This is an archive of a past election.
See for current information.
LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund If you appreciate our service to voters, please consider helping us with a donation.
Smart Voter
Los Angeles County, CA March 8, 2011 Election
Measure WH-A
Billboard Taxes and Regulation
City of West Hollywood

Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

Fail: 1121 / 20.2% Yes votes ...... 4424 / 79.8% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis |

Shall an Ordinance be adopted (1) imposing a new 7% tax on revenue from off-site advertising signs and (2) amending the City's zoning ordinance to allow tall wall advertising signs to be placed on buildings that meet certain criteria on Santa Monica and Beverly Boulevards without discretionary review by the City?

Impartial Analysis from Michael Jenkins, City Attorney
Ballot Measure A is a proposal to adopt an ordinance that would make two changes to existing City law: (1) impose a new tax on revenue from off-site advertising signs in the City and (2) amend the zoning ordinance to allow tall wall advertising signs on Santa Monica and Beverly Boulevards and allow them without discretionary review.

An "off-site" sign is a sign that advertises a product or service not available on the premises where the sign is located. Off-site signs include conventional billboards, tall walls, video displays and other creative billboards. A tall wall sign is currently defined as a sign that is more than 5,000 square feet and attached to a building's wall.

Current law imposes a tax of $1.44 per $1,000 of revenue generated from off-site signs, which is the highest tax rate imposed on businesses in the City. The proposed ordinance would increase this tax to 7% of gross revenues collected by sign owners from advertisers purchasing advertising space. The amount of the proposed tax would be roughly fifty times the tax paid under current law.

Under current law, tall wall signs may be placed on qualifying buildings only on Sunset Boulevard if the City grants a discretionary permit. Measure A expands the area where tall wall signs are allowed and eliminates the discretionary permit process by which the City reviews specific proposals for compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood. Measure A would give property owners the right to erect tall wall signs on qualifying buildings on both Santa Monica and Beverly Boulevards without discretionary review.

If Measure A is adopted, both the new tax and the provisions allowing additional tall wall signs will become law. However, the two provisions are legally independent, which means that if either is invalidated by a court, the other may remain in effect.

The validity of Measure A was the subject of a pre-election lawsuit. The court determined that the legal questions about Measure A could be decided after the election if the measure is approved. If Measure A passes and a lawsuit challenging one or more of its provisions is filed, the outcome of that lawsuit cannot be predicted with certainty.

Measure A states that revenue from the new tax is intended for "maintenance and expansion of city services." It is unclear from the measure whether this is a restriction on the use of the revenues. The California Constitution requires a two-thirds vote to pass a tax measure if use of tax revenues is restricted; a simple majority is required to pass a tax measure where the revenue may be used for "general governmental purposes." It is not clear whether the proposed tax is a "general" or "special" tax; hence, it is uncertain whether a majority or a two-thirds vote is required for passage of the measure.

A "yes" vote is in favor of adoption of the ordinance; a "no" vote is against adoption.

  Official Information

City of West Hollywood

Video of City Council Discussion

November 15, 2010
This election is archived. Any links to sources outside of Smart Voter may no longer be active. No further links will be added to this page.
Links to sources outside of Smart Voter are provided for information only and do not imply endorsement.

Los Angeles Home Page || Statewide Links || About Smart Voter || Feedback
Created: September 13, 2011 11:10 PDT
Smart Voter <>
Copyright © League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
The League of Women Voters neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office or political parties.