Archived: Tattered, Forgotten Signs: A Quality of Life Issue


Now and then we need to take a break from elections, fraud, taxation and all the other weighty issues of the day and discuss quality of life issues that are not caused by our elected officials or the big bad corporations, but by some of the people we call our neighbors, friends, or family members.

In Los Angeles County, in every local city and neighborhood, the utility poles and other accessible walls are plastered with paper and cardboard signs and placards advertising everything from yard sales to diet or credit help. They advertise cheap loans, car insurance, concerts, parties, work at home opportunities and even fast talking attorneys.

Most of this posted material is out of date, torn or battered by the sun and the rain. Some of these signs fall to the ground, littering our streets or finding their way into our sewer system.

The visual and physical blight they create is a quality of life issue, particularly when we know that most of the long useless materials have the addresses and phone numbers of the people responsible for their placement, as well as the failure to see to their removal.

Since revenue is so hard to come by and some areas have already passed ordinances leveling fines and penalties for posting and not taking down all this paper and cardboard, local government entities should start a campaign to collect some much needed revenue by assessing the appropriates fines for this public nuisance; they already have their names and addresses right there on the signs.

Public works employees, for example, could collect the stuff after they finish whatever street level project they are working on, and turn it over to the entity charged with enforcing these ordinances. An office clerk or summer intern could then be assigned to mail notices or “littering tickets,” or contact the perpetuators by phone regarding their illegal postings.

We’re not sure whether a lot of revenue would be collected, but we are sure that many of the postings would be quickly taken down and disappear. This would make areas look a whole lot better.

And if we could get people in Los Angeles to call 311 to have their bulky items picked up, rather than just dumping them on a sidewalk or in an alley, we will have moved another step forward on the long and winding road to improved quality of life.

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