By Chris Cott
La JollaI read the recent article about the illegal signs in La Jolla with great interest and a bit of disgust. The title was pessimistic to begin with: “Sign clutter not likely to disappear from landscape.”
With that attitude, your prediction will likely hold true. What was not mentioned is that the majority of the businesses on Pearl Street have at least one code violation, either an A-frame sign, a banner up over 30 days, excessive signage, or unpermitted signage, including signs painted on the outside of windows. The issue is not the city’s financial crisis, in fact, part of our crisis is the fault of code enforcement.
Long before the department was paired down, the majority of the enforcement officers failed to enforce the code making more allowances and excuses than issuing fines to the blatant violators. This lack of revenue not only added to their own demise but with little or no penalties there was little deterrent.
This is what led to the current state of clutter on Pearl and throughout too much of La Jolla. Merchants saw their competitors adding more signs and followed suit. We wouldn’t need enforcement if the owners just obeyed the laws. This exact issue was addressed over 50 years ago by Dr. Seuss and it looks like we haven’t changed much.