Monday, February 1, 2010

Deuce Seven Clear Channel Takeover in San Francisco

VIA Streetsy

It doesn't seem like people know when Deuce Seven created this advertising takeover in San Francisco but I could really care less. It's amazing, and his use of the frame is absolutely incredible. It appears this was all done on site which is even more fantastic. We know how dodgy it can be spending anymore time than necessary at an ad takeover location whether it's illegal or not, and for this reason we are blown away by this piece. One can only assume Deuce is a fast painter and a world class sprinter.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

All are welcome to express themselves in the box below

This is an interesting way for private landlords and shop owners to allow, and at the same time control, graffiti and public use of our shared public walls. Not only does a gesture like this garner respect from local artists for the wall they are painting and thus the individual behind it, but it creates an environment where public use of public space is acceptable despite local laws prohibiting this kind of activity.

VIA Boing Boing

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Billboard Confidential-KCET LA


I found this series done by KCET LA on outdoor advertising in Los Angeles on Rami Tabello's This quote from part 3 of the series embodies the distrust which develops when a city fails to take care of its residents before it takes care of the outdoor advertising industry and huge profits. "It doesn't really seem like anybody cares and I don't really believe the city is capable of doing anything about it." With critical legal as well as safety issues being ignored by the outdoor advertising industry in LA and the lack of public support for outdoor advertising, it is amazing the city has not been more cavalier with the problem.

Part 3

Part 1

Part 2

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Los Angeles Steps Up Fight on Large Ads

Published: February 1, 2009

LOS ANGELES — This city has opened a new front in its longstanding battle with billboard companies, ordering building owners to remove so-called supergraphic signs, enormous advertisements draped across multistory structures, after deeming them fire hazards.

Los Angeles city officials said the signs, made mostly of vinyl, had proliferated since December, when the City Council passed a temporary ban on billboards and large signs. The stopgap move was an effort to give the city more time to close loopholes in a 2002 law intended to curtail billboard advertisements.

Jack Weiss, a city councilman who wrote the temporary ordinance, said the original legislation was supposed to put a stop to the supergraphic signs. “Instead,” Mr. Weiss said, “the supergraphic companies have plastered their signs up all over the city and are thumbing their noses at the law.”

“Many of these signs are dangerous,” he added. “They prevent people from getting out in case of fire, or firefighters from getting in.”

The Fire Department estimates that more than 100 buildings from downtown to the coast have illegal signs.

Inspectors have ordered 20 building owners to remove large signs, Mr. Weiss said, and will continue to issue warnings.

A violation of the billboard ordinance carries a maximum monthly fine of $2,500. But Mr. Weiss said the signs could bring in $100,000 in rent for building owners.

The city has been blocked from enforcing the 2002 law because of legal entanglements, including lawsuits by billboard companies over free-speech rights. In 2006 and 2007, the city settled lawsuits with three of the largest billboard companies — CBS Outdoor, Clear Channel Outdoor and Regency — allowing them to convert as many as 850 print billboards to electronic ones.

Even so, the supergraphic signs seem to be gaining in popularity.

People in neighborhoods across the city have reported seeing work crews unfurling the banners at night and on weekends. Barbara Broide, who lives in the West Los Angeles district, said she and her neighbors had photographed workers in cranes mounting the signs with thick plastic cables before leaving in trucks piled high with more folded signs.

Ms. Broide, 55, said many neighborhood groups were frustrated by the lack of billboard regulation.

“These companies are not only not complying, but doing things dangerous to building occupants and firefighters,” Ms. Broide said. “And yet these signs seem to persist.”

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Sunday, February 1, 2009


If we are gonna talk about safety issues stemming from outdoor advertising, I think we should all read this. Property owners consistently disregard the safety of their tenants as well as the laws which are imposed on them by city governments. Often this is simply an economic issue, profits being far higher than the fines which are given for violations.

VIA 10801takesigndown


We were just notified by Mary Clare Molidor, Sr. Asst. District Attorney, that a 23 count criminal complaint has been filed by the Criminal Branch of the City Attorney's Office today against Frank Rahban, owner of 10801 National Blvd, L.A. CA 90064 and others for defying an order by the Fire Department to remove this hazardous sign.

