Robo-calls prompt removal of illegal signs

Hollywood's $300 investment pays off

Published On: Jun 29 2012 04:03:34 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 30 2012 08:14:30 AM EDT

Those who place illegal signs on the side of the roadways in Hollywood seem to be getting the message that the city wants them taken down. 

Mayor Peter Bober claims 90 percent of the signs have been removed and haven't been replaced since the city began calling the numbers that appear on the signs over and over. 

In March, the city began using the  automated call system. The recorded calls are placed to the numbers on the signs up to 20 times a day. 

The message says, "This is a message from the city of Hollywood Police Department. Commercial signs displaying this phone number were illegally placed on the public right of way. You will continue to receive phone calls with this message until the signs are removed." 

"We noticed within a week that half the signs were down. Now, it's more like 90 percent," said Bober. 

Local 10 drove many of the major roads in Hollywood and couldn't find a single illegal sign on the side of the road. 

The city said it automatically calls 130 phone numbers 20 times per day.

City employees were spending valuable time pulling over and removing the signs daily. 

"For a $300 investment, we have our city employees spending their time much more wisely," Bober said. 

In order to get off the call list, the person behind the number has to come to the police department, fill out a form and be slapped with a $75 fine. 

Cities in Nevada, Colorado, California and Tennessee have called the city wanting to know more. 

"We have had people from Canada calling us about the program and more information, looking to see how they can duplicate it, because this program only cost the city $300," Bober said.