Here's a way to clean up billboards

Los Angeles can't even prevent illegal billboards from going up — mainly because City Hall don't really want to — but in Brazil, Sao Paulo has become what may be the first big city in the world to ban them all. From The Independent:

Billboard advertising has, simply, been outlawed. Eight thousand hoardings have been done away with so far, with more to go. Those who disobey the law can be fined more than £3,500 per offending site. In its first year, the law brought to the city nearly £15m in fines.

Today Publicidade, as we call the spirit of billboard advertising in Sao Paulo, is fighting for her life in the political jungle of Brazil. So bruising is the fight over legislation in Brazil that, the other day, President Lula da Silva despairingly remarked that the gap between what he wanted to do and what the politicians let him do was as wide as the Atlantic. He added: "If Jesus Christ came here and Judas had a vote in any political party at all, Jesus would have to get Judas on the phone to clinch a deal."

The admen tried everything to stop the measure before the vote was taken by the municipal council in Sao Paulo. They forecast – mendaciously – that it would lead to massive unemployment, but the law was passed on 26 September 2006 by 45 votes to one.

The Sao Paulo mayor's next target is noise pollution.

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