BILLBOARDS

Our first amendment provides a right to freedom of expression. The Supreme Court defines a corporation as a person. These “persons” often choose to express themselves on billboards in ways that can be a blight in neighborhoods, a safety issue, or offensive to certain communities. The most dangerous of these billboards, in my view, is video billboards. This is a 24-hour a day television program running along places like Wilshire Boulevard and other strategic areas in Los Angeles.

Last week I spoke to an orthodox Rabbi who said they have lewd and sexually explicit billboards next to the religious school his children attend. He asked what the City could do about it. There are laws prohibiting advertising of cigarettes near schools – why can’t there be a law prohibiting advertising of sexually explicit billboards near schools?

When do the needs of business infringe upon the needs of the community? Who gets to decide?

In June, 2001 the City Council made a compromise decision. If billboard companies eliminated illegal billboards, they would, in turn, allow a certain number of billboards to be placed on the freeway. Illegal billboards should be eliminated by virtue of their illegality – without compromise. In addition, if billboards are deemed dangerous on surface streets, imagine how much more dangerous they are on the freeway.

When elected, I intend to:

Do everything in my power to ensure video billboards are eliminated
Fight against billboard signage along the freeways. This is an extremely questionable proposition with potentially deadly results.
Support the amendment put forth that would create a permanent moratorium on new billboards and require billboard companies to produce permits for all of their signs.
Eliminate illegal billboards through a city audit.