Clear Channel Drops Bid for Digital Billboard

Anti-billboard activists are breathing a sigh of relief. Yesterday, Clear Channel decided to withdraw its application to install a hyper-bright electronic billboard on Ventura Boulevard in Encino.

Clear Channel's attorney sent a letter to city planners withdrawing its application for a 14 foot by 48 foot Clear Channel digital billboard at 15826 W. Ventura Blvd. No reason was given in the letter.

Last year, Clear Channel applied for a permit to change the static billboard into a digital display. Planning Director Gail Goldberg approved the digital conversion. However, the planning department required that the digital images change no faster than once an hour.

The Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight, filed an appeal with the South Valley Area Planning Commission alleging that the billboard raised questions about driver distraction and traffic safety.

According to the Coalition, the billboard was wrongly given a categorical exemption from environmental review on the grounds that the conversion from conventional to digital is a minor alteration.

The Coalition also argued that the Ventura/Cahuenga Boulevard Corridor Specific Plan explicitly prohibits new billboards on Ventura Blvd.

Digital billboards have been quietly approved all over the city since City Hall settled its disastrous lawsuit with Clear Channel Outdoor, CBS Outdoor and Regency Outdoor. Although the city supposedly won its legal arguments, for unknown reasons they buckled to the billboard giants.

Angelenos are still unaware of the fact that because of the widely criticized settlement by City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, super-rich billboard corporations will be allowed to turn more than 700 billboards in Los Angeles into LED signs that burn for 24 hours a day, and are so bright they can be seen through curtains.

The settlement agreement, which was approved by the Los Angeles City Council and also agreed to by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, raised the ire of community activists who questioned whether city attorney Delgadillo was in cahoots with the powerful billboard companies.

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