Over the past few weeks I've noticed billboards spring up all over West Hollywood advising people to 'Vote NO on Measure A' and not to be fooled. It's nearing election time and frankly I get confused with the sheer volume of Propositions and Measures that seem to happen at every ballet (as do a lot of voters I'm sure), in addition to City Official Elections.
From what I can discern these billboards have been funded by a coalition of 'Concerned neighbours against illegal billboards'. In full these include neighbourhood activists, residents, homeowners, outdoor advertisers, homeowner associations and seniors opposed to the permitting and expansion of illegal billboards.
Apparently Measure A is concerned with new 7% tax revenue the city would like to impose for 'off-site' advertising signs i.e. advertising a product or service not available on the premises where the sign is located (so billboards for want of another description). Hmm, you can see why outdoor advertising companies don't want this as they and their clients potentially would have to pay more money.
Secondly, it would allow more billboards and 'tall wall signs' (more than 5,000 square feet attached to a building wall) along Santa Monica and Beverly Boulevards, without discretionary review. I can see why this could cause concern, but maybe it's the lack of review which is causing most consternation.
This coalition against Measure A even use an example in their advertising of a billboard for Terminator Salvation, which could be found on the side of The Los Angeles Film School at Sunset Boulevard and Ivar Avenue back in April 2009 (I wonder how Warner Bros. Studios feel about being singled out here).
I don't know all the facts, but I found this supposedly impartial account of Measure A helpful in providing some information.
Personally I think the 'Vote NO' billboards are slightly alarmist and don't provide all the facts, there's not even a website or any contact details to get any further information. I'm not even sure if these billboard sites they mention would be illegal if it becomes local law?
It also makes me smile at the irony that this coalition have chosen to use billboards as a medium to express their concerns.
Maybe I'm over simplifying and possibly not so impartial myself as I'm a marketeer by profession and huge fan of billboards, as anyone who has visited my Daily Billboard blog will attest. I think extra large billboards can be creative and interesting additions to L.A.'s city skyline, especially considering the architecture is not as spectacular as other cities, like New York for example.
If anyone has any further information from either side of the argument, I'd be really interested to hear from you.
So in answer to how you should vote, I'd say if you're worried about these new billboard developments, try and get more facts before casting your vote...