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Something’s fishy when Clear Channel backs down on an electronic billboard application

With a hearing set this afternoon before the South Valley Area Planning, Clear Channel has backed down at the last minute and withdrew its controversial application to put a much-hated electronic billboard up in Encino.
Perhaps Clear Channel has decided to be a good corporate citizen and renounce the incredibly lucrative deal it was awarded by the mayor, city attorney and City Council for no other reason that it’s a cash cow to their political campaigns.
No, that isn’t it.
Are they afraid of Gerald Silver of Encino Homeowners and his oft-proven ability to mobilize strong community opposition to schemes that destroy the quality of life in the neighborhood?
Or maybe the company figured out that the commissioners would be run out of the Valley of they approve the billboard at 15826 Ventura Boulevard, a block west of Haskell Avenue?
The only certainty is that hardball players like Clear Channel aren’t suddenly going to respect the community and so it’s up to no good. Count on it.
The company offered no explanation but is expected at the 4:30 p.m. hearing today at the Braude Center in Van Nuys. Here’s Clear Channel’s email to the city billboard.pdf.
The L.A. Weekly’s Christine Pelisek did an excellent item yesterday on the citywide effort to fend off the mass invasion of electronic billboards that flash brightly all night long distracting drivers and disturbing the peace.
It’s one of the most blatant examples of City Hall’s crimes against the people.

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7 Responses to Something’s fishy when Clear Channel backs down on an electronic billboard application

  1. Anonymous says:

    If you’ve actually read Christine Pelisek’s articles you’d know that claiming that everyone on the City Council, along with the Mayor’s office and Rocky Delgadillo, have been lobbying for ClearChannel vs. the city’s interests, is just plain wrong. Several Councilmembers have been strong opponents, in particular Wendy Gruel and Jack Weiss, whose district Encino probably lies in, since the issue first came up in ’01-02.
    However, Rocky Delgadillo apparently undermined the intent of the original billboard ordinance — to get the company to pay for its legal billboards (some $300/ per I seem to recall) and take down the illegal ones (some 4000 or so). However, his deal let them cut their payments in half, and they never compiled the required listing of all their extant billboards which would allow proper assessments and orders to remove. (It’s well-documented that the companies gave Rocky some half million in free ads for his successful campaign against an anti-billboard activist, and recently threw him a lavish party, hoping he still had a chance at higher office, it would appear.)
    Also, a few Councilmembers (notably Jan Perry and Ed Reyes, who called anti- billboard activists selfish white people with nothing better to worry about than aesthetics) either believed the company’s claims that it was acting in a charitable way by kicking in some bucks toward a local park if they got their way around the ordinance with their LED billboards, or just plain welcomed the money for their commercial districts (Wesson and Garcetti). Most others seem to be apathetic or waiting to see how the wind blows. ClearChannel/CBS is also suiing MTA for requiring it to remove noncompliant and ugly billboards from Santa Monica Blvd, during its recent massive restoration to grand boulevard, something Weiss was very integral to seeing through.
    So the L A Weekly sued, but found the same lack of computerized inventory — now, the indie org described in Pelisek’s article, taking over from the work of Dennis Hathaway and others, has taken on the task of trying to keep them honest. We should all be noting down the locations and companies of each billboard and adding to the inventory — this is just exactly what citizens in other cities have done to pressure these same companies.
    We have been aided primarily by Councilman Weiss in our efforts, with strong support from Wendy Greuel, and would like to see Bill Rosendahl more outspoken on this — we hope everyone gets on board and contacts their Councilmember, so the proponents can’t let these companies get away with their divide-and-conquor strategies. Because some members of Council have negotiated side-deals with ClearChannel/CBS, the courts invalidated enforcement against other companies as selective, so Weiss plans to draft another ordinance that is broadly enforcable, as I understand it. There are some commercial areas that would still keep their billboards provided the proscribed regulations are followed, but not expand into areas where they’re not wanted. Safety issues of putting these 7-story LED things up right alongside highways is another big issue. Our cash-strapped city is meanwhile losing tens of millions/year from fees due and stuck with lawsuits from billboard companies trying to elbow their way into where they’re not wanted.

  2. Observor says:

    Susan, is that you again shilling for the totally useless Jack Weiss? By your own admission, he’s just as ineffective fighting billboards as he is bothering to show up for council meetings. Does he have another job on the side that keeps him from City Hall? No, couldn’t be. He’s a spoiled rich kid who doesn’t know how to work.

  3. Ron I don’t think billboards are a crime. After all it’s an issue of private property rights which even if you elect Barack Obama I hope we still have in this country.
    Sure folks have a right to be upset about it but those who cry the most are a vocal minority.
    The truth is if people had the right to put these billboards up on their property without having to get onerous government approval, there would be no incentive for corruption and greasing the skids.
    Then, if the community didn’t like the billboard, they would protest the owner, boycott the businesses who advertise on the billboard and use market pressure to achieve their means.
    Instead like the corrupt lobbyists, the NIMBYs are hijacking government too. Because at best they represent like 2% of the community. Most of the community could care less, they’re too busy working and living their lives.

  4. Anonymous says:

    “A vocal minority”, right. That’s probably because only that vocal minority will have 10000 watts of light beaming into their bedrooms at night.
    “An issue of private property rights”, sure. Well then, let’s just discard all zoning laws, that aren’t safety related, and let the property owners build whatever they like. How about a gravel pit placed beside your residence, or a porno shop goes beside the Catholic Church, or an amusement park located beside City Hall (or inside City Hall).
    “No incentive for corruption and greasing the skids”, brilliant. Have you heard the saying, “give them an inch and they’ll take a mile”? Wake up!!! There’s always still more money to be stolen from the government by the greedy.
    That’s why your blog is read by some. The inane, absurd comments and statements are good for a few laughs, comic relief. Just beware. Don’t choke on your morning coffee and roll.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “Instead like the corrupt lobbyists, the NIMBYs are hijacking government too. Because at best they represent like 2% of the community. Most of the community could care less, they’re too busy working and living their lives.” – from Mayor Sam Blogger
    OK, are the environmentalist activists, less than 1%, “hijacking government too”? How about the homeless activist/advocate, less than 1%? Are they “hijacking government too”? How about the animal advocates? Less than 1%, are they “hijacking government too”?
    The NIMBYs are our neighbors, in OUR BACKYARD. They STEP UP, when others don’t see, don’t understand, or are too stupid. Some morons believe that people who don’t STEP UP get whatever they deserve. But, that’s not right. You STEP UP because it’s the right thing to do, for decent people to do. SCUMBALLS don’t see that.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Regarding the 3:06 post, I agree with much of the description of how “enforcement” attempts fizzled or just flopped, and Rocky’s part in this outcome is one reason of many why he should not be a public office holder.
    The idea that Weiss is going to be the saviour here, however, approaches lunacy. Weiss can’t even see his own campaign for City Attorney is dead before it even starts.
    ON the past billboard offenses: didn’t one guy cut down city trees to allow his billboards to be better viewed, and then Rocky did a half-ass, if even that, investigation with nothing happening, not even a report, although a council member requested he look into the situation.
    Reyes has a hang-up focused on ethnicity- most latinos and “white people” are all the same race, “Caucasians”, if you want to be accurate. But “race” sounds so much more dramatic- and easier to pronounce, too. He’s not alone on the Council, which is too bad- too bad that they have that view and that they are on the council.

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