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Posting a Garage Sale Sign? Lost Dog Flier? Well, She’ll Tear It Down

Resident wages campaign against what she sees as paper blight. One solution? Post your ‘lost dog’ or ‘garage sale’ notice here on Patch. It’s free!

One of the biggest frustrations that Marilyn White-Sedel has had about living in Studio City for the past 55 years is the papering of her neighborhood—and she said it is getting worse and worse. 

No, not toilet-papering, or newspaper deliveries. But, if there’s a lost dog or cat or hamster or parrot (yes, there were ), then someone makes a sign that is copied and then spread throughout the neighborhood. That bothers White-Sedel, and she'll take those signs down as part of her one-person crusade to keep Studio City clean.

“It’s ugly, it causes garbage, it’s illegal and no one is doing a thing about it except for me,” said White-Sedel, who has lived in Studio City for most of her life.

“The worst part of it is that after their sale, the people don’t even come by and clean up their mess and take the signs down,” she said.

It’s not just in residential neighborhoods, it’s even in the business district, as with a recent flier campaign

Over the years, White-Sedel said, she has seen signs become an increasing blight to Studio City. She brought her case again last week to the Studio City Neighborhood Council, and asked for help

“I’m the only one taking the signs down; it’s a terrible sight in some neighborhoods—awful,” she said. “I could use some help.”

She brought some of the signs she recently collected from her neighborhood to the SCNC meeting. She said sometimes she brings the signs to the people holding the sale and points out they are illegal.

“I need a way to get the community involved. I can’t be the only one taking these down,” she told the council.

“I think it’s disrespectful to the whole neighborhood that they don’t come by to take them down after the yard sale is over, and some are up for weeks and months,” she said.

“One recent sign I took down was from a cat that was lost for three months,” she concluded. “Those people should realize that the coyotes got that cat a long time ago.”

One way to help reduce illegal sign posting is by using Patch. Anyone can post a garage sale or lost pet sign on the site, and it would be seen by more people than a conventional sign.

Go to the bottom right of the page where it says "Contribute," and click on "Announce something to everyone" and fill out the form. You could put in an Accomplishment, a Birth Notice, Sports Awards, Lost & Found, Thank Yous, Wedding Notices, Volunteers Needed and much more.

Have a yard sale coming up? Go to the Contribute box and click on "Put an event on the calendar." Then you can click on Garage Sale, or you can put in a School Event, or other events related to Sports, Theater, Home and Real Estate, Organizations and more.

It's free, it's easier than writing an email, and it's less time-consuming than painting posterboard and walking around nailing things into trees.

