Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Sign By Any Other Name

PITTSBURGH, Pa, Probably sometime in the future -- URA Executive Director Pat Ford recently beat allegations that he improperly approved an LED billboard for an advertiser's use by arguing that the billboard was not an electronic sign, it was instead a "glowing device for public enjoyment".

"There are no city codes regulating the usage of glowing devices," said Ford. "So in no way did I do anything that was improper."

The Carnegie Science Center and casino-owner Don Barden jumped right on this stroke-of-genius reclassification strategy to solve controversies plaguing their own organizations.

The Science Center filed court papers asking that plastinated bodies in their "Bodies" exhibit be re-classified as "bio-system containers." Barden followed suit claiming that the proposed 20-story garage for his casino was not a garage at all.

"It's a bridge of cutting-edge design which diverts traffic from one end of my property to the other," Barden explained. "There are no height limitations for bridges that I'm aware of. So construction of my casino bridge must therefore proceed immediately as any further delays will seriously jeopardize my bottom line."

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said all three parties seem to have a point. "Whatever needs to be done, we'll do it of course. But it's kinda hard to argue with such sound logic."


Bram Reichbaum said...

I just got done watching the Harris / Dowd smackdown questioning of Ford again.

First of all, "electronic signs" or signs with electronic components I think began to come into question when those rotating 3-signs-in-1 thing were introduced; there was an electronic motor spinning the sign faces, but they were not considered an electronic sign. Other than that, that is just our Zoning Administrator being obtuse and consenting to do Lamar Advertising a solid.

As to the use of such a large, expensive or whatever "advertising sign" -- I believe that Ford et all in 2003 went out of their way to approve the CAPA sign AS AN ADVERTISING SIGN, only with significant exceptional strings attached, one of which was that it would not be allowed to run any advertising. So although advertising was strictly prohibited, it would still be considered an advertising sign.

Why? To provide the advertising industry with a Trojan horse. A one-day temporary permit was authorized by the Mayor to impress incoming 'dignitaries' touring CAPA, a 90-day temporary permit was issued for whatever reason ... and by then, presumably, a comfort level was reached.

In the ensuing years, the many prohibitions on that particular advertising sign (one of which was a prohibition against any advertising upon it) conveniently did not make its way into the zoning precedent.

What follows is WAY out there speculation on my part:

Remember that bizarre moving light-and-dark square with the triangles facing the north shore? Remember looking at that and thinking, "What the hell?" and being filled with a sense of foreboding? You don't suppose that was somehow the beginning of the assemblage of this scheme?

Adam said...

the billboard was not an electronic sign, it was instead a "glowing device for public enjoyment".

Wait, What?

I'd like to know who would enjoy seeing car, jeweler and Edgar Snyder's mug advertisements (that pose when he points makes me cringe) while driving through downtown.

Pat Ford would refer to a fifty-foot Michael Jackson robot rampaging through the city as a "children's special".

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