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How do you solve a problem billboards? part 5 in a series.

by fredo
on 7/29/2010 @ 7:51am
On Tuesday July 27th the Tacoma City Council, with little opportunity for public input, approved the installation of several digital billboards to be placed in some of the low income areas around town. This decision raises a few issues which I will mention below.

Will Clear Channel be the only company allowed to install and profit from the new digital billboards? Are such arrangements in perpetuity? If the public doesn't like the billboards can they be removed? Will other property owners within the city limits be allowed an opportunity to install similar billboards?

What about our complete streets initiative? I thought we were working to make sure that our local streetscapes were beautiful. How do the digital billboards enchance the streets? If a street tree, right of way tree, or street improvement tree is blocking the digital display who has the responsibility, right, or obligation to trim or remove it?

The Mayor claims the billboards will look like the little digital picture frames you buy at the drug store and not the garish type we see in front of the EQC. Does she really think the public is that stupid? Of course they are going to be garish. No one is going to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to advertise on these panels unless they are assurred the message is going to be getting through loud and clear. The name of the company is CLEAR CHANNEL. Get it?

Interestingly, none of the panels is going to be installed near any council members homes. Probably Mayor Strickland prefers to gaze out at the sunrise over Mt. Rainier more than she would like to see an fully animated advertisement for Leaf Guard (tm) rain gutters.

Local pundit, RR Anderson, has referred to the new billboards as a perpetual psychic attack.

But what do the rest of you think?

by NineInchNachos on 7/29/2010 @ 8:21am
by posting the CLEAR CHANNEL compromise document on line, we can get analysis and observation by local activists and thinkers.... Mr. Tim Smith for example on writes:

* * *

A few things are disconcerting about this agreement. One is a provision in Para 7 that allows Clear Channel to opt out of it!
“Clear Channel’s option to execute this agreement, or to leave the Agreement unexecuted, shall be within Clear Channel’s sole discretion. Nothing herein shall be interpreted to require Chear Channel to execute this agreement.”

Also, why is the City not putting a special fee on these new billboards? Profites for digital billboards are much higher than the regular ones so a revenue stream should apply and go directly to a fund for the neighborhoods impacted.

* * *

so WTF?

by NineInchNachos on 7/29/2010 @ 9:40am
here's my idea. if you're in charge of a company/event and you have a hankering for a billboard, DO NOT GO WITH CLEAR CHANNEL! instead opt for a Pierce Transit Bus Wrap or Sign... these help keep bus service going... put money back in the community (an investment really!) When you buy a CLEAR CHANNEL billboard your money gets 'sucking sounded' out of the state and helps the gangster corporation strong arm some other poor bastard city!

by fredo on 7/29/2010 @ 9:51am
but but but...the revenues earned in the city by clear channel or property owners who make their space available are all subject to city b & o taxes, city licensing fees, and property taxes aren't they?

how about this advertising idea? in the next election for city council members maybe Stickland and the rest of her cabal could have their likenesses placed on condoms in order to make their true objective abundantly clear to the voters.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 7/29/2010 @ 11:45am
Is their true objective to protect us from disease? I'd say that was a noble and good objective. In all modesty, though, I'd need a condom with the entire city council's and mayor's likenesses on it.

by L.S.Erhardt on 7/29/2010 @ 1:17pm
You don't solve a problem like these. Either you're "lucky" enough to look like Tokyo/NYC or you end up looking like Vegas.

In the case of the former, one might be able to live with it. In the case of the latter, your only recourse is convince that anarchist group to use the signs as IED practice.

by L.S.Erhardt on 7/29/2010 @ 2:17pm
Or conversely, one could take the approach I use.
Make a statement using a twelve-ton whale wearing a fez.

by NineInchNachos on 7/29/2010 @ 3:26pm
FREDO you have fans!

Debivan's "Fredo Planet"

(i'd like to see this movie on a billboard)

by fredo on 7/29/2010 @ 3:31pm

that cool picture, thanks to the artist

by NineInchNachos on 7/31/2010 @ 8:56pm

by fredo on 8/1/2010 @ 7:12am
“The entire agreement is poison,” (RE the Los Angeles Digital Billboard agreement)

good link nachos. I read the story and didn't discover too many dissimilarities with the Tacoma agreement. There they have two companies and have already installed quite a few of the new signs. Otherwise, we seem to be in the same boat as the people of LA.

It's time for one of our elected city council members to announce that a mistake has been made and the matter involving the digital billboards needs a more thorough public examination. Such a declaration could come as soon as next Tuesday's meeting and could be raised under the agenda item "old business."

