By Erik Sine
I don't usually bring politics here on the SS unless it's for a very good reason.
But since a lot of what we do here in our own industry and how it affects how we make a living I'm going to share a particular youtube video of Senator Ted Cruz asking the president of Sierra Club some very, very simple questions that he's (Sierra Club) not up for discussing or debating. In fact the head of Sierra club is taking a political position instead of acting objectively.
The environmental (product safety) movement is or "green" as most know it, has killed our industry like many others, especially when it comes to the electric sign trade, lighting components and certain sectors of our trade, in particular Neon & Fluorescent lighting. Even to force manufacturers to spend more money on products they sell i.e. ballasts and transformers just to save energy somewhere under a false notion of "Green", or saving the planet. A lot of times these new imposed regulation prices out consumers, and makes products less reliable in place for other products which are pushed by lobbyists who represent a product that under normal circumstances can't stand on their own merit, and instead need to be handicapped, and even so far as to be funded in subsidies by tax payers (you and I) because normal economics of a free market or supply and demand don't apply. Government gets to pick the winner, not the consumer.
This Environmental movement has been backed and glorified by our own sign industry establishment base, or as we all know them...Sign Associations who have repeatedly ignored fact just like what we see in the video that has enabled outsiders to mis-characterizes and mis-lead members and help sway public opinion into the "Green" movement which is nothing more than executing statements but never fully explaining.
There is probably no bigger fish and obstacle for the free market that road blocks everyones right to prosper than the Sierra Club who has the ability to file lawsuit after lawsuit and has the protection of our own government to fire back.
So here they are, unable to answer a simple question much like our own establishment base because it's in THEIR best interest to not answer.
Our good tax dollars at work against us, and keeping us from prosperity.
By Erik Sine
"NLRB Ruling Threatens Sign Industry Contractor-Subcontractor Arrangements" - Article
So I got this today and maybe I'm misinterpreting this but...
It looks like ISA wants to come to the aid of the wrong side, AGAIN.
First...as in most states, especially here on the west coast you can only legally subcontract when you yourself are a contractor, or licensed contractor. So when it comes to the rule of law, this is nothing new and nothing that needs to be altered. Contractors licensing laws protect the employee, employer, primary contractor, subcontractor and consumer.
I see "Franchise" included in the article so it makes me think that ISA is trying to get some of their large base or members (FastSigns) to bypass the contractors licensing law as we've discussed here
As a primary contractor you are solely responsible, I see what looks like word play as well, as if to cause panic or emotion. Maybe I'm getting this wrong, maybe not.
As I've said before nothing will kill an industry faster then when you can have anyone, and that would include a Home Depot clerk to have the ability to sell, execute and subcontract a home/commercial improvement contract whether it's repair of modification and be protected from laws that a normal contractor are held under. The chain of accountability, responsibility is broken when you have a third party that is not held to the same respects as a contractor, that how most laws are written. If I'm reading this article right, ISA is trying to come to the aid of those who lack the knowledge or know how of this industry that obviously cannot get their own contractors license.
By Erik Sine
Some interesting news for Californians directly from the CA License Board in the form of a newsletter and more reassurance to what I've been explaining on illegal activity, or illegal execution of contracts and illegal hiring of subcontractors.
It was discussed some time ago (many times) about illegal subcontracting and I was trying to find the thread by someone from the California Sign Association who said it was okay for any lesser status sign contractors to upsell or up subcontract electrical work which is above their status because they were already a contractor. There was a brief debate because I knew it was still illegal.
Anyhow, in California we have three types of sign contractors
C-45 (illuminated & non)
The CSLB has received numerous complaints of the C61 & D42 license carriers of executing and subcontracting out electrical signs, they go in to verify that this is illegal activity.
It appears this statement takes it even a step further. If I'm reading this right unlicensed C-45 shops can't even build a sign, and sell it to a consumer. I wonder if that is right.
But back to my original point, contractors of a lesser status cannot "subcontract" to a contractor of a higher status even though they themselves are a licensed contractor.
