Today's lunchtime thinkage looks at an idea proposed by Kevin Fry, president of Scenic America, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that works to fight urban blight, particularly billboards. Currently, the city is considering putting electronic, blinking boards off the highway downtown (seen to the right), a proposal that wasn't well-received on this site. But some people are also concerned about the problem of illegal billboards. Of the estimated 10,000 billboards around the city, an undetermined number are illegal.
What Fry told us: Billboard companies shouldn't be able to keep profits made from illegal actions, so he suggests fining the billboard companies and the building owners that rent out their space, charging both parties the back profits made from the advertisements. It's a similar approach to requiring drug dealers to return the profits they've made.
With those funds, the city would have a way to remove some legal billboards, too. Removing existing legal billboards is difficult, but the city could buy back some of those 10,000 billboards that dot Los Angeles.
Fan of billboards? Point, counterpoint?