit up? Bass halts Garcetti's plan
As we approach the 100-year anniversary of the iconic Hollywood sign, what if you could see the sign at night?

HOLLYWOOD (KABC) -- As we approach the 100-year anniversary of the iconic Hollywood sign, what if you could see the sign at night?

Former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti launched a pilot program that would have lit up the sign. However, on her tenth day in office, Mayor Karen Bass rescinded it, telling Eyewitness News there were concerns about the legality of the order.

"Lighting the sign would raise about $600,000 per year to do a lot of pet projects that the community wants, such as putting up a new fence. Lighting the Hollywood land gates. Putting in new landscaping. It would add DOT patrols, it would add park rangers that the community wants," said Jeff Zarrinnam, the Chariman of the Hollywood Sign Trust, who maintains the sign.

However, there were concerns from Hollywood residents about turning the sign into a nighttime attraction. Visitors already flood the Beachwood Canyon neighborhood to get close to the sign during the day.

"Yes, it's a tourist town, but the neighborhood is not so touristy. So if you could keep it quiet and charming and people can visit and then go away, that's nicer because then it protects everything that was already here," said Fadhia Marcelin, who lives near the Hollywood sign in Beachwood Canyon.

Groups opposed to the sign also raised concerns about the impact the bright lights would have on wildlife. But, Zarrinnam disagreed.

"The technology that we're using is called projection mapping where the lighting beam goes strictly onto the face of letters. There's no overspill onto the letters at all," said Zarrinnam.

The Hollywood Sign Trust says a major misconception about Garcetti's proposal is that it would have lit the sign 365 days a year. Actually, the proposal called for lighting the sign for only six events a year, lasting a maximum of three days each.

Zarrinnam says although he supports lighting the sign because of the money it would raise for other projects through sponsors, he had no idea Garcetti was going to make the executive order right before leaving office. And, he hopes Bass takes another look at the proposal.