L.A. Billboard Companies Maintain Big Lobbying Push in 2014

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With major signage issues pending before the City Council, L.A. billboard companies spent just over $1 million lobbying city officials in the first six months of 2014, according to City Ethics Commission reports.  Reports are required to be filed quarterly, and the three-month period ending June 30 marked the sixth straight quarter that billboard companies paid more than half a million dollars to firms to lobby on their behalf.

As usual, the leader of the lobbying parade was Clear Channel Outdoor, the billboard division of the Texas media giant, Clear Channel Communications.  The company that has mounted a highly-visible public effort to persuade the City Council to allow more digital billboards paid four different lobbying firms a total of $241,000 for the six-month period.

Others writing big checks to lobbyists were CBS Outdoor, at $195,000; JC Decaux, at $189,00; and Lamar Advertising, at $136,000.  CBS Outdoor and Lamar, along with Clear Channel, are also members of the Los Angeles Outdoor Advertising Coalition, which spent $122,972 to influence city decision-makers.

Louisiana-based Lamar is suing the city to force it to issue permits for 45 new digital billboards.   JC Decaux, a French company with international operations, holds the current advertising contract for LAX and other city airports.

Other lobbying expenditures by billboard companies are as follows:

Regency Outdoor    $62,727
Van Wagner $60,111   (note: Van Wagner billboards were recently acquired by CBS Outdoor)
Summit Media $28,937
National Promotions & Advertising  $12,075
Titan Outdoor $7,500

The Ethics Commission reports show that a total of 23 lobbying firms were registered to lobby on behalf of one or more of the nine billboard companies.

Amnesty for Hundreds of L.A. Billboards Without Permits?

One of 744 non-permitted billboards in L.A.  On Glendale billboard in Echo Park area.

One of 744 non-permitted billboards in L.A. On Glendale billboard in Echo Park area.

The Los Angeles city planning department is proposing that 744 billboards without permits on file be granted legal status because of the difficulty of determining when they were erected and whether or not they complied with regulations in effect at that time.

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L.A. County Board of Supervisors Candidate Scoops Up Billboard Company Cash

Regency Outdoor billboard on the Sunset Strip

Regency Outdoor billboard on the Sunset Strip

John Duran, a candidate for 3rd District Supervisor in next Tuesday’s primary election, has taken $34,500 in contributions from billboard companies, according to publicly filed records. Duran, one of eight candidates to succeed outgoing Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, also received a $1,000 donation from a billboard company owner who has been both a plaintiff and defendant in ongoing litigation with the city of Los Angeles over billboards and supergraphic signs the city claims were illegally erected.

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L.A. Billboard Companies Doubled Down on Lobbying in 2013

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Clear Channel, CBS Outdoor, and other billboard companies spent $2.8 million lobbying Los Angeles city officials in 2013, according to City Ethics Commission reports. That’s more than double the $1.2 million spent by those companies in 2012 to influence City Council members and other officeholders.

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L.A. Billboard Companies Open Money Spigot for Lobbying

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Clear Channel, CBS Outdoor and other billboard companies spent more than $1.5 million lobbying city council members and other L.A. officials in the first six months of this year, according to reports filed with the City Ethics Commission. That’s more than three times the amount the companies spent lobbying in the same period of 2012. (more…)

Strange Bedfellows? Unions Lobby for Clear Channel’s Digital Billboards

Digital billboard being erected on Westwood Blvd. in 2008

Digital billboard being erected on Westwood Blvd. in 2008

On May 19, 2007, union workers who changed ad copy on Clear Channel billboards in Boston went on strike when the company unilaterally imposed deep wage and benefit cuts even though it had made a $153 million profit the previous year. In response, Clear Channel fired the workers and hired replacements, whose training was called into question when one of them promptly fell from a 30-foot high billboard.

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Billboard Companies Ramp Up Lobbying in 2013

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Billboard companies spent almost $700,000 lobbying Los Angeles city officials in the first quarter of this year, according to City Ethics Commission records. That’s a threefold increase over the amount the companies spent in the same three-month period of 2012.

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L.A.’s Digital Billboards Go Dark. What’s Next?

CC Digital Lincoln & Washington

Does anyone out there believe that the final chapter of the city’s digital billboard saga has been written? That the collection of black billboard faces pasted into the visual landscape like minimalist art pieces is Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor’s farewell gesture to long-suffering residents of the city?

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Whither L.A.’s Digital Billboards? No Consensus in “Visioning” Group

Visioning Group Invitation

It would probably be unfair to say that the city’s “Billboard and Visual Landscape Visioning Group” accomplished nothing in its three recent meetings to discuss a regulatory framework for allowing digital signage. After all, community activists and billboard company representatives sat across the table from each other without coming to blows or resorting to invective to describe each other’s wildly divergent views of the benefits of outdoor advertising.

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Who’s Supporting Whom? L.A. Billboard Company Campaign Contributions

Ad copy for billboard donated by CBS Outdoor

Ad copy for billboard donated by CBS Outdoor

Billboard companies and their employees have contributed $162,000 to this year’s municipal election campaigns, according to City Ethics Commission records.

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