From the corner of Sunset Blvd. and Echo Park Ave. to the end of EP Ave. there's maybe one mile. Not a great distance. But there's plenty of billboard: The price of conversation over the border. Nuestras comunidad, nuestras reglas. Dr. Pepper. Nic Harcourt's face/KCRW. Foreclosure harms everyone. Pozole in a can. Erotic Expo. And others. They're all displayed on residential properties, and none of them are supposed to be there. They're unpermitted visual noise erected by a company called Vista Media (What's that name again? Is that a joke?).
Recently, my friend Mr. X (he's one of two by that name who prefer not to be indentified by more than three letters), sent me a link to a video about this aspect of the built environment in Echo Park.
The video shows Eric Garcetti, a couple of years younger than he is today, decrying the smaller-scale "faceboards" unlawfully posted in front yards on Echo Park Avenue. Getting the blight removed, said the council president, was justification for the city to pay a settlement to billboard company Vista Media. (The company had sued to stop enforcement of city codes regulating billboards.) Garcetti says that, if the company settled, the 15 billboards he personally counted would finally come down. He talks about the beautification movement, which presumably is up against the forces of ugly. Great! But that was two years ago, and billboard ads remain there, like the hills.