Op-Ed: Is San Jose Ready for as Many as 112 Digital Billboards?

Once upon a time, the billboard industry found that digital billboards were far more profitable than traditional billboards. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the sign lobby began to sneak digital signs into San Jose, even though the city enacted a new sign ban in 1985.

First, lobbyists have instilled the idea of ​​economically and aesthetically revitalizing cities, especially downtown, by allowing digital technology to be incorporated into restaurant, retail and office signs. Articles that reflect that theme Silicon Valley Business Journal And Mercury News..

Second, the sign lobby has steadily worked to liberalize the sign ordinance, and the city council has made the following changes, step by step and without fanfare.

  • To give permission Electronic Downtown programming sign (Adopted on September 1, 2009)
  • Allow installation or independence Digital Signed city-wide for use of large-scale assembly (June 19, 2012)
  • Allows a maximum programmable maximum permissible square foot increase Electronic Highway sign components (October 16, 2012)

Third, the Billboard Lobby promised the city a source of income if it was allowed to install digital billboards in public facilities. Their purpose is general advertising (think national brands and services) and is added to existing digital signage dedicated to the announcement of local events and public services.

In a strategic assault on the sign ordinance, this scheme was called “Phase 1” and was adopted by the city council in 2018. As a result, as many as 22 large digital billboards could soon be added on or near public buildings and sites in San Jose.

Finally, “Phase 2” is a piece of resistance that lobbyists have long wanted, as many as 90 large free-standing digital signs on private land throughout San Jose.

These signs, which promote products and services available nationwide, bring sufficient profits to sign companies and do not have to pay the city. Or, as Mayor Sam Liccardo said at a council meeting on digital billboards for private property, “no profit, no city income.”

This decade-long quest for Phase 2 by Billboard Lobby and city council friends will face final positive or negative votes in the coming months. Imagine a highway and gateway to downtown with huge electronic bulletin boards. Think about how easy it is to destroy the positive sensations of the place we worked hard to create.

The good news is that in four public online conferences, more than 150 people enthusiastically opposed digital billboard advertising on public and private property.

Their concerns were so loud and clear that the city council now seems to be listening to growing dissenting opinions.

Here’s what Congress needs to hear from residents and visitors alike: “Cancel Phase 1, end Phase 2 and reinstate the 1985 ban on new signs in San Jose.”

Read more digital signages from screen rental Milwaukee

John Miller is a member of No Digital Billboards in San Jose, the founder of Washington, DC-based Scenic America and the author of Egotopia: Narcissism and the New American Landscape. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of San Jose Inside.Send the editorial pitch to [email protected]..

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