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Name that questionable street banner [Coffeebreak Quiz]

January 11, 2012 | 11:07 am

Lamppoost street bannerToday’s Times Opinion L.A. Coffeebreak Quiz is a kind of scavenger hunt, and it has to do with the city of Los Angeles’ street banner program.

Street banners are those colorful vinyl strips you see hanging from public light poles in the public right-of-way along public streets.

They lend a sense of place to neighborhoods, celebrate holidays and promote nonprofit events like art exhibits. But the Los Angeles Municipal Code  -- Sec. 62.132 -- bans them from advertising commercial events or products.

Still, this is Los Angeles, where laws are negotiable, and back in the 1990s banners were hung along city boulevards that advertised the very much for-profit Dodgers. The envelope-pushing went too far in 1999, when ABC hung 1,000 yellow banners advertising its fall TV season. Even the City Council was embarrassed into cracking down, and after a moratorium, the city stopped turning light poles into commercial billboards. For a while.

But time passes, and old habits die hard. Banners are looking pretty commercial again. Which brings us to today’s quiz:

QuizWhat commercial broadcast TV program, to be aired next week, is currently being advertised on Los Angeles street banners? We've seen them in Studio City and Woodland Hills, but they may be elsewhere, too.

Hint: The show is to be live -- and although Los Angeles streets are carrying the advertising, the show does not originate in Los Angeles. The broadcaster presenting (and featured on the banner) it is not in Los Angeles. And the presumably nonprofit sponsoring organization is not in Los Angeles, either.

The correct answer will be posted here on Thursday, Jan. 12, at 11:07 a.m. -- along with the next Coffeebreak Quiz.


Shrek and the City

Leave L.A.'s lampposts alone

--Robert Greene

Photo: A lamppost banner -- being used as banners are supposed to be. Credit: Robert Greene / Los Angeles Times

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