A new law Senate Bill 315 is giving more whip cracking power to the CSLB for anyone unlicensed contracting work over in combo of labor & materials of $500. It goes into to say their starting to crack down on Craigs List and other online bulletin ads.
The new law also gives them the power to issue "Notices to Appear in Court"
This is just the beginning but glad to see it surface here in from the CSLB, but the contractors board has been getting more complaints on the over hype of solar power sales, false marketing, deceptive practices,and false return on investment claims resulting in "under-delivering".
Sounds familiar with our own industry, maybe this should be raised with them as well.
Something to chew on over for #TBT
By Erik Sine
"...We're not afraid to get into the trenches when it comes to road blocks....As a matter of fact, that's how we get things done..." - Lori Anderson
"The International Sign Association (ISA) is laser-focused on what's happening this very second within the sign and visual communications industry."
"As we talk to member companies we hear two constant concerns:
(1) The challenges of finding qualified employees and.
(2) The issues of getting signs built due to regulations"
-Lori Anderson, International Sign Association
Hate to interrupt the magazine pep talk but I would think one of the biggest concerns that are on the minds of licensed sign companies which has been going on for yeeeeeeaaaars and that supersede any and all of those named above is trying to get paid and according to terms called out in a contract from some very large bad national sign companies, many of which are volunteer board/chair members of the ISA. Some have even received "industry awards" complete with a photo-op and hand shake published in similar sign magazines. In most cases not paying a subcontractor on time is illegal if not made within the 30 day time frame. Which means, volunteer board members and chairs are breaking the law, and can go to jail, pay a fine, or both!
Since when has ISA's code of conduct become that relaxed that they allow members to be apart of their association who are breaking the law...let alone hand them and award of gratitude?
Surely Lori Anderson has run into this issue/complaint time and time again? She can't possibly plea ignorance, or say she's never heard of the issue??
Curious....do any of you ever ask your local or International Sign Association membership/reps about this?
Number two can be the fact the fact that ISA has tried to diminish the reason for having or obtaining a contractors license in states like Texas and just recently in Wisconsin. What's the incentive to even go legit and abide by the state safety standards and laws,m if anyone can just go around and subcontract a job that normally requires a license? A clerk from Home Depot soon will be able to subcontract a pole sign or plumbing jobs to whoever, and however. Is there and start and end?
Just because membership monies may way more in favor of vinyl and t-shirt print shops whom just entered the industry, doesn't mean ISA should take the side to think that our "trade"...i did say "trade"... is no longer a trade and anyone with no experience should just be able to cut in line, take a short cut and decide one day, "Oh...I feel like I should start selling and installing large electric sign structures"
I thought the idea of starting or having an association for a trade was to preserve it's heritage and traditions to keep it as a trade where you earn your way in and up, not buy your way in. Educate it from time to time.
Where is the seminars in education for book balancing for payments to distributors and subcontractors? Abiding by the law? Making sure that what ever contracts your executing in states you're even licensed to do so, and abiding by those licensing laws?
I've seen a "report" unlicensed activity programs from time to time and announcements. But what about reporting National Sign, and or National Service providers whom don't even have a contractors license in that state that their providing service in and on the backs of licensed contractors in that state? Their breaking the law, and their breaking the chain of accountability when it comes to contractors license laws, where the consumer suffers. The consumer needs to be protected, and so does the subcontractor who is illegally being subcontracted out by an illegal primary contractor who doesn't even have a license in that state nor understand it's laws.
Number #2 should be Preserving our "trade" and continue to uphold that high standard that requires an individual to go through the proper channels, and NOT continuing to to bastardize it by turning it into a commodity
But hey, ISA has a golf game at their expo this year....again. Wonder if they can do a buddy team thing this year and pair up a payer, along with the payees. Some pairs would love each other depending on who, some......just might be choking the other on out on the green.
My Tuesday thoughts.
By Erik Sine
I don't know what it is about our very own International Sign Association but they continually get it wrong when it comes to anything electric either in our very own electric sign industry or even when it comes to generally lighting.
