Sign companies began turning off digital billboards across Los Angeles on Monday as part of a judge's order to shut down the displays.
Clear Channel Outdoors spokeswoman Fiona Hutton said 82 digital signs owned by the company were turned off Monday before 5 p.m. in compliance with the Los Angeles Superior Court order that was issued Friday after the permits for the signs were deemed invalid by the courts last year.
Clear Channel and CBS Outdoors originally put up 100 signs around Los Angeles as part of a 2006 backroom deal with the city. A competitor, Summit Media, sued arguing the two companies were given special treatment. Summit won its case and the judgment was upheld in appeals, with the California Supreme Court declining to hear the case. The remaining signs of the original 100 will be discussed in an additional court hearing today. CBS Outdoors could not be reached for comment Monday.
Clear Channel has threatened to sue the city for $100 million if a deal is not crafted that allows it to restore the signs.
Over the weekend, mayoral candidates Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti praised the judge's ruling ordering the sign down, even though both approved the deal when they were on the council in 2006.
"I feel very strongly that those digital billboards were not the right thing for the city to do. I welcome the decision that was made by the judge," said Greuel, speaking Saturday at an event with student journalists at the LAPD's Boyle Heights' headquarters.
Garcetti, who gathered supporters in a Shakey's Pizza parking lot on Cesar Chavez Avenue for a rally, also applauded the judge's decision.
"It's a great thing for Los Angeles," Garcetti said. "The courts clearly said they were converted illegally."
Garcetti has repeatedly expressed regret about the 2006 council vote. On Saturday, Greuel said the council didn't realize how bright the signs would be at the time they backed the displays.
The digital billboards, which are largely located in West L.A. and Hollywood, have angered homeowners, who complain about the glare.
Union workers, business leaders, and arts representatives are urging city leaders to strike a deal with the billboard companies to save the 100 displays, arguing the displays represent jobs and revenue. They want the billboards protected under a new ordinance currently being considered by city leaders.
"We're hoping the city reissues the permits," said Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, a business group, in an interview Saturday. "We think it's appropriate for the city to do that."