Using illegal signs to make a new one

NEWPORT BEACH — For the second year, Corona del Mar resident Dan Purcell created a holiday greeting card from the illegal signs he confiscated throughout the city.

The 12-foot-square piece with battery-operated Christmas lights used about 120 signs, he said.

He delivered the card to City Hall this week.

"I've been collecting since mid-November," Purcell said. "I'm tired of having to do it."

The signs advertising holiday light installations were placed on city utility poles, which violates Newport Beach municipal code. Purcell said he fears that when the signs are left in place, residents might think they are legal and hire an installer who may not have a business license or may have a criminal record.

Last year, police warned residents not to hire businesses advertising on signs after a Corona del Mar woman called an installer from a sign; the man turned out to be an accused rapist out on bail.

Purcell propped the enormous sign on an easel outside the Council Chambers, poking his head through a cutout. Most City Council members left the meeting through a side exit, but the sign caught the attention of several city employees, including Police Chief Jay Johnson and City Manager Dave Kiff.

Kiff told him he would follow up with city staff on a system to remove such signs in the future, Purcell said. Purcell said he planned to remove his lights, fold the sign and mail it to Mayor Nancy Gardner.

"I love holiday lights," he said, "but these signs are a bunch of litter."

Twitter: @coronadelmartdy

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