Driving to Arches National Park in Utah after our recent visit to the Grand Canyon, we were horrified to see a huge sign painted on the sheer, rocky side of a cliff in letters 20 feet high. It was advertising a store selling souvenirs.
It was just another egregious example of the visual blight of outdoor advertising … something we don’t have here in Hawaii, where billboards have been illegal for more than 50 years.
Our law is very simple: signs advertising a business may only be located at the place of business. Furthermore, the size of the sign is limited to a certain percentage of the area of the building surface on which it’s located. No other signs are permitted.
To me – in fact to 99 percent of the people here – this makes sense and we wouldn't have it any other way in what is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the world. Besides, as a practical matter, tourism is the lifeblood of Hawaii’s economy and the natural beauty is what brings most of the visitors to these islands.
There is, however, a company here on Maui that periodically flouts the law by flying an airplane back and forth above our beaches towing a sign advertising their cheap T-shirts. Proving once again that greed and self-interest know no bounds.