[Durham INC] too many compelling reasons to oppose billboard industry's p...
TheOcean1 at aol.com
TheOcean1 at aol.com
Mon Jan 19 14:42:47 EST 2009
I appreciate this thoughtful dialogue!
Dialogue that never needed to take place in Burlington, a clear advantage
for Durham. That advantage nets Durham some negotiation room, while it maintains
our right to say no thanks. Not a bad position to be in, and it still hasn't
resulted in an exact proposal from the billboard industry.
While there has been a pretty sizable opposition, without a solid proposal,
we still don't know what we're opposing. I don't think we should expect it,
but since Fairway owns more than half the billboards in Durham, what if they
offered to take them all down in exchange for one electronic board?
My point is that we shouldn't say yes or no until we know what the offer is.
As to the Cree employee's letter in today's paper, I think we all want this
and every other Durham company to do well. It's wonderful that Cree hasn't
required lay offs as it produces LEDs for this billboard company.
But that business is being generated across a wide area, and any single
city, including Durham, won't have a significant effect on Cree's bottom line.
It might be ironic if parts of these billboards are produced in one of the
few cities that won't allow them, but that wouldn't likely create sudden lay
offs at Cree. So in my opinion, the economic effect is too small to measure.
A much larger effect that should be considered is our local restaurants.
Picture yourself a hungry I-85 traveler, you're about to spend money that will
support a local economy either in Alamance, Durham or Wake counties. You see a
general Durham boosting message like, "Voted #1 for foodies, pull off now and
Would you exit? And if so, would you pull into McDonald's or look for one of
our Indian restaurants?
That kind of business might be the difference between a restaurant staying
open or closing, and be enough to help Durham keep it's status as #1 for
foodies, and maintain it's position as a great place to ride out a recession.
To my way of thinking, that would have a greater effect on Durham's economy
than Cree's output. That's just one of the reasons why I'm still reserving my
opinion, until all the cards are on the table.
In a message dated 1/19/2009 1:02:23 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
bwatu at yahoo.com writes:
As expected, after several weeks of letters from across the community
opposing electronic billboards near our homes, schools, parks and places of worship
-- we finally see one saying we should just ignore all the compelling
reasons to oppose industry's push to overturn Durham's ban on electronic
Just because some of the parts may be made in Durham, doesn't mean we should
overturn our current ban on electronic billboards. This argument is a red
herring meant to distract people -- just as digital billboards are designed to
Let's break it down...
* Cree is a good local company. We've already bought plenty of LED products
in Durham, including traffic signal lights.
There are other public/civic initiatives that we could support -- putting
all LED lights in schools and public buildings, tax incentives for LED lighting
in new construction, exploring LED lights for outdoor lighting, etc. These
ideas would benefit the Durham community, support Cree, help keep Cree
employees working and spending locally, and put money back into the Durham economy.
* By contrast, Fairway is based in Georgia. So profits generated here in
Durham would go to Georgia.
* Overturning Durham's ban on digital billboards wouldn't overcome