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Activists Do Their Own Guerrilla Enforcement of Illegal Billboards

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As seen at Lincoln and Brooks in Venice this week | Reader Submitted Photo

Back in December, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case between the city of Los Angeles and Fuel Outdoor, a billboard company responsible for many of the poster-sized signs at corners all over Los Angeles. At issue was a 2002 city off-site sign ban, which meant Fuel signs were in violation. They challenged the city and lost in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Now, more than a month later, violation notices with the Los Angeles city seal are being posted on Fuel-owned signs. However, city officials say they didn't do it. "Looks to me that we've got renegade sign bandits," said Bob Steinbach, a public information officer with the Department of Building & Safety. "If we post them, there'd be contact info on them."

Dennis Hathway, who follows the billboard issue closely and is the Executive Director of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight said his organization does not endorse such actions, but isn't surprised to see the guerilla notices. "If this was a community action, it shows how fed up people are with the fact the city hasn't been able to do anything about these illegal signs, even though the company has lost all its court appeals," he said.

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Steinbach was not immediately aware of how the city would deal with Fuel's illegal signs.