Is Mayoral Candidate Walter Moore a Billboard Enabler? Or Just In Love With Neon?


As the March primary election nears, L.A. mayoral candidate Walter Moore is taking some heat from bloggers who are questioning his day job. Moore, who is running for the big spot for the second time, is an attorney with Richard Hamlin Attorneys.

The problem?

The Los Angeles-based law firm, which specializes in land-use eminent domain and billboard law, carries a slogan on a outdoor advertising website that states: "We have been making the world safe for billboards since 1985."

That slogan and Moore's own history of representing billboard

heavyweight Clear Channel Outdoor has irked a few. So has his

acceptance of campaign contributions

from Clear Channel Outdoor. It is a heated issue. A few weeks ago,

Councilman Jack Weiss, who is running for City Attorney, was hammered

by the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight

for accepting $1,000 in campaign contributions from Barry Rush, the

president of World Wide Rush - the Philadelphia-based supergraphics

company that has plastered giant wrap-around signs on buildings all

over town, including the huge Tropicana ad on the side of 10801 National Boulevard.

Blogger Joe Mailander at Street Hassle

reports that Moore recently accepted a $500 campaign contribution from

Clear Channel Outdoor.  Mailander also mentioned that Moore spent

thousands of bucks on advertising on Clear Channel radio stations.

According

to the City Ethics Commission, Moore also accepted campaign

contributions from building inspectors from the Department of Building

& Safety- the same department that has failed to get a enforcement

handle on the city's 4,000 suspected illegal billboards.

So is Moore a billboard enabler?

Moore tells the L.A. Weekly

that the hype about his affiliation with billboard companies is

overblown. The Westchester attorney admits that he does represent

billboard companies but mostly in disputes with building owners. "An

attorney representing a billboard company doesn't necessarily make you

Satan!" he says.

A few years back, Moore filed a lawsuit on behalf of Clear Channel Outdoor against Death Row Records founder Marion "Suge" Knight. Clear Channel alleged that Knight hijacked

the company's sign and put up offensive material that pissed off local

residents. The billboard showed the rapper squatting on a toilet with a

slogan that read: "I am the shit."  

"It was the only time I had a settlement conference where the adversary's hands were chained to the table," says Moore.

Moore

says he is against a complete ban on billboards. He criticizes the

city's lack of enforcement teeth and points his finger at Mayor Antonio

Villaraigosa for allowing the illegal billboard industry to run amok in

the city.

"I dare anyone to show me one thing that Villaraigosa has done to stop the proliferation of billboards...What has he done?"

About digital billboards?

Moore

says: "If they are pointed in someone's bedroom at night it is a really

bad idea. But if they are at a stop light in a commercial area, and I

am bored out of my head in traffic, I personally like them . . . I am

not for a complete ban of digital . . . This will sound dumb -- I like

seeing the ads for The Simpsons . . . I got married in Las

Vegas so neon doesn't scare me . . . But, if the people don't want them

then we don't have to have them. Some things I feel strongly about and

that is not one of them."


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