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Supergraphic Covering City Commissioned Mural Spurs Investigation

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The Sunset Blvd. mural, La Nuestra Reina de Las Iguanas, before it was covered up by a supergraphic | Photo via Google Street View

The Sunset Blvd. mural, La Nuestra Reina de Las Iguanas, before it was covered up by a supergraphic | Photo via Google Street View
Good news and bad news surround billboard issues in Los Angeles this week.The bad news is that even after significant efforts from the Los Angeles City Council to crack down on illegal supergraphics, advertisements continue to be found on private property causing frustration and dismay to many community members.

It was recently reported that a music advertisement for M.I.A was covering up a Silver Lake mural painted by artist Annie Sperling-Cesasno and commissioned by the City, according to The Eastsider LA. The mural titled La Nuestra Reina de Las Iguanas was based off a photograph of a Zapotec woman with iguanas by Graciela Iturbide.

The good news however is that investigation and enforcement is taking place.

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“Illegal billboards and supergraphics can destroy a neighborhood's cityscape, not only for local residents but for thousands of visitors and drivers every day. We have contacted the Department of Building and Safety, which has opened an investigation. City officials will conduct an in-person inspection of the supergraphic today.” Said Council President Eric Garcetti in a statement, “I am pleased that the community knew to email my office and reach out to my staff at community meetings to express their concerns about this issue.”

Spokesperson David Lara from the Department of Building and Safety confirmed they already sent out someone to investigate the situation earlier this morning and are hoping to have confirmation regarding the legality of the advertisement by early tomorrow.

But Dennis Hathaway President of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight said there is no question in his mind that the advertisement is illegal.

“This is terrible! It is breaking the law but covering a community mural at the same time,” expressed Hathaway, “it is dismaying to see this still going on and particularly egregious covering a mural like this.”

But not everyone agrees supergraphics, advertisements, and signs should be viewed so harshly. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce was extremely concerned when Garcetti recently presented a motion to ban the use of “large, excessive billboards throughout the greater Hollywood area”, according to the Canyon News.

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“We do not agree with the ban on supergraphics, “ said Leron Gubler President of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to the paper, “the signs are an economic tool.”

New issues related to these supergraphic signs that have started to surface have fueled Garcetti’s ban. The music advertisement covering the mural La Nuestra Reina de Las Iguanas may be another reason for a complete ban.