Los Angeles bus benches and shelters may soon be free of alcohol ads after the City Council voted unanimously this week to ban the advertisements from city-owned property.
If the Mayor signs the measure, Los Angeles will become the largest city in the country to prohibit alcohol ads, joining other cities such as San Francisco, Philadelphia and Seattle.
The ordinance, first introduced four years ago by Richard Alarcon, was co-sponsored this time around by City Councilman Paul Koretz, 5th District and Councilman Jose Huizar, 14th District in an effort to discourage underage drinking.
“Alcohol ads on city property send the wrong message to our youth, especially children in low-income and working-class communities where these type of ads are more prevalent,” said Councilmember Huizar.
Boyle Heights Beat youth reporter Jennifer Lam previously reported about the disproportionate number of liquor stores in Boyle Heights, and community organizers have been fighting to limit the number of liquor licenses and the influence of alcohol.
Alcohol Justice and other public health advocates support the ban saying it is an essential step in making Los Angeles safer for children and families.
Teresa Marquez, a long time Boyle Heights resident and member of Alcohol Justice, has been fighting for years against the prevalence of alcohol in the community. She says the ban is a result of a lot of work over the last three years and it’s passing is a real success.
Marquez says children should not have to read alcohol advertisements while walking to school and hopes “the ban will keep children from wanting to try alcohol.”
The ban does not apply to existing contracts, but to new contracts and is said to affect approximately 1 percent of the total city-owned advertising space.
The ban also does not apply to city-controlled properties where alcohol consumption is permitted, such as the Los Angeles Zoo or LAX.
Councilman Koretz has said the ban should not result in any loss of funds for the city because alcohol ads will be replaced by other advertisements.