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LA Xpress and Working World Newsracks are Trash Receptacles

By Kerry Morrison

October 4, 2016

Take a look around the city and you will see a plethora of abandoned, broken or dilapidated news racks. It is likely that there is not enough funding in the city coffers to enforce the ordinance that was updated with much fanfare back in 2004.

Recently, we hired a summer intern[1] to walk up and down the streets of both BIDs and catalogue every news rack that was in need of repair. There were 86. We have forwarded this list to a member of the Board of Public Work’s Commissioners.

The city’s news rack ordinance requires that anyone who wants to install a news rack must register the specific news rack with the director of public works. Additionally, they must pay a fee at time of registration, and annually thereafter, “to cover the cost of processing the registration and administering these regulations.”

The fees were last established in 2009 at $21.69 per news rack.  At that time, the Bureau of Street Services had indicated that increasing the fee to $39.49 would allow for full cost recovery. This was predicated upon an estimate of 23,000 news racks at that time. The lower number was adopted, and it does not appear as if that amount has been changed since that time.

Further, with respect to maintenance, the ordinance requires: “Every newsrack shall be maintained in a neat and clean condition and be in good repair at all times.” (7)(A) 

The primary offender of this ordinance is LA Xpress. Of the total number of news racks that we are submitted to the city, 48 percent (or 41 of these) are owned by LA Xpress. The next most common violator of the ordinance is Working World, with 26% inferior racks. Two summers ago, we wrote about a similar attempt to catalogue dilapidated newsracks and report them to the city.   As you can see from the count – the situation has grown worse. In 2014, we discovered  31 broken LA Xpress newsracks.

LA Xpress will likely argue that they have a first amendment right to place their publications on the public-right-of-way. Living in a civil society is a two-way street. LA Xpress and Working World:  clean up your racks.


[1] With appreciation to Michele Sganzerla, visiting this summer from Verona Italy.  This was his project while visiting his uncle, Fabio Conti, president of the board for the Sunset & Vine BID.


Kerry Morrison is executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance.  She serves on the United Way/LA Area Chamber Home For Good Task Force and blogs at www.onlyinhollywood.org. @KerryHMorrison

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