Palm trees, sandy beaches and the sparkling Pacific Ocean — they’re beautiful and iconic, as essential to the identity of Los Angeles as movie stars and dreamers. But they’re in jeopardy. The threat: digital billboards.
A handful of outdoor advertising companies are quietly moving to plaster our most scenic neighborhoods with digital signs. Flashing, garish and often bearing messages unsuitable for children’s eyes, these hulking eyesores change every four to eight seconds, 24 hours a day, rain or shine. This will be the view from your front window.
But the harm goes beyond aesthetics. They’re a deadly distraction to drivers. The dangerous curve near your kid’s school will become even more treacherous. If you think people blow through stop signs with alarming frequency now, just imagine how bad the problem will be with flashing signs diverting their attention.
What’s more, these signs are an ecological menace. They consume giant amounts of energy. They destroy natural habitats where wildlife previously thrived.
Digital billboards are a threat to our lives and our environment. And yet, the Los Angeles City Council has before it a one-sided deal that would allow the largely unregulated proliferation of these signs. This proposal would allow outdoor advertisers to remove an analog billboard in exchange for erecting a digital one — without consideration for the billboard’s location or other factors critical for preserving our communities. In a sense, it would turn West LA into the Wild West for outdoor advertising.
We will not let this happen.
Ad Zero is a coalition of Los Angeles residents, parents, property owners and other concerned citizens committed to maintaining the beauty and security of our communities and the safety of our highways. We are advocates for the fair and reasonable regulation of the billboard and outdoor advertising industry.
Our mission is to shed light on these signs: the processes by which they’re approved, the backroom dealings, the unexpected impacts. By informing and engaging residents and all of those who care about Los Angeles — its environment, historic preservation, traffic safety, congestion and encroaching commercialization — we are a powerful group that commands the city council’s attention and effect policy change.
Alex Sumberg has spent the majority of his career fighting for the protection of communities. His specific focus as a community organizer has been land-use battles, but he also has worked organizing political campaigns and ballot initiatives and navigating the regulatory hurdles of emerging industries, communities and values.
We welcome everyone interested in developing a regulatory approach that looks at the myriad direct and indirect impacts that these signs — particularly digital billboards — have on our community, traffic, environment, beauty and livability of Los Angeles.
We are taking the city council and sign companies to task, demanding answers to these essential questions before a single new digital billboard is approved:
We’re ready to fight.
Help us spread the message:
Tell your followers to #FightLABlight.
"I think that I shall never see
a poem as lovely as tree
indeed unless the billboards fall
I may not see a tree at all
— and the battle began."