- [...which gets my vote for most shocking! headline of the year.]
The law is "a rare victory of the public interest over private, of order over disorder, aesthetics over ugliness, of cleanliness over trash," Roberto Pompeu de Toledo, a columnist and author of a history of São Paulo, wrote in the weekly newsmagazine Veja. "For once in life, all that is accustomed to coming out on top in Brazil has lost."
But advertising and business groups regard the legislation as injurious to society and an affront to their professions. They say that free expression will be inhibited, jobs will be lost and consumers will have less information on which to base purchasing decisions. They also argue that streets will be less safe at night with the loss of lighting from outdoor advertising.
"This is a radical law that damages the rules of a market economy and respect for the rule of law," said Marcel Solimeo, chief economist of the Commercial Association of São Paulo, which has 32,000 members. "We live in a consumer society and the essence of capitalism is the availability of information about products."
"What we are aiming for is a complete change of culture," said Roberto Tripoli, president of the City Council and one of the main sponsors of the legislation. "Yes, some people are going to have to pay a price. But things were out of hand and the population has made it clear it wants this."