Citing fire safety concerns, City Council member Jack Weiss and LAFD Assistant Chief Craig Fry (pictured left in the dark jacket), today called for stricter penalties for building owners who put up illegal supergraphics. Currently, the fines are $2,500 a day, but the harsher penalties could be worked into the city's under-review new sign ordinance. Weiss, who is running for City Attorney, held the press conference in front of an illegal Tropicana sign on a building at National and Westwood Boulevard. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo was also at the event (according to the LA Times, he crashed the conference); Delgadillo revealed that his office will launch a web site that will allow anyone to enter addresses of illegal signs and upload photos.
The web site will serve as a database for the city's (understaffed) building inspection team, but let's hope the database is viewable by all. Public shaming! At the event, we flipped through some of the 20 citations issued by the LAFD since the ban on new signs went up. Hey, there's Robert Maguire, cited for his Grand Avenue Garage at Venice Blvd and Grand Ave. Meanwhile, why isn't the city just ripping these things down themselves? The smaller signs can be removed, according to Fry, but the Tropicana sign weighs about 5,000 lbs. "There are safety issues, as well as liability concerns if we do damage to the building," said Fry.
As far as the fire hazard issue, Fry and other LAFD members said the signs could make access to the building by firefighters impossible. "Not only is this [Tropicana] sign illegal because it was put up after the city banned new signs, it is completely a danger to the lives of people working inside of [the building]," said Weiss.
Legal proceedings against the Westwood Blvd building's owner, Frank Rahban, will start if the Tropicana sign doesn't come down by tomorrow, according to Delgadillo. UPDATED
· Office Tenants Sue Over Saggy Wilshire Supergraphic [Curbed LA]