Pier signs fund parade, annoy some

The signs advertising local businesses line the Huntington Beach Pier in advance of the city's Fourth of July celebrations.

The 35 large banners represent funding for the city's annual July 4 parade but they come with a price: animosity from some who consider the holiday proliferation a blight.

The banners representing Lexus of Westminster, McKenna Volkswagen, Wendy's and other businesses hang from the north and south sides of the pier. They will be taken down July 8, said Huntington Beach spokeswoman Laurie Frymire.

"They want to get some exposure for their business and we're able to offer them some visibility by putting their banner on the pier," she said.

She added that on Tuesday, six more banners were placed on the pier for the upcoming National Scholastic Surfing Assn. Championship, which starts Wednesday.

Businesses pay the city's Fourth of July board thousands of dollars to have advertising banners hung off the pier's railings, according to Frymire and the Huntington Beach Fourth of July Celebration website.

The board's lowest package, the Victory Sponsor, costs $4,000. It allows for two signs to be hung off the railings. The highest tier is the Glorious Gold Sponsor, which comes with a $20,000 price tag for two signs as well, but the signs are placed in premium spots along the pier.

Frymire added that instead of cash payments, some businesses have donated vehicles to be used in the parade, she said.

The signs will be taken down the day after the Pier Plaza Festival ends July 7, Frymire said.

Mayor Connie Boardman said she received a letter from a resident worried about the look of the signage and plans to find a way to make the banners more uniform.

"Or maybe one big banner that says that these businesses have sponsored our Fourth of July; please support them," she said.

Resident Merle Moshiri thinks it's tacky to hang signs off what she considers the "landmark of the city."

"It's seems like we're franchising away the city icon," she said.

Moshiri suggested a solution similiar to Boardman's, asking the banners to be red, white and blue if the city is going to hang signs.

She emailed a letter to City Manager Fred Wilson stating her disapproval of using the pier as a billboard.

"'If they're not down, I'm collecting all my old pantyhose and you're going to see those toggled to the fence flapping in the wind, just to add to the ambience down there,'" Moshiri said she wrote to Wilson on Monday. "I haven't heard from him yet."

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