L.A. Billboard Cheerleader Richard Alarcon Opposes Digital Ban

Los Angeles' City Council voted 10-4 today to support a state moratorium on digital billboards. This will rankle billboard companies who claim that California assemblyman Mike Feuer's proposed law takes away local control just when City Hall is trying -- again -- to get a handle on billboard clutter.

Four council members refused to endorse Feuer's bill, AB 109: Richard Alarcon, Tony Cardenas, Bernard Parks and Ed Reyes. Alarcon offered the novel argument that Feuer's digital ban could give Sacramento an opening to divert "fees" from billboard companies away from L.A. coffers and into the state treasury.

That's an odd idea, since City Hall has utterly failed to

collect a single dollar in its widely ridiculed seven-year effort to

squeeze "inspection" fees out of the huge billboard firms -- and

Alarcon has been nowhere to be found during that fight.

Alarcon also called Feuer's proposed bill,

which would prohibit building any more of the the glaring, wildly

unpopular digital billboards in California  until Jan. 1, 2012, a

``wolf in sheep's clothing,'' according to City News Service. He

managed to ignore years of City Council failure to act against

billboard blight, saying: ``On the face of it, I don't like the notion

that the state is controlling something that we should, frankly, step

up and have control of.''

Alarcon couldn't exactly be

described as a man out to control billboard proliferation. Last year,

he proposed to create the Valley's first "sign district,"

which would ignore local zoning and allow five giant billboards

totaling nearly 18,000 square feet in working class Panorama City -- an

area where residents have fought to make the streets more livable.


also voted - along with every other council member - for  disastrous

settlements between the city and billboard giants that allowed Clear

Channel Outdoor, Regency Outdoor and CBS Outdoor to turn more than 800 longtime billboards in virtually every area of the city into ultra-intense LED digital billboards.


Reyes, another billboard fan, also refused to back the Feuer ban today.

Like Alarcon, Reyes has proposed a "sign district" to allow massive new

billboards on the west side of the 110 Freeway  downtown, on such

streets as Beaudry, Boylston, First, Second and Third.

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