An L.A. City Councilman’s proposal to grant “amnesty” to nearly 1,000 unpermitted and illegally altered billboards has hit a potential speed bump in the form of a City Attorney’s opinion that enforcement action can be successfully taken against many of those signs.
Los Angeles billboard companies and employees have contributed more than $78,000 to candidates running for six City Council seats in the March 3 primary election, according to the latest City Ethics Commission reports.
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.
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.
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.
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…)
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.
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.
Billboard companies and their employees have contributed $162,000 to this year’s municipal election campaigns, according to City Ethics Commission records.
The final death knell for the 101 digital billboards now flashing their brilliantly-lighted ads on city streets may have been sounded yesterday, when the California Supreme Court refused to review a lower court ruling that says the permits issued for the signs must be revoked.