Sign twirling on city’s right-of-way is illegal.
In the past years, sign twirling has brought a new face to advertising. Everyone has seen twirlers on street corners, showing off their tricks and stunts to get attention and some advertisement.
Yet, word from the city is that sign twirling on city owned property is illegal. All signs on the city's right of way have been illegal, but many thought that twirling signs were permitted, because they were not attached. Yet, they’re still on the city’s right-of-way and are still illegal.
But, business owners find sign twirling a great and easy way of advertising. The signs grab drivers’ attention, and draw customers in. Many shops and stores, which are hidden from public view, say they desperately need advertisement out on the street.
With no permit required, sign twirling seemed like a good way of getting business. Its also a relatively inexpensive advertising cost, with the average twirlers wage around $10 to $15 per hour.
Although there are other means of advertisement, such as, billboards, posted signs, and newspaper ads, many of them are costly, ineffective, or require permits.
Yet, city officials insist that while the signs are not attached to public property, business owners are still using the city’s land to advertise. City official Curtis Williams says that the city is responsible for the condition of the streets, and wants to keep them clean. "The sidewalks are part of the city, and we are responsible for their condition. If we let people advertise on the streets, then we are sending a message that using city property for advertisment is okay."
Advertising on someone elses land has always been illegal, and it’s the same for city land as well. Although people have fought back, and said that it is merely free speech, and is protected by the First Amendment, citizens have the right to free speech, but not to free advertising.
While not only being unfair to the city, sign twirling is also unfair to other businesses. Many twirlers stand on the corner, in front of other businesses, who have paid more money to be visible from the street. Sign twirling detracts attention from other companies, and tends to clutter the streets.
Dale Ryan, the owner of Stagecoach Plaza on San Fernando Road, who has hired sign twirlers in the past, says that twirling doesn’t have a significant effect on incoming businesses anymore. “Sign twirlers have become like car alarms, you learn to tune them out, they don’t catch your attention anymore.”
Williams says that now city officials will notify twirlers, and get in touch with the company who hired them. From there, Williams hopes that the owner will cooperate. Hopefully, by enforcing a sign twirling ban, the streets will clear up, and illegal advertising will end.