One of L.A.'s most-outspoken activists against "billboard blight" was named in lawsuits brought against the city by some of the largest billboard companies, Clear Channel Outdoor and CBS Outdoor.
But Dennis Hathaway says it's all good. "It could be good publicity ... if we want to have our voices heard in these suits," he told the Weekly.
The suits seek to overturn the city's ban on certain billboards in Westwood, which L.A. contended were erected outside local zoning rules.
Hathaway explained that he was only named as a "person of interest" in the suits, thus he says he doesn't believe he's being sued or that he is obligated to respond. But he said he appreciated the opportunity.
"We do want to be there," he said. "These billboards are big money machines for these companies. This is just part of their fighting tooth-and-nail to keep these things up."
The suits were filed last month, but Hathaway says his attorney was informed about them last week via a Clear Channel representative.
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He explains the situation at his BanBillboardBlight website Friday:
The president of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight (CBBB) [Hathaway] and the heads of homeowner's groups who challenged permits issued for digital billboards in the Westwood area have been named as parties in lawsuits filed against the city of Los Angeles by Clear Channel Outdoor and CBS Outdoor.
The suits, filed last month in L.A. County Superior Court, name Dennis Hathaway, president of CBBB; Barbara Broide, president of the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners Association, Jan Reichmann, president of the Comstock Hills Homeowners Association, and Aviv Tuchman, past president of the Westwood Homeowners Association. The suit alleges that none of these persons were "aggrieved" by the billboards and thus had no standing to challenge the city-issued permits that allowed two conventional billboards on Westwood Blvd. to be converted to digital in 2007 and 2008.
Those challenges, of course, were victorious.
We'll be watching.