Resident August 25, 2011 at 01:23 AM
What Marilyn White-Sedel is really tearing down is the wonderful sense of community that exists in Studio City. This is a place where people know the pets of their neighbors. Where everyone stops in at everyone else's garage sales and where enclaves organize community 4th of July parades. Sadly, idyll hands are the devil's workshop.
Greg Nelson August 25, 2011 at 02:28 AM
Let me see if I can get everyone mad at me. First, it would have been nice if Marilyn would have gotten more than a "thank you" after coming to SCNC and making her comments. That's the way the City Council treats people. Judging from the comments here, she raised a legitimate issue. It would have been possible for her to be told that her suggestion would or might be on a future agenda. Second, there is a city ordinance that prohibits the posting of signs, but there are no exceptions for lost pets, yard sales, or even missing persons. But note that candidates for office get a free pass. That's not fair. The ordinance needs to be amended add some common sense and humanity. Third, the city tears down the signs and bills the posters, but they are shorthanded. Why couldn't members of the public be "deputized" and get a share of the "fine" after the ordinance has been modified?
Peter Cole August 25, 2011 at 02:40 AM
The overwhelming thought in this thread is most are not behind Marilyn's thought process. Let it be known that Marilyn is on the Land use Committee of the Studio City Neighborhood Council making all kinds of "suggestions" on your behalf. Don't be surprised with the lack of support in this thread for her ideas that they get a big thumbs up with the city. Nice to have friends in high places.
Tatyanna M. Wilkinson August 25, 2011 at 02:45 AM
Just because a City Ordinance exists doesn't mean it is meant to serve the community aside certain financial interests. This is more a moral person to person issue than it is about laws. IMHO
Skraeling August 25, 2011 at 04:27 AM
The solution to this problem is so simple. Take down your signs when the garage sale is over and date the signs looking for lost pets removing those signs after 2 weeks. Our neighborhoods have larger problems that the city and seemingly, the residents, do not want to address.
David Markland August 25, 2011 at 07:57 AM
Best Patch article ever? Possibly.
Allan August 25, 2011 at 05:44 PM
Wonder if she'd turn in the kids with the lemonade stand trying to make some money for Brownies.
Will Campbell August 25, 2011 at 06:42 PM
As long as there wasn't a sign hanging from the table.
Greg Nelson August 25, 2011 at 07:59 PM
This conversation is very interesting. The problem with most, if not all blogs, is that they become soap boxes. In a few days, a new posting gets piled on top of the last one and nothing ever gets resolved. But blogs like this one could be used to reach conclusions. This is a legitimate issue. It's been discussed for decades, both inside and outside of City Hall. I'm curious about how people would respond to this question: Based upon what you know now about the city ordinance that bans the posting of signs on public property, should the ordinance: 1. Be left alone. 2. Be amended to make is stronger. 3. Be amended to allow exceptions. 4. Be abolished. 5. (This choice is for those who can't choose any of the above, but who want to know more.)
Skraeling August 25, 2011 at 09:10 PM
Ideally, the regulations on the books should be enough. The weakness is in the attitude of those who don't follow the regulation or are unaware and the means of enforcement. Face it, we live in a city where the vast majority of residents don't really involve themselves and the politiicans are mere tools of special interests,. This is not a life and death issue. But, it certainly goes a long way in helping bring down the quality of life issues. We need no more laws or amendments We need enforcement and that will not happen. As result, we have this angry woman being demonized for her efforts. Remember, we can't even enforce parking regs, litter laws, or much of anything else....We are truly in LaLa land.
K Jamison August 26, 2011 at 07:40 AM
Hi Jack, my House cat Breve was missing for three months, he was returned to me after all that time because they saw my sign. Lost pet signs should probably be left alone.She is indecent to remove them. As for the garage sale ones,just make it a law to put the date on them and that the person having sale remove the sign afterward. All in all, there are so many important causes out there,more important than disruptive signs. Things like...hunger,child abuse,child prostitution,animal abuse, dumping of toxic chemicals,rape,robberies, elderly abuse, elderly neglect, I could go on and on,etc
Marika August 26, 2011 at 12:39 PM
Perhaps Marilyn is being "demonized" because her actions demonstrate a remarkable lack of empathy and consideration for her neighbors. Unpleasant, hostile residents will drive down property values and neighborhood appeal far faster than a few signs ever will. If Marilyn had wanted to truly bring this up as a community improvement issue--instead of her own personal petty vendetta--she might have brought forward a few alternative suggestions. In some communities, there are designated kiosks or walls every few blocks where residents can post their fliers, for example. Instead, Marilyn is choosing to hinder the efforts of people who simply want to be reunited with their pets; and people who, in hard economic times, are simply trying to make a few extra dollars with their yard sales. This is the "quality of life" issue she wants to waste her time on? Really? That's fine, but she can't be surprised when others don't respect that or get behind it.