Frank Rahban put this illegal monstrous vinyl tarp (Called a Supergraphic) late Tuesday evening on Jan. 13, 2009 over the entire side of his 6 story office building, covering the windows and creating a serious fire hazard.

He was cited by the fire department for 2 serious fire code violations on Jan. 22, 2009 (see fire code violations handed down) and was given until Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009 to have it removed. Today is Friday, Jan. 30th and it still remains affixed to the building.

Even with the knowledge of this illegal Supergraphic being a threat and a serious danger for all of the building occupants, Frank Rahban has elected to keep it up because of the revenues this sign is bringing in. He's aware that the fines are peanuts compared to what he will make on the sign, even if it's disregarding the lives of hundreds of tenants.

If the fines don't matter, then how about some global public shame.


Joe Agapay, Esq (council in the building representing Frank)
Lois Forshee-Agapay (building manager)
Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico, Inc and their division Tropicana (Ad)
Barry Rush of World Wide Rush (Signage - trashing the landscape)


Tell him that you can't put a price on a human life.

Another Yiddish word comes to mind to describe this kind of person:
Frank you're a GONIFFNoun - A thief or dishonest person or scoundrel (often used as a general term of abuse) ganef, ganof, gonif. Offender, wrongdoer - a person who transgresses moral or civil law.

Council member Jack Weiss and the LAFD held a press conference right outside the 10801 property just last Wed., Jan. 28, 2009 to attack the issue of these illegal signs and specifically mentioned that anyone not cooperating will have charges filed against them.

We want to thank the city attorney's office for keeping their word and taking action, thank the LAFD for all of their support, thank the media for a great job covering this issue and this particular story, and most of all thank the tenants of 10801.

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Billboard Blight: A Gallery Of Shame

People have been commenting that removing outdoor advertising from the public environment would result in a huge loss of jobs for the city, something we can't afford right now. In the short term this is true, but reading a post on Ban Billboard Blight reminded me that a healthy city is far more important than a few short term jobs. In response to the potential job loss, BBB writes.

"Perhaps the question to ask these companies is what they do to harm the visual landscape of the city, and how this makes it a less desirable place to live and do business, and what that means for jobs and the economy"

VIA Ban Billboard Blight

At last week’s City Planning Commission hearing on proposed revisions to the city’s sign ordinance, representatives and lobbyists representing behemoth corporations like Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor argued that stricter regulations
on outdoor signage would harm the city’s economy and result in the loss of jobs, although they offered no facts or figures to support these assertions. Perhaps the question to ask these companies is what they do to harm the visual landscape of the city, and how this makes it a less desirable place to live and do business, and what that means for jobs and the economy.The billboards in the photos belong to Clear Channel, CBS Outdoor, and Lamar Outdoor (formerly Vista Media). Want to let them know what you think? Send an e-mail to the following:

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

"The Dog Dies": Movie Spoiler Graffiti Hits Los Angeles

Having not seen this movie, which by the way is exploding box offices, I didn't realize the graffiti that has been showing up in Los Angeles is actually a movie spoiler. Given this, the messages are extremely disarming to the power the ad has to attract viewers. The ad may not itself be gone but the experience it is advertising is rendered useless through the added message by revealing the ending.

This is an interesting distinction for me that I have never considered, being adamant about total ad removal except in the most specific cases. If this graffiti were placed over an ad for Coca Cola, the product would suffer very little. Since Coca Cola's objective is brand recognition first and foremost and not the actual product, the fact that the brand is not obscured would mean the ad remains potent. In advertising for movies and other products or services which rely on the actual product to promote itself, total obstruction of the ad is not necessary. A detournement, or witty alteration may suffice to destroy the ad as well as point to the moment of interaction and communication taking place between viewer and individual.

This is not to say that any scrawl over an advertisement of this type will take the air out of the ad and turn the campaign on itself. The content of the alteration must speak to the product and displace whatever authority it might hold. This acknowledgment opens up a method of taking back public space from advertising content I have been very slow to recognize but have come to respect through this piece.

