Officials from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) knocked down giant white letters spelling “TRUMP” on the hillside of someone’s private property on Tuesday, citing it as a “life and safety issue.”
“This was a life and safety issue because there were concerns about distracted driving,” Chief Public Information Officer for Caltrans Lauren Wonder said.
This LA Times report on the massive Trump sign on a hill near the 405 says that state authorities went on private property to take it down because they claimed the political speech was a "visual distraction" to drivers. What? https://t.co/9doDsRgUdy via @YouTube
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) October 7, 2020
The sign was located at the Sepulveda Pass hills just outside of the largely blue and Democratic-run Los Angeles adjacent to highway 405.
The first report of the sign came right before 7 a.m. from someone who “was apparently concerned it could spark a blaze” following multiple “destructive brush fires in the past few years.”
Despite its distance from the highway, the California Highway Patrol recorded the sign as a “traffic hazard” as people on the nearby highway began to decelerate to take pictures of the sign during their morning commutes.
By 9 a.m. that same morning, Caltrans entered the private property and “laid it down so it wasn’t a visual distraction.” The sign was not fully removed but is no longer erected on the hillside.
Update: the sign is down.
— Christina Pascucci (@ChristinaKTLA) October 6, 2020
The California Department of Transportation did not respond for comment, so it is unclear if the owner of the property was notified before the sign was disassembled. It is also unclear who erected the sign in the first place.