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Opportunities for Our Communities – Advance LA’s New Sign Ordinance
By Gene Hale, Chairman, Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce
Published February 7, 2019

Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce Chairman, Gene Hale (courtesy photo)

The Los Angeles City Council is currently considering a new billboard policy that will benefit the city’s businesses and communities, particularly here in South Los Angeles. The proposed sign ordinance provides opportunities for local small business owners, a new funding source for our communities and a reduction of billboards throughout our neighborhoods. Councilmembers should advance the ordinance so communities in South L.A. and beyond can begin reaping the benefits.

The proposed sign ordinance will establish sensible policy that permits a small number of appropriately-placed digital signs in exchange for the removal of existing billboards. The comprehensive approach allows the community to weigh-in every step of the way, by ensuring any new digital sign undergoes a thorough public approval process and residents have direct input into the signs they need taken down. This fair exchange leads to less billboards overall, without hurting the needs of local small business owners.

It’s crucial that we have policies in place, like the sign ordinance, that give businesses the tools they need to help them grow and thrive. At the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce, we’re committed to expanding opportunities for businesses in the African American community and focused on ensuring equity in those opportunities. Access to affordable advertising in our large metropolitan area is a critical part of this. These opportunities attract customers and allow businesses of all sizes to grow and contribute to the larger community.

Appropriately-placed digital billboards provide the opportunities we need. These signs give local businesses a cost-effective platform that drives demand for their products and services and, in turn, stimulates economic development. All business owners in Los Angeles should have the opportunity to benefit from this innovative advertising tool. City Council now has the chance to ensure they do.

But it’s about much more than business. The proposed sign ordinance will also support our communities by ensuring any new signs create revenue for essential city services and community benefits programs. The fact is, a chance to create a new funding stream is rare and valuable in Los Angeles. And, even more rare is the ability for communities, like South L.A., to weigh-in on how the funding is invested and tailored for their needs, another important component of this ordinance. We should not pass up this opportunity.

For years, city leaders have worked to craft a policy that works for all Angelenos. Now is the time to advance the sign ordinance to reduce billboards, support the needs of business owners and create critical ongoing funding to invest in our neighborhoods.

Categories: Crenshaw & Around | Family | News (Family) | Op-Ed | Opinion
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