With that said, the objective of Public Ad Campaign is not to debunk advertising content, but rather to question its authority in the public environment and what adverse effects we are under because of it. Removal of the ad for individually created content is more to that point and speaks to an environment where the public creates content instead of reacting to it.

From Wooster Collective

Photos nicked from here.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas New York

In the spirit of giving I went out yesterday and removed approximately 50 different ads from the streets, mostly Van Wagner Phone Kiosks. It's not much, but on the heals of LA getting three new illegal billboards for Christmas, I thought it would be a nice counter gesture.

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What Ban? What Moratorium? New Billboards Go Up Alongside Downtown Freeway

Just another case of outdoor advertising companies doing what they want in our public space. If they can so blatantly disregard the law I don't see why I can't do the same thing. the next post will be a response.

As an early Christmas present to the city, a Los Angeles company has put up three full-sized, double-sided billboards alongside the 110 freeway downtown.

Coming on the heels of the city council passage of a three-month moratorium on approvals of new billboards, the structures looming some sixty feet high were not permitted or inspected by the Department of Building and Safety, and were apparently erected over a single weekend.

The billboards bear no company name, but are identical to a billboard put up the same area last year by L.A. Outdoor Advertising, also without any required permits or inspections. That billboard was ordered removed, and at an appeal hearing, Andrew Adelman, head of Building and Safety, said it was the most blatant case of disregarding city codes he had seen in his years with the department.

Billboard Illegally Erected Alongside 110 Freeway Last Year

Billboard Illegally Erected Alongside 110 Freeway Last Year

The company subsequently filed a lawsuit against the city, challenging the constitutionality of its ban on new billboards. Keith Stephens, president of the company, was interviewed on KCET’s recent “Billboard Confidential” and claimed that the city was unfairly discriminating against his company because it had allowed larger companies to put up new billboards and supergraphic signs in special Sign Supplemental Use Districts and as part of community redevelopment agreements.

The multi-ton billboard structures would normally require the submission of structural drawings and calculations, and the foundations for the supporting columns would be inspected for proper depth and steel reinforcement before any concrete was placed. One of the billboards, at 11th and Blaine Streets, appears to be no more than 20 feet from the edge of the freeway.

One of the billboards, at the site of the Plumbers Union Local 78 on James Woods Blvd., is displaying advertising, but the other two have not yet been put into service.

New Billboard Structure

New Freeway Billboard Structure

New Freeway Billboard Awaiting Ad

New Freeway Billboard Awaiting Ad

Posted under Billboards, Freeway Billboards

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Underfunding Causes Concessions to The Private Sector


Sorry Amber, for Calif. Republicans you’re just not as important as this precious, precious money.

The L.A. Times is reporting Clear Channel has its eye on 674 state owned digital billboards on California Highways. The billboards were installed to alert drivers to road hazards and for Amber Alerts providing “urgent bulletins in the most serious child-abduction cases.”

But now the state is listening to Clear Channel.

Apparently California needs money. In the Governor’s budget it says, “chronic underinvestment has increased congestion and has resulted in California having some of the most distressed highway and road conditions in the United States.”

Of course, this is the neo-liberal fantasy:

1. the government under-funds infrastructure
2. infrastructure falls apart
3. Conservatives claim that government can’t be trusted and we need private industry and competition!
4. Conservatives then make private, exclusive deals with corporations so they can sweep in to the rescue/for the profit.

I can’t imagine this proposal going very far, but the whining about being broke and the publicity that follows may be intended to prepare voters for a comparatively less disgusting option.

As argued in the L.A. Times story, yes it’s an eyesore, yes it might be dangerous to drivers, yes it will train people pay less attention to a sign designed to help abducted children and tell them about emergencies - thereby nearly nullifying it. But more important that that, it’s public space and public property that belongs to us, not corporations.

But perhaps you’re more fiscally minded. This is another bad deal made by politicians with advertising and marketing companies. (Politicians who are most likely being lobbied by and receiving campaign donations from Clear Channel.) Sen. George Runner (R-Lancaster) says the money will be used for highway repair and potentially may be “tens of millions of dollars.” The California Transportation Commission’s annual budget is $28,466,000,000.

Another drop in the bucket. Sorry Amber.

Thanks for the tip from reader Sam.

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