Faced with a
threatened crackdown on abuses, Burbank Realtors are policing themselves during
a “probationary” period to preserve a city ordinance that allows them to put up
as many as four 24-by-24 signs announcing a weekend “open house.”
Glendale officials are grappling with how to get rid of unsightly tall poles
and oversized signs luring customers to fast food restaurants and other
businesses, even as they try to reduce visual blight by approving one digital
billboard in exchange for sign companies removing as many as 30 traditional
Complaints about light
pollution from residents in the hills above the Rose Bowl prompted officials to
curtail night-time testing of the new scoreboard and electronic signage this
But for every effort to get rid of the proliferation of advertising messages
assaulting our eyeballs and powerful lighting that obscures the night sky,
public agencies are looking hard for ways to raise revenue from selling
sponsorships and naming rights and businesses are seeking ways to enhance their
bottom lines and get their messages out to customers.
It’s a sign of these hard economic times that battles over the visual landscape
are heating up just about everywhere, from sandwich-board signs offering daily
specials to giant digital billboards pulsating with ever-changing ads urging us
to buy this or buy that.
Little signs. Big Signs. Signs of all shapes, all sizes, all technologies, all
sending a message: buy, buy, buy. Buy products. Buy Services. Buy ideas.
The irony is consumers aren’t buying. People are too nervous about what the
future holds, so for the first time in decades they aren’t shopping until they
drop and driving the economy. The result is government has less revenue and
businesses are competing that much harder to win customers.
“It’s a trade off — what does business need to survive and what is the
threshold the public will accept,” Glendale Councilman Ara Najarian, who has
been grappling with the signage problem for years. “We’re trying to strike a
balance by speeding up removal of old billboards and pole signs and recognizing
there are places like at the Galleria and Americana where we have a sign
district because it is a downtown urban environment.”