Supes vote to outlaw big signs

Large promotional or political signs have no place on San Francisco’s light and utility poles, according to the Board of Supervisors.

The board on Tuesday unanimously approved a ban of signs higher than 11 inches and wider than the diameter of the pole.

Supervisor Jake McGoldrick questioned the legality of the sign ban, but later voted in favor of it.

The sign ban “does not run afoul of the freedom of expression or any amendments of the United States Constitution,” said the author of the sign-ban law, Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin.

During election season, many large political signs go up on city poles and are often not taken down and large promotional signs often stay up for months after the event they advertise.

Existing city sign laws say all posted signs must be taken down within 70 days, and election or event signs must come down within 10 days after the election or event.

The Department of Public Works spends about $200,000 enforcing the sign laws, Peskin said.

The sign ban still would allow the posting of common “handbills,” such as “lost cat” or “piano lessons.”

Other cities, such as San Mateo and Daly City, only allow city employees to post signs for official business on public light and utility poles.

IN OTHER ACTION

IS BIG OIL AT IT AGAIN? Supervisor Tom Ammiano requested a committee hearing to investigate whether gas stations owned by oil refineries are price gouging. Big oil companies own nearly all of the gas stations in San Francisco. Ammiano said the hearing would determine whether The City should use its “policing powers to protect consumers.”

PROPOSAL TO GRANT POLICE CHIEF MORE POWER: Supervisor Sean Elsbernd requested that the city attorney draft a charter amendment granting the police chief more power to discipline police officers. The amendment would increase the number of days the police chief can suspend officers from 10 days to 90 days.

DOGGIE DINER SIGN VOTED A HISTORIC LANDMARK: The Doggie Diner sign was designated an historic landmark by a 10-0 vote. The sign, an 18-foot dog head on a 17-foot pole, is the last version of a number of popular dog signs used to advertise the Bay Area fast-food chain known as Doggie Diner. The sign is located on the median strip of Sloat Boulevard and 45th Avenue.

jsabatini@examiner.comBay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsLocalPolitics

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