Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Nonprofit organizations will be allowed to promote services and events on city buses now that the Los Angeles City Council has eased a ban on non-commercial advertisers, a councilman announced Tuesday.

Councilman Paul Krekorian said the city restriction on nonprofits barred groups like AIDS Walk Los Angeles from advertising its annual fundraising event on Department of Transportation buses.

The previous policy, modeled after one that was in use by Metro, allowed only public service announcements from government agencies, and advertisements from commercial organizations, to be placed on city buses.

Krekorian called his colleagues’ approval of the new policies last week “a win-win for the city of Los Angeles” that gives nonprofits the opportunity to promote important issues and services.

Krekorian said the policies will allow the city to earn additional revenue, as well as “encourage many nonprofits to step up (to) advertise on our city buses.”

The restriction on nonprofits was put in place in 2006 after city officials cited concerns that the buses would become “public forums,” which would then be protected by the First Amendment, restricting the city’s ability to control ad content.

The new policies attempt to maintain neutrality, while still allowing nonprofits to promote or discuss their services or events.

The revised policies state that advertisements by nonprofits are restricted to those having to do with:

— prevention or treatment of illnesses;

— promotion of safety or personal well-being;

— education or training;

— provision of children and family services;

— provision of services and programs that provide support to low income citizens, senior citizens, and people with illnesses or disabilities;

— solicitation by broad-based contribution campaigns which provide funds to multiple charitable organizations engaged in any of the activities described above; or

— solicitation of funds or promotion of an event benefiting a nonprofit corporation which is engaged in any of the activities described above.

City News Service

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