Thanks to RR for spearheading what appears to be a grassroots movement.

by fredo on 8/1/2010 @ 7:58am
Peter Callaghan weighs in

by seejane on 8/1/2010 @ 11:48am
How do you solve a problem billboards?
Boycott business who advertise on them and let 'em know you're doing it.

by fredo on 8/1/2010 @ 12:19pm
Boycott is good seejane, we can try. As a business owner myself if I get complaints about something I'm doing from a few people but my revenues go up then I'm inclined to disregard the complaints. After all people vote in the marketplace with their dollars.

A better avenue to pursue, IMO, is a grassroots effort to overturn the Clear Channel settlement. Let's go to trial on the merits of the case. If the city loses then we can adopt a new billboard strategy. To capitulate and allow this digital degradation without trying our case seems like an example of poor leadership. But when the Mayor is Marilyn Strickland what else can you expect? I didn't watch the entire meeting last tuesday but it's hard for me to believe that not one council member raised an objection.

by L.S.Erhardt on 8/2/2010 @ 3:11pm
H4xx0r t3h b04rd5.

by Nick on 8/3/2010 @ 10:43am
I'm guessing there is a settlement because Clear Channel has the city outgunned and has much more at stake than the city. Clear Channel's livelihood depends on defeating this ordinance, and is likely willing to go all the way to get what it wants.

Legal merit or no, our poor city is no match for a behemoth like Clear Channel. I imagine their legal budget alone is many times over our entire annual budget.

by NineInchNachos on 8/3/2010 @ 10:44am
Right makes Might

by fredo on 8/3/2010 @ 3:26pm
If our billboard sign ordinance is rubbish (and apparently that's what the city thinks) then what other ordinances are rubbish?. This "settlement" really tends to invalidate the city code book. Specific prohibitions are now for sale to the highest bidder.

Attention: Marilyn Strickland, you ran on a platform of "leadership skills." It's now time to display your skills. I don't think think the poor people need or want these digital signs in their neighborhoods and I challenge you to overturn this settlement.

by fredo on 8/4/2010 @ 7:47am
From the State Attorney Generals office:

"Whenever there’s some lack of (public) discussion, I always have a question as to why," Ford said. "I think where there's an opportunity where they could hold some discussion, then they should."

Read more:

fredo's comment: Mayor Strickland just doesn't get it. And the other 8 council members don't seem too either.

by fredo on 8/4/2010 @ 8:05am
A special documentary posting to record the names of the council members who brought digital advertising to Tacoma:

Marilyn Strickland Mayor
Jake Fey Deputy Mayor
Sprio Manthou
Marty Campbell
Lauren Walker
Victoria Woodards
Joe Lonergan
Ryan Mello (appointee)
David Boe (appointee)

by L.S.Erhardt on 8/4/2010 @ 2:22pm
They are now all targets for ridicule in comics!

Beware! Beware!

by fredo on 8/7/2010 @ 10:00pm
Once again the News Tribunes hot button poll reveals just how out of touch the city council is.

44 % approve of the settlement
56 % don't approve of the settlement

When is the council going to begin evaluating public opinion on various policy decisions? Or is the public just an annoyance?

by Mofo from the Hood on 8/8/2010 @ 8:23am
Clear Channel by name is blatantly obvious about their mission. They're a hired-hand communications delivery service. Their medium or channel in the form of two-dimensional visual communications by billboard–or hundreds of billboards–is now bolstered by far more powerful attention grabbing super bright backlit flickering billboards.

Questions remain:
Is this medium or channel merely visual clutter that trains people to accept propaganda as something nourishing, when in fact it is a medium that is doing something possibly more harmful?

What are the consequences of distracting and training a population to be mindless?

by fredo on 8/8/2010 @ 9:04am
What are the consequences of distracting and training a population to be mindless? Mofo from the Hood

One consequence is obvious Mr. Hood. (And thankyou for your insightful opinion).

We will continue electing candidates for office who will proclaim the need for transparency and accountability, who, once elected, engage in closed-door decision making without even pretending to evaluate public sentiment and without even engaging in the pretense of public debate/discussion.

Aside from the few complainers on feedtacoma and Mr. Peter Callaghan there really is no grassroots movement to overturn poor decisions at city hall nor to recall council members. The level of apathy in Tacoma is beyond astounding. It's positively astonishing.

by NineInchNachos on 8/8/2010 @ 11:20am
is rare when RR, Fredo, and Mofo are aligned in agreement.

Hey Ho billboards must Go!

by fredo on 8/8/2010 @ 11:34am
If digital billboards are good for Tacoma, and that's what the city council just decided, then

...why are we limiting the distribution? If 12 boards is good, wouldn't 24 be better and wouldn't 1200 be the best? And, an unrelated question, many relatives of council members are working for or anticipate working for Clear Channel or one if it's subsidiaries or ancillary operations?

by NineInchNachos on 8/8/2010 @ 10:49pm
"first of 10"