Anti-billboard "renegade sign bandit" speaks about the fools at Fuel Outdoor
By Tibby Rothman
The Weekly tracked down one of the culprits who took action after the city failed to remove poster-sized billboards illegally installed on sidewalks. He refused to let his name be used, but agreed to an interview.
L.A. Weekly: How does your spouse feel about being married to a renegade sign bandit?
Bandit: She doesn't like me out late at night.
LAW: Do you feel that label is unjustified?
Bandit: "The bandit" label? I find it highly flattering.
Bandit: There's a certain romanticism to the word bandit, it puts me--who was the famous Angeleno Mexican bandit...? [He then asks the Weekly to help him spell Joachim Murietta.]
Bandit: He was a notorious bandito--he's called the Robin Hood of El Dorado or the Mexican Robin Hood.
LAW: Are you reading that?
Bandit: [sheepishly] It's on Wikipedia.
LAW: You stole the city's seal for this monkey-wrenching project?
Bandit: No, nobody stole the seal. If anybody had actually looked at it they would see it was not the city seal.
LAW: So, what was it?
Bandit: It was a modified... it was different city seal. It's a seal with a general resemblance to the city seal. But there's nothing on it that says "The City of Los Angeles."
LAW: What's a better description of what you do if not "renegade sign bandit"?
Bandit: It's kind of like a prankster thing, but it's more about lighting a fire under the city's butt.
LAW: Who do you hold responsible for the proliferation of signs?
Bandit: Well, of course, the Mayor has ultimate responsibility. And the City Attorney should be, at least, threatening to sue this company for having these signs out illegally. Building & Safety is the department that is directly in charge, I believe. None of the City Councilmen have made any noise out of it--they're the ones with the bully pulpit. That ought to cover it, I think.
LAW: For a bandito, you seem to have a strong understanding of how the city government functions.
Bandit: Well, you know, a bank robber has to know how a bank operates. No, I shouldn't say that--that's not a good analogy. I'd say, I have a better idea of how the city fails to operate.
The city claims it doesn't have the money to enforce [against illegal billboards]. Why don't they simply collect all the signs and make Fuel buy them back? That could help solve the budget problem and provide city jobs that are now under the axe.
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