The battle over the ultimate fate of 101 digital billboards in Los Angeles took a turn last week when the City Attorney’s office said that Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor could legally restore the signs to their original, non-electronic state. The opinion came in a response filed in Superior Court to a motion seeking to order the complete demolition of the billboards, all but two of which have been dark per court order since last April. (more…)
During an L.A. City Council debate last fall, Councilman Richard Alarcon said that many residents and businesses in his east San Fernando Valley district wanted digital billboards and that he was tired of being “held hostage” by the the city’s more affluent Westside, where anti-digital billboard sentiment has run high ever since the first of the brightly-lit signs with their rapidly changing copy appeared without warning six years ago. (more…)
The latest chapter of L.A.’s digital billboard saga opened this week with an announcement by CBS Outdoor that it intends to cover its now-dark digital billboard faces with vinyl ads. At the same time, the company whose lawsuit resulted in last month’s order to “pull the plug” on 99 digital billboards filed a new motion asking that CBS and Clear Channel be ordered to completely demolish those billboards.
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.
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?
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.