[Shot of proposed electronic billboard near downtown; update: these (now existing boards) are different than the ones that would have gone up]
Late last night, the Senate shot down a bill that would have allowed an exemption to the statewide ban on freeway billboards, including those near downtown's entertainment district. But how low can you go? The bill was introduced after midnight and attached to another bill (regarding state's whistle blower law). As Dennis Hathaway of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight notes, this was a way to "keep everything under the radar." Politicians agreed and shot down the bill.
Via the Times: " 'None of us were in the mood for extraneous special interest crap thrown at us in the wee hours of the morning,' Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles), explaining her vote against the bill." This move is also tied to LA Live developer AEG's planned billboard signage on the LA Convention Center since those proposed signs require state exemptions. It's not entirely clear to us what this means for the future of downtown signage, but we'll update shortly. Meanwhile, that legislation that would have provided incentives to film companies to stay in California was also shot down. UPDATE: We emailed Dennis Hathaway for some context and clarification about what last night's decision means. Curbed: "So this means that no downtown electronic sign district will be created and no downtown billboards are coming? Hathaway: "For the moment, yes. But I'd be shocked if it didn't reappear in some form. In other words, it's a matter of when, not if. In my opinion." Additionally, the Daily News is reporting that "backers are vowing to bring the measure back next year." UPDATED again: How exactly this will affect that proposed sign district still confuses us, will update again. UPDATE: This is the most confusing thing ever. Also, the heat is making us cranky. First off, a spokesperson in Assemblyman Bill Emmerson's office says that since it was a "tie vote," it'll be voted on again. And it could be voted on again as soon as next week. Or it could take weeks before it comes up for vote again.
· Bid for downtown L.A. electronic billboards fails [LA Times]
· City Proposal To Keep Neighborhoods TV, Film-Friendly [Curbed LA]