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City attorney demands removal of Super Bowl Verizon ad signs at Four Embarcadero

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City Attorney Dennis Herrera is demanding the “illegal” Verizon ad on the side of Four Embarcadero be removed. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)

The Verizon advertising signs installed as part of Super Bowl City on two sides of Four Embarcadero are illegal and must be removed, says City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

In a letter dated Tuesday to Verizon’s general counsel and the regional manager of Four Embarcadero Center, Herrera instructed that the signs covering much of the high-rise’s walls that face downtown San Francisco be removed by Thursday at 5 p.m. or The City will sue for a temporary restraining order requiring the immediate elimination of the signs.

Per Proposition G, adopted by voters in 2002, no new general advertising signs are allowed in San Francisco. Voters adopted the measure because The City is already saturated with general advertising, Herrera wrote.

“The Verizon signs installed on Four Embarcadero fall within the definition of a general advertising sign prohibited in San Francisco,” Herrera wrote. “These signs as installed could not have been permitted by the Planning Department because they violate City law.”

Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee, said the signs that were found to be illegal would come down.

“We are working cooperatively with the sponsor, city agencies, and the city attorney on modifying the design of the banners. We are dedicated to making sure the banners are in compliance and we are working on it as we speak,” Ballard said. “This involves removing some, but not all, of the banners.”

Verizon released a statement on Thursday in response to the ads as well.

“Because of honest misunderstanding between the City and the Host Committee about permissible signage under the Planning Code, we have decided to remove our signage at Embarcadero 4,” the statement reads.

Super Bowl City, the free weeklong event leading up to the Super Bowl 50 game in Santa Clara, is set to begin Saturday at Justin Herman Plaza and Sue Bierman Park, while the NFL Experience will open Saturday as well at Moscone Center.

Examiner staff writer Joshua Sabatini contributed to this report.