ISA just posted this Forbes article on their Facebook page with an added
"Have you noticed that city skylines look a little different at night?
I am noticing....
I'm noticing your continual lack of understanding and being able to decipher someones marketing points and doctored images to sell a products which lies about return on investment. Why does ISA have such a hard-on for anything LEDs or renewable energy? They seem to always orgasm on marketing done by others but don''t themselves have the clear ability to know when to pullout and get a grip on what's fiction and what's not. Their not interested in anything conventional.
This all comes down to like I've been saying for years now and I'm proven right time and time again and this just emphasizes my point. When it comes to the International Sign Associations core group of the employed, the individuals who run the non-profit as a business they have no real background in our electric sign industry, or lighting background. Instead all we are left with as our leadership are individuals who only know how to run a business but not a trade. You have individuals from other areas, and they themselves might not even have real "know how" of that area in which they came. We have individuals that came from the plastics industry, the LED industry, maybe even someone from the lift-gate sales industry. We just had one come from the plastics industry, here into the sign industry then off into the pool and spa industry????? Just because you served in the plastics industry in the employment of a non-profit association doesn't mean you are validated about truly having knowledge about the plastic industry beyond being able to recite marketing points that were handed down to you.
Which leads us to our trade.
It's not good for our leadership to be composed of individuals who have no clear understating of what it is we do since they are not one of "us", nor understand how we survive and how we serve our customers. Instead the International Sign Association want to dictate to us, and enable government to pick winners where us the losers, pay out. I find it troubling in the areas in which they choose to support, or which area they choose to omit .
So, back to the Forbes article obligation piece.
This one line is a killer guaranteed to get a chuckle out of you. Keep in mind of Forbes audience and target, it's just the general public and investors. But the new marketing fear to switch over to LEDs is not that they can feed starving Cambodian Children or help out in world peace, but this time it's that LEDs help prevent "Breast Cancer".
Careful! Don't spit your coffee on your keyboard, but yes you did read that right!
So let's cut through all the Forbes article BS on return on investment and saving women from breast cancer and get to the meat of it.
Let's look at the cool slider option.
Before After 1 - As they want you to see it. How ISA wants to paint in your head.
Looks good to to the average reader who has never even picked up or measured light right?
Let's no look at it in the realm of reality.
Before After 2 - As you should understand.
I've circled some areas that are not affected by the public LED lighting, and what photographic filter are doing, or changes in the camera are not the same showing favorable lighting. Shadows and areas that were once lit up are now shadows and darkened.
Overcast skies always cause glare of light again showing favorable lighting for the after shot which has no overcast skies
Before After 3 - As they want you to see it. How ISA wants to paint in your head.
Again, the wow factor. Let's spend 4 times more to get less in return.
Before After 4 - As you should understand.
Now, let's rip off the cover from our eyes and really take a look at what we really are being shown. Usually a good place marker for these before and after pics that I've debunked over and over in the past is to look at background signs. Cleverly the pole sign in the before pic is cropped out. But we can see that the pole sign to the far right down the street is over exposed showing favorable light for the "after".
Also, another dead ringer that this is a over exposed after shot is the fact that the store to the left. Their window sign illumination is now splashed on the street whereas in the high sodium pressure lights is not present.
In closing, I'm in so cal so I'm very aware of the fact that all out old merc vapor lighting which worked wonderfully in the past before they got switched to HPS lights was so they don't interfere with the observatories. I don't believe in the HPS lighting because of the problems it causes with crime and the fact that their to low in light output and change colors but merc vapor lighting would be so much more brighter and cost a lot less. As a taxpayer, I am very upset and we here in California wonder why all the business's leave our state with no incentive to stay.
Well, another one where the International Sign Association falls short in an area in which they consciously choose to support instead of telling all like it is, in truth.
LEDs are great in some areas and not so great in others. I myself like to use them when the application calls out for it, but the International Sign Association has no understanding of the when, the why, and nor do they care.
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