Peter Cole August 26, 2011 at 12:46 PM
I'll say it again. She is on the Land Use Committee of the SCNC. Involved in making decisions for all of us. Notice how no one from the Neighborhood Council posts any comments here? They hide. Mariyln had a great audience here to make her point and rally support for her cause. Come on Mariyln. Step up.
Skraeling August 26, 2011 at 07:03 PM
ONCE again.....read the article...she takes signs down that the people who put them up do not.....Lost pet signs I can agree with you on, though, how many are removed by the people who put them up when the animal is found or indeed lost forever? Why demonize people who are trying to better an area sorely lacking in community spirit? There are more serilous problems for you to get exicted over...just walk down Ventura and see the great number of vacancies, the huge apartment complexes built on side streets like Kling, Guerin, the Sec 8 housing and its attendant problems, the abandoned grocery carts no one "sees", the growing graffitti, the parking of commercial vehicles on Moorpark day after day.....these are problems and they lower, not only home values, but quality of life..An old women with a mission to remove OUTDATED garage sale signs, is not the problem...the attitude of those who put them up and do not remove them, is...
Marika August 27, 2011 at 04:03 AM
@ Jack: I did read the article. You keep assuming that people misunderstand, but I think everyone here has read and has understood enough to vehemently disagree with Marilyn's ideas and 'crusade.' And the reason why? Well, you've said it in your own response. The community has a lot of other problems that are far more pressing. SHE is the one getting worked up about fliers--worked up to the point where she brought it to a community meeting. SHE is the one who is choosing to make this her own personal crusade. If she were truly concerned with the welfare of her community, why not focus on those other issues? I'm sorry, but someone who goes all Barney Fife about fliers that are left up too long is petty, vindictive and unpleasant. As I said, if she were truly interested in helping, she'd have come up with some viable alternatives or strategies; she wouldn't have just kvetched about the posters and been proud of tearing them down.
Maria Foley August 27, 2011 at 05:05 PM
Wow. People can really be unkind. I am a native of this neighborhood as Marilyn is. I appreciate her views on this nieghborhood as I would appreciate anyone's interested in perserving it. I can't expect everyone here to feel like the people who have been here 50 years and seen all the changes. As far as the signs go., the part that gets me is when they are stapled into some gorgeous tree that harms it and brings disease. People with pets in Colfax meadows need to be so vigilant. We do have a serious coyote problem. I see them all the time. They have left dead animals on my lawn. The woman next door to me is raising chickens. Not only is this legal and the cackling annoying, I feel it attracts the coyotes. So not everyone is ever going to be happy. I hope the person you see in the mirror eachday is responsible, kind and honoring thier neighbor. This is America and with America comes the freedom to be passionate about fliers or the homeless...By the way Marilyn White-Sedel feeds the homeless every week. I can't say that.
Will Campbell August 27, 2011 at 05:36 PM
As a tangent to one of the causes of excessive signage, what people such as Maria so adamantly call a "serious coyote problem," I call a serious people problem. Urban coyotes are opportunistic and its your neighbors who give the unfairly demonized creatures those opportunities -- either by not securing trash cans, letting yards overgrow, or by leaving pets and/or food out at night -- that brings them into a neighborhood and ultimately results in a fair percentage of lost animal fliers. People like Marilyn is villified for going around pulling down those signs, but if her fellow residents worked more responsibly to limit the reasons for coyotes to stay in one area, the coyotes would move out and those signs wouldn't go up in the first place.
Peter Cole August 27, 2011 at 06:27 PM
So is Mariyln the one responsible for feeding the homeless that live under the parking lot at the Sportsman's Lodge? I wish she would stop so they would go away along with the coyotes.  Lighten up folks. This thread has totally gone into the toilet because Marylin won't step forward and discuss her issue here where she has  (judging by the responses) a pretty good neighborhood audience. Let's try to remember to take down our signs after our sales and be good neighbors.  Looks like the PATCH is a better place than the Neighborhood Council to to air your concerns.  By the way...is it ok if I put up a sign to remind the people who live under the parking lot at the Sportsman's Lodge that it's illegal? Have a nice weekend. 
Peter Cole August 27, 2011 at 06:29 PM
So is Mariyln the one responsible for feeding the homeless that live under the parking lot at the Sportsman's Lodge? I wish she would stop so they would go away along with the coyotes.  Lighten up folks. This thread has totally gone into the toilet because Marylin won't step forward and discuss her issue here where she has  (judging by the responses) a pretty good neighborhood audience. Let's try to remember to take down our signs after our sales and be good neighbors.  Looks like the PATCH is a better place than the Neighborhood Council to to air your concerns.  By the way...is it ok if I put up a sign to remind the people who live under the parking lot at the Sportsman's Lodge that it's illegal? Have a nice weekend. 
Skraeling August 27, 2011 at 09:16 PM
The fact we even have homeless on the streets of Studio City should be a warning to all of us here that this area is now being looked at as an outlet for the urban renewal of downtown and Hollywood. One drive down Ventura Blvd to Woodman and return east via Moorpark and you will see homeless, abandoned furniture, abandoned grocery carts, graffitti, trash, shoes on phone lines, overbuilding of condos and apts lack of parking, vacancies both commercial and residential, Sec 8 housing, matteresses thrown out on the sidewalks, street advertising of Thai "massage" and bail bonds, two "medical delivery vans parked for days and moved only slightly to avoid the rare chance of a ticket, commercial trucks parked for days on res streets...that is just for starters....Kudos to an old lady who still cares enough to at least try to keep a place desirable against all odds...Frankly, I think the neighborhood councils are a bad joke...the Valley should have seceeded..their creation was the proverbial bone...
Melissa August 28, 2011 at 06:25 AM
Wow. That lost parrot belonged to my friends. They were (still are) heartbroken over losing him. What a bored, cold hearted woman. It's one thing to remove Yard Sale flyers (after the sale), but to remove "Lost" signs is downright heartless.
Lisa Catfrend August 29, 2011 at 02:21 PM
she is a mean person, get a life lady.
Lynne August 29, 2011 at 03:54 PM
Garage sale signs and lost pet signs are a normal part of neighborhood life and have been for decades. It promotes a sense of community. Most people do clean up their signs after their sales. If I see a lost pet sign, I ALWAYS read them and remember, in case I see the pet. I don't see the harm or the blight. So much MORE trash and dirt is generated on our streets by fast food wrappers, bags, styrofoam containers, cans, plastic bottles and general debris, not to mention, illegal dumping of large objects. Perhaps she needs a difference focus for keeping neighborhoods clean.
Skraeling August 29, 2011 at 04:53 PM
every litter bit helps...
j mann August 29, 2011 at 05:37 PM
Earlier comments who think it's all right to put signs up ESPECIALLY for lost pets should be OK... as long as they take them down... YES I agree!! And to the response, "that's the point, they don't" I say MARILYN, do those of us who might need to advertise a much needed garage sale, OR God forbid a lost pet, a favor and take the signs down AFTER the fact!!! Let's be more upset there were beautiful healthy trees cut down so a Walgreens can be built. UGH!!!!!! Not saying there isn't a problem with trash or rude "advertisers" but there has to be better ways to solve it. Send a note (warning) to the offender...something besides tearing them down, after all you know where to reach the person leaving the signs up!!
Dick Carter August 30, 2011 at 03:20 PM
Interestingly though, many people holding garage/moving/yard sales do so every weekend, maybe every other weekend, as this is their profession, not just the person trying to clear out some unneeded stuff. Anyone living near 4522 Mammoth in Sherman Oaks knows what I mean. Moving sales are the worst, however, as they have a finite time period in which to empty out the place before they pick up and move to another neighborhood. They never care about their former neighborhood, as it will be their former 'hood. Case in point - at 15016 Otsego in Sherman Oaks, they have had moving sales for the past 4 weekends, and this past one, put up at least 100 signs, many of which were on top of the ones they had not taken down from previous weekends. Most of them are still up, 2 days and counting later. They will be gone, but their signs will not.
j mann August 30, 2011 at 05:08 PM
I guess that's the point, Dick - I wish there was a way to stop the offenders without punishing those of us who take the signs down once the need is over. I'd give up advertising a garage sale any day, but not being able to plead help for a lost pet that would be horrible. Many lost pets have found their way home because someone saw a posted sign in the neighborhood when the same person may not have taken the time to go online etc. A garage sale is much easier to find. I hope there's a compromise.
Susan R January 29, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Sad how so many people do not know what "quality of life" issues are any more. Marilyn is to be thanked for the hard work she does for free. Putting up illegal signs is illegal and against the law. And, it is against the law for a reason. It is blight. And, there is also a garage sale law that only allows garage sales for any resident 4 times a year. These every day garage sales have also caused blight and homeowner values to depreciate. You would never see this allowed in rich areas. Thank you Marilyn. I don't know you but I also take down signs and have seen other people that really care about their neighborhoods take them down too. And, if you see signs you can call 311 to city hall and they will have someone come out and take them down for you.
Carol McGovney January 29, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Maybe Marilyn can help organize a solution to the blight of people that fail to clean up after their dogs as well....not only is it an eyesore, the smell is so bad in some areas near my home but some people let their dogs releve themselves in the middle of the sidewalks and walk away!!!! What are these people thinking?
Craig Clough (Editor) March 13, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Tips for finding your lost pet, including but not limited to posting flyers - http://patch.com/B-CTW

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