Commuters in very blue West Los Angeles were surprised Tuesday morning to see a large “Trump” sign, styled similarly to the iconic “Hollywood” sign, along a heavily-trafficked portion of the 405 Freeway near the Getty Museum.
Spotted a Trump sign along the 405 near the Getty.
Can we get a fire on that hill again but just on the sign? pic.twitter.com/JEU7gNlmnk
— Deep Dark Dan | BLM (@sketchdan) October 6, 2020
Word of the sign’s existence spread quickly on social media, with passionate opinions coming from those on both the left (as seen above) and the right. And those on the left quickly did what leftists do — they called 911 to report the “visual distraction” and demanded that it be removed. And of course, they got their way. From the L.A. Times:
There’s little information about who placed the sign, but Lauren Wonder, chief public information officer for the California Department of Transportation, said it was on private property.
For that reason, she said, Caltrans workers “laid it down so it wasn’t a visual distraction” but did not completely remove it.
“This was a life and safety issue because there were concerns about distracted driving,” Wonder said.
Say what? There are billboards all around Los Angeles with salacious or attention-grabbing content that is distracting to drivers, to say nothing of all of the tents practically blocking vehicle traffic on some streets. Of course, with a billboard, the state receives those sweet, sweet permit fees.
Caltrans, which is notoriously slow, acted with unprecedented haste to disassemble the sign that was encouraging political thought that leaders in Los Angeles and Sacramento don’t endorse — even though it was located on private property, and was an expression of Constitutionally-protected political speech. (Note: Public records indicate that the land is owned by the Aga Khan Foundation, and it’s almost certain that it was placed there without the Foundation’s knowledge or permission.)
Rob Schmitt’s tweet perfectly sums up what would have happened had the sign said “BLM.”
City of LA – which can’t put up a stop sign in under 3 years – took this down within hours. Had it said BLM it would’ve received immediate protected monument status https://t.co/nrOX4oqoIn
— Rob Schmitt (@SchmittNYC) October 6, 2020
The intrepid group that carried out the sign installation released a video of their expedition Wednesday morning:
Exclusive footage of the TRUMP sign going up in L.A. 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 @realDonaldTrump
This is incredible! Must Watch & RT!! pic.twitter.com/VEKZcTOoEJ
— 45🇺🇸 (@45F0RLIFE) October 7, 2020
Hopefully, the group can get their sign materials back and find an empathetic landowner (we know they exist!), whose property is an advantageous location, who’ll give them permission to move the sign to that location. Then, if Caltrans shows up again — game on.