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So Long, Signage: City Council Approves Ban on All Mobile Billboards

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Photo by Zach Behrens/LAist
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If an ordinance passed unanimously today by the Los Angeles City Council gets Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's signature, all forms of mobile billboards are about to be outlawed. The ban includes billboards on trailers, cars, mopeds, or bikes, reports City News Service.

A mobile billboard is defined as "an advertising display that is attached to a mobile, non-motorized vehicle, device, or bicycle that carries, pulls, or transports a sign or billboard, and is for the primary purpose of advertising."

Under the ordinance, the city must issue a warning to the owner of the offending signage at least 24 hours prior to impounding the vehicle to which the advertising is attached.

Get caught twice, and that citation and impound would be considered a misdemeanor, and come with "a minimum fine of $250 and a maximum six month jail sentence."

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The campaign to oust the offending ad hoc advertising spaces has been long fought, with some local City Council members advocating tireless on behalf of the cause. In 2010, Councilmember Dennis Zine announced a special task force to work on eradicating the city of mobile billboards, and in 2011, a California law went into effect that gave local governments jurisdiction over dealing with such advertising.

The ordinance passed Wednesday was introduced by Councilmember Mitch Englander, who said mobile billboards "pose significant traffic safety hazards for motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and handicap people," as well as take up parking spaces.

Business owners who make use of mobile billboards, however, object to the new ordinance, and believe it violates their First Amendment rights.