By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
Bell says, "It really needs to include everybody who has a different perspective on this issue." The spectacle has angered many. But L.A. faces a $216 million deficit — City Hall overspends by about $24,640 per hour. The 11 council members want the billboard industry's $25 million.
Activist Broide calls the deadline "a sham" that leaves no time for people to weigh in. Krekorian did throw the neighborhood councils a bone: They'll be notified after, but not before, the proposed new law and billboard deal are committed to paper.
"That is worse than not giving us a chance to speak, because it pretends to do that," Broide bridles. "It's not only wrong. It's insulting, and it diminishes the credibility of our city government, once again, thanks to the greed and the impatience of and the bullying of the signage industry."
Garcetti backed the 2006 "poison" digital-billboard deal, a move he considers "absolutely" one of his biggest mistakes at City Hall. He found religion after Clear Channel erected one of its glaring digital billboards on Silver Lake Boulevard in 2008 — and his hipster constituency roared with anger. Three weeks ago, Garcetti joined Tom LaBonge and Paul Koretz in voting against this latest twist. Garcetti, who is running for mayor, says the Krekorian-Reyes motion "doesn't smell right.
"I think it's putting the cart before the horse," he says. He wants to review the appeals court's upcoming final ruling.
Phil Recht, an attorney representing Summit Media, which sued when City Hall let its rivals Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor exclusively erect digital billboards, asks: "Why the rush? It's because CBS and Clear Channel are trying to beat the court clock."
Recht says, "You'll ... run roughshod over stakeholder concerns. You'll increase the chances of a whole new litigation cycle."
Krekorian says he's being "mischaracterized." He posted on Facebook a snippy and sanctimonious letter (facebook.com/PaulKrekorian/posts/557264557623978) that argues he's trying to reduce billboards in L.A., get money for the city and head off more lawsuits.
He called past decisions "failures in policymaking and bad deals" and said the ghostwritten motion was merely the start of a discussion. He said he wouldn't "be swayed by the loudest screeching voice."
Dennis Hathaway, a soft-spoken activist and president of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight, was stunned. He called Krekorian's attack "extremely offensive."
Hathaway says the billboard industry-written motion Krekorian put his name on will, in fact, produce "a draft-binding agreement and a draft ordinance." For Krekorian to call that "the start of a 'discussion' is absurd." Krekorian's slams have "a chilling effect on public input," Hathaway believes.
So what is the rush? Special Assistant City Attorney Jane Usher says, "There is no urgency. The council has been free to write legislation" since 2010, when the city won a key victory against illegal supergraphics from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
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