What Tropicana Orange Juice, Johnnie Walker Scotch, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and L. A. Campaign Contributions Have In Common

It’s nearly impossible for eastbound travelers on the I-10 freeway to miss the giant image of a mother and child in warm, fuzzy embrace as part a Tropicana Orange Juice ad covering the entire side of an office building just a stone’s throw from the roadway.  Westbound motorists get an image of another sort, a five-story high bottle of Johnnie Walker scotch on an adjacent wall of the same building.

The “supergraphic” ads were erected by a company called World Wide Rush, whose president is Barry Rush of Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, a village in wealthy, bucolic Bucks County outside Philadelphia.  When cited last year for illegally putting up a supergraphic ad for the Fox TV series “Dirt” in the space now occupied by the Johnnie Walker ad, World Wide Rush sued in federal district court and a judge issued an injunction against the city on the grounds that it had allowed other companies to legally erect such signs despite a 2002 ban on “off-site” advertising.

The Tropicana ad, which covers all the windows on one side of the building at 10801 National Blvd., aroused the ire of building tenants whose light and views were suddenly degraded, and a chiropractor in the building has set up a protest website.  People living in the neighborhood on the far side of the freeway have also been angered by the faces and cloying smiles that greet them whenever they look down their leafy street.

The federal court decision barring the city from proceeding against World Wide Rush in 34 different locations around the city is now on appeal to the 9th Circuit, but a decision isn’t expected for at least a year.  If city councilman Jack Weiss, who is now running for city attorney, is elected, he will inherit that case.  Tenants and others angered by the ads on the National Blvd. building as well as others around the city may be disturbed to learn that Weiss was the recipient of a $1,000 campaign contribution in 2007 from Barry Rush, according to City Ethics Commission reports.

Rush also contributed $1,000 to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and $500 each to councilmembers Ed Reyes, Tom LaBonge, Bill Rosendahl, and council president Eric Garcetti, who said in a recent radio interview that he had never knowingly taken campaign contributions from billboard companies.

According to Ethics Commission reports, Garcetti also received a $500 campaign contribution from Mike McNeilly, the person responsible for the giant statue of liberty images illegally appearing on buildings throughout the city.  McNeilly’s company, Sky Tag, has sued the city, claiming that the images are artistic expressions and protected by the first amendment.

Sky Tag also contributed $500 to Weiss and City Councilmember Jan Perry, and the art director of the company contributed $2,000 to Villaraigosa, according to Ethics Commission reports.  The same person, listed as an employee of a sign company called “Tall Wall, Inc.” contributed $500 each to Perry and Weiss.

Dennis Hathaway

5 Responses to “What Tropicana Orange Juice, Johnnie Walker Scotch, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and L. A. Campaign Contributions Have In Common”

  1. The Majority says:

    I urge the readers of this site to please pick up a Los Angeles Business Journal and read the two article on the inside of the back page about this subject.

    With the trying economic times and record high vacancies rates at commercial sites the banning of other forms of income for all types of companies is plain un-American. We need to help the economy by spending money and helping those in need. Building owners are soon to be forced to lay off masses of people creating more economic decline. Supergraphics provides income and saves jobs in LA. It help the economy and lessens the California debt through more taxes.

    More and more people are calling for the super graphics to stay. Commuters like them and feel it gives the city a unique feel. If you don’t like city life… move out to Santa Barbra or better yet death valley and leave us real Angelino’s alone!

  2. The Majority says:

    Beyond the simple economic facts that billboards and supergraphics on the side of buildings save jobs, help the economy and lessen California’s deficit I think the creators and writers for this web site don’t care. They are on their high horse with millions in the bank. They want to squash the American dream for everyone so they can stay on top.

    So I ask you… Why would you join these Anti-Americans?

  3. Jan Book says:

    The visual airspace belongs to all those who live in Los Angeles, but especially to those who live and work near these offensively large billboards. I used to work in this building and there are magnificent city views – which now must be reduced, altered or eliminated completely by this billboard. What a shame.

    I know some developers dream of creating a Blade Runner version of LA – but that would be terrible – can you imagine a constant visual attack from all directions? It would cause all of us to begin suffering with ADD – unable to focus or feel calm and tranquil inside – just a constant changing of the TV channels! No thanks. I love LA and city living, I just want some balance to this aerial assault.

    I for one am grateful to the concerned ordinary citizens who operate this website and keep us informed. They are the Benjamin Franklin’s of today – keeping alive the dreams of Thomas Jefferson and our founding fathers. Yes, you are our true Americans – thank you.

  4. Common Sense says:

    To the person who calls themselves The Majority… you have made a quantum jump from Ugly Billboards to keeping people in work… and have therefore justified keeping these ugly signs… you must work for the sign company. For years people have found work without the necessity of blighting the atmosphere… the air, the view… Daily I look through the gauzelike tarp that covers what used to be a beautiful view and am aggravated. Then along comes someone like you and says its ok and it provides jobs and that I should leave if I don’t like it… you represent the utmost in arrogance ..you represent the Ultimate Ugly American… no lets create jobs that truly create “value”… We’re plastered over with Tropicana last month and Dr. Phil this month and what does this have to do with jobs? You must be a ringer from the Sign company.

  5. Common Sense says:

    Dear Majority…
    I am amazed at you to say something so absolutely stupid as “its Un-American” to ban these ugly Billboards… your logic is sick and twisted and leads me to believe that your comment must have been planted by the sign company. There is nothing Un-American about wanting to enjoy clean air and an uncluttered environment. This visual space belongs to all of us. There is a reason that all the old Burma Shave signs were banned from the Major Interstate Highways… because we knew that the clutter would soon become non-stop. The skyline and the visual atmosphere is as important to living conditions as are “quiet zones”… trees and green space… These giant billboards are outgrowths of the SUV/ME Generation and are symptoms of the overspending… self obsessed, Consumptive, selfish thinking that has gotten us into this economic and environmental mess. And you yet you say it is “un-American” to voice an objection to them. I wonder what part of America you are from?

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