Presented as a way to assist tourists in navigating LA, the “IKE” Interactive Kiosk Experience is a program that calls for HUNDREDS of digital ad structures on our city sidewalks. This program could best be described as the “Son of STAP,” because the Tourism and Convention Board entered into a Letter of Intent to launch this program back in 2017 but could not move forward until there was a change in the L. A. Municipal Code (LAMC) to allow advertising structures on the public right-of-way in addition to those permitted for transit structures. STAP delivered that new LAMC.
When fighting STAP, Scenic LA and our supporters clearly pointed out that a new LAMC was not needed for STAP and a program to provide new street furniture with ads to move forward. However, language to remove the long-established protections of our public right-of-way from ad structures remained in the STAP mitigated negative declaration document. IKE is now out in the open and all can see one reason why the new LAMC was sought.
Maps showing where the City and their selected vendor, Orange Barrel Media/IKE Smart Cities, seek to place their ad screens had been accessible for viewing and have subsequently been removed from the internet (along with additional program documents). But, we fortunately copied and saved them. You can see where these signs are proposed and how they violate a number of existing community-specific plans and the City’s Mobility Element of the General Plan.
In an even more bizarre twist, the City seeks to avoid going through an open RFP process to seek a vendor for the program and is attempting to “piggyback” the program onto one implemented in HOUSTON, Texas, claiming that their RFP process should be used to justify issuing a contract to the vendor used in Houston. In fact, a motion was introduced in the LA City Council on October 4 that contains language to that effect. The motion itself contains inaccurate characterizations of the IKE program that did not originate in November 2019 (as the motion states) but had been brewing in the Convention and Tourism Board since 2015, waiting for the opening up of the public right-of-way to new advertising structures.
- Oppose IKE program and the absence of community outreach.
- Press for open public hearings on the program, not an expedited 30-day agreement as contained in the Council File motion.
- Advocate for a competitive RFP process for vendors for any program advanced following public participation and input.
- Insist upon required and defined community input/neighborhood council/ CD office input mechanism into the locating of any proposed IKE structures in a community.
- Seek limits on the number of ad structures within a specified/defined geographic area.
- Refuse to accept the commercialization of our public right-of-way with distracting dangerous digital changing messaging signs.
This program was developed by an outside organization, the LA Tourism and Convention Bureau, and is now being quietly adopted by the City under its new Tourism Board/Department. They and the Board of Public Works should not have the ability to populate and pollute our sidewalks and neighborhoods with these structures.
This measure marks the invasion of our shared public open space with commercial advertising structures that distract drivers, take up space otherwise used for trees and sidewalk dining, and enjoying the out-of-doors. Our PUBLIC right-of-way should not be for sale to commercial advertisers. We do not need our privacy to be invaded by these structures and their ability to capture our information each time we pass by so that the ads can be better targeted to us or so that our cell phones can be targeted with future advertisements.