The Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight reports that outgoing Los Angeles City Council Member Jack Weiss, who is the leading candidate for City Attorney, received a $1,000 campaign contribution in 2007 from Barry Rush, the president of Worldwide Rush. Rush is the owner of the huge, controversial Tropicana super-graphic at 10801 National Boulevard that is annoying tenants and anti-clutter activists citywide.
Councilman Jack Weiss
The present City Attorney, Rocky Delgadillo, who cut sweetheart deals
during his tenure that allowed proliferation of vast numbers of outdoor
ads on Los Angeles boulevards, is termed out. Weiss considers himself
the Anti-Delgadillo and hopes to replace him in the March 3 election.
and others angered by the ads on the National Blvd. building as well as
others around the city may be disturbed to learn that Weiss was the
recipient of a $1,000 campaign contribution in 2007 from Barry Rush,
according to City Ethics Commission reports," writes Dennis Hathaway,
president of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight.
The news hit the blogosphere a few days before Weiss held a Wednesday press conference across
the street from the six-story building on National Boulevard to update
anti-clutter activists and the media about his efforts to rid the city
of ugly supergraphics, which have been popping up like pimples on
hormonal teenagers for the last couple of years.
On hand was a
fire official who told the small contingent of journalists that the Los
Angeles Fire Department has ordered the owners of nearly 20 buildings,
including the one on National Boulevard, to remove the heavy, vinyl
supergraphics now draping these buildings, many of which would prevent
people from escaping in a fire.
Hathaway also reports that
Worldwide Rush contributed to many other politicians who have allowed
billboard proliferation while failing to put teeth in the city's
disastrous billboard ban. These include, says Hathaway, "$1,000 to
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and $500 each to councilmen Ed Reyes, Tom
LaBonge, Bill Rosendahl, and council president Eric Garcetti, who said
in a recent radio interview that he had never knowingly taken campaign
contributions from billboard companies."
In response to Hathaway's charge, Weiss' Deputy Chief of Staff, Lisa Hansen, told the L.A. Weekly:
"Every time the billboard/supergraphic issue has been discussed in
Committee, Planning Commission, or City Council, Jack Weiss has been
the most outspoken and most aggressive advocate for putting a stop to
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illegal supergraphics. No one has a tougher record fighting
supergraphics than Jack Weiss, proof that he does what's right
regardless of contributions."
Weiss' acceptance of Barry Rush's money, however, shows the councilman has no trouble playing both sides of the billboard.