A bill allowing cities to ban mobile advertising trailers has passed the California Legislature and is headed to the governor’s desk.
Once signed, the Los Angeles City Council will be able to pass a motion regulating the signs within city limits. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has until Sept. 30 to act on the legislation or it will become law without his signature.
“These mobile eyesores have been a threat to our community, blighting our neighborhoods and creating horrific safety issues. This legislation will finally give us the local control to ban them once and for all,” said Mitch Englander, chief-of-staff to Councilman Greig Smith.
The bill was co-sponsored by state Assemblymen Bob Blumenfield (D, San Fernando Valley) and Mike Feuer (D, Los Angeles).
Bruce Boyer, owner of a mobile billboard company has parked a trailer outside Blumenfield’s Van Nuys office reading: “Free Valley Streets … Fire Fascist Bob Blumenfield.” The sign has already attracted at least one parking ticket.
“Even if the legislation is signed into law, we will file for declaratory relief in Federal Court. The legislation is such a perversion of the rights of vehicle owners that it would most likely be blocked by the courts,” Boyer said in an email. “If that failed, Blumenfield did such a sloppy job writing the legislation that we could fire cannons through the loopholes in it,” he said.
“Bottomline, the sign trailers will still be out there, and the pols will have Bruce as their straw-man. I will not yield to the fascists and surrender my rights. Oh, and I don’t scare well either!” Boyer said.
Several months ago Boyer parked a trailer beside the Devonshire Division police station. “I have a license plate. The state of California says I can operate on any street or highway in the state. I have every right that everybody else does,” Boyer told KABC-TV.
“I’m tired of seeing these unsightly billboards on unhitched trailers all over our neighborhoods. They are nothing more than road spam,” Blumenfield said. “I know many others are sick of them too. Literally thousands of people in our community have complained to me about these eyesores. It’s time to get rid of them once and for all,” he said.
“These signs are a distracting safety hazard for drivers, a source of blight in neighborhoods, and a drain on scarce parking spaces intended for business patrons. They should be outlawed, and this legislation will help communities take action against them,” said Feuer.
The bill is strongly supported by the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office, a Blumenfield spokesman said.
To express your opinion on this issue, you can contact the governor at http://gov.ca.gov/. Choose the Interact tab for email instructions. Or you can phone his Los Angeles office at (213) 897-0322.
Watering Days Expanded, Schedule Based on Customer Street Address
Changes to the City of Los Angeles’ Water Conservation Ordinance went into effect today (August 25, 2010) for Los Angeles City residents and businesses, allowing LADWP customers to water with sprinklers up to three days per week. Customers whose street addresses end with an odd number – 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9 – are permitted to use their sprinkler systems on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Customers whose addresses end in even numbers – 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8 are permitted to do so on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Addresses ending in fractions are treated as whole numbers and observe the same day restrictions as others on their same side of the street, (ie: 4321 ½ is regarded as 4321, an odd-numbered address.)
Sprinkler time limits are based on the type of nozzle used. Spray head sprinklers and bubblers, which are non-conserving models and are common in most landscapes, are allowed up to 8 minutes per watering station per day. Rotors and multi-stream rotary heads are allowed 15 minutes per cycle and up to two cycles per day per watering station. Watering with sprinklers is restricted to hours before 9:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m., regardless of the watering day.
All other prohibited uses of water, which include prohibiting hosing down driveways and sidewalks and water runoff, requiring all leaks be fixed and only using hoses fitted with shut-off nozzles, remain in effect. Hand-watering using garden hoses fitted with shut-off nozzle devices is permissible any day of the week before 9:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m.
That big sigh of relief you heard this morning was from the city’s 91 neighborhood councils, who cheered a vote by the City Council Wednesday on a motion to they say will strengthen community empowerment.
The motion, by Councilmember Paul Krekorian, chair of the Education and Neighborhoods Committee, restored five positions to the embattled Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) and transfered $1.3 million to it from the Community Development Department (CDD).
“This is a budget-neutral action that does not cost taxpayers a dime, but still allows the department to function in support of neighborhood councils,” Krekorian said. “DONE’s budget and staffing have been decimated of late, so this fiscally prudent move was an important step to strengthen community participation in governance.”
In fact, DONE itself was close to decimation after the mayor proposed rolling the department into CDD during this year’s budget negotiations. Neighborhood councils railed against that proposal, fearing it would be the death knell for the community empowerment department after its funding – and staff positions – had been steadily siphoned off.
Community empowerment: Alive and well in L.A.
As late as 2008, DONE operated with 72 staff members to help the city’s neighborhood councils flourish. Earlier this year, as the city’s fiscal situation worsened, the department’s budget was greatly reduced as its staff was cut to 36 people. Later, that figure was slashed in half again, to 18, where it stood before Wednesday’s action.
“Today’s vote was very major,” said Barbara Monaghan-Burke, chair of the Studio City Neighborhood Council’s Government Affairs Committee. “This is just the beginning of restructuring [DONE] as an independent system so we can operate most effectively.”
The 2010-11 adopted city budget provides $1.34 million to the CDD for functions that had been performed by DONE. Pursuant to the reccomendation of Krekorian’s committee, that amount of funding was transfered out of CDD and into DONE. The additional positions are to be paid for out of that existing funding.
“We’ve never wavered in our support for this,” said Nina Royal, a member of the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council and chair of the public safety committee. “This is great. It will strengthen DONE and give us better service.”
While many of DONE’s staff fan out across the city, helping the city’s neighborhood councils solve a plethora of problems, the five new positions will work internally to help the department function and maintain a high level of accountability.
While Krekorian cheered Wednesday’s action, he added that it was one step on the road to ensuring greater neighborhood empowerment.
“Today, we sent an important message to Los Angeles that we value the importance of neighborhood councils, and my office will always stand with those who care passionately about community empowerment,” he said. “However, this is not an end, but another important step as we continue to reorganize and improve one of our city’s most important movements.”