Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mother Nature Proves Trutanich's Point As Billboard Shreds In High Winds

It's been almost 2 months since the "Dragongate" saga had the nation's attention. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich took the first step to gain control of illegal supergraphics and billboards by arresting alleged scofflaw, Keyvn Setareh, who chose to ignore warnings not to place a gigantic illegal supergraphic promoting the movie "How to train your Dragon" on his Hollywood Blvd. building, and spent a weekend in jail before deciding it might be better to obey the law.

Trutanich's solution to a problem that had stumped his predecessor, Rocky Delgadillo, not only gained the praise of many Los Angeles residents, but also got the attention of the illegal billboard and supergraphic  industry, many of whom presumably decided they didn't need to spend a weekend in jail, and quietly started removing their illegal signs.

There can be few things more frustrating for the "business as usual" brigade in Los Angeles than seeing LA's new City Attorney achieving results from knowing how to do the job and succeeding where others made 'failure' their hallmark and relied on photo ops to disguise their records of inaction and inadequacy.

The response from the "business as usual" brigade was predictable enough; condemn and criticize. Left wing washed up wackjob LA Times columnist Tim Rutten promptly wrote a hit piece questioning the propriety of the $1M bail that kept Keyvan Setareh in jail, without even mentioning the factors used to calculate bail - the risk to public safety being the main concern of California Penal Code Section 1275(a), and the main concern of the Judge who set that bail.

As today's high winds blast the City of Los Angeles we see, below, one of those risks (click on the photos to see a more detailed view).

 CBS Outdoor's Billboard at 835 Western Ave.
Friday, April 30, 2010 6:30PM

While rush hour traffic flows by, and pedestrians walk the sidewalk, the supergraphic billboard covering flaps violently in the high winds, entangling itself in the adjacent power lines. The high winds have already shredded one end of the fabric to the point where it became detached from the billboard and entangled in the power lines. No doubt, eventually the other end with give up its fight against the elements.

What will happen next? Will the fabric entangled in the powerlines cause those high voltage lines to crash to the ground? Will a pedestrian or motorist be electrocuted? Or will the fabric detach itself from the power line and simply fall on a passing motorist, temporarily covering the vehicle's windshield and blinding the driver's view, thereby causing an accident?

The point is, why should we take the risk? Why wait for an unnecessary and avoidable tragedy? That's the risk that the judge saw, and that's the risk that Tim Rutten was too blinded by his political bias to consider. It's the risk that Carmen Trutanich recognized, and thankfully he's doing something about it.

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