SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The huge, “public nuisance” Verizon Wireless advertisements that span over 25 floors of the Four Embarcadero tower near Super Bowl City are coming down per order of the City of San Francisco.
A statement from Verizon Wireless to CBS SF on Thursday, states “Because of honest misunderstanding between the City and the Host Committee about permissible signage under the Planning Code, we have decided to remove our signage at Embarcadero 4.”
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, in a letter Tuesday to Verizon Communications, Inc. general counsel and executive vice president for public policy Craig Silliman and Four Embarcadero Center manager Robert E. Pester, demanded that the ads be taken down.
The letter, with the subject line, “Re: Demand to Immediately Remove illegal Verizon General Advertising Signs in San Francisco,” states that the “unlawful outsized general advertising signs” recently installed on two sides of Four Embarcadero, are illegal in San Francisco.
A Verizon Wireless ad on the building reads, “Get a Network That Works. Better Matters. Verizon.”
Herrera said this advertising sign violates a 50-year-old city ordinance, enacted in 1965, that regulates signs and billboards in order “to enhance the character, dignity, and aesthetics of San Francisco, and to promote the public health, safety, and welfare by reducing visual distractions to pedestrians and motorists.”
Furthermore, in 2002, San Francisco voters adopted Proposition G, which further restricts such advertising by prohibiting new general advertising signs at any location within the city.
Herrera said that the signs must be removed “no later than 5:00 p.m. on Thursday,” January 28th. He said that if the signs are not removed by then, he can, under both state and local laws, seek daily civil penalties and injunctive relief requiring the removal of the Verizon signs.
Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee, said the committee met with the city attorney’s office Wednesday and will modify the banners so that they are compliant with city law.
San Francisco City Attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey said, “Statistically, we have the equivalent, here in San Francisco, of 18 Super Bowls every year and if we make acceptations in the law for one event, we’re really opening the door to saying that it’s okay for everybody to do this for every convention or every major event that comes to San Francisco. And we simply can’t do it.”
By Hannah Albarazi – Follow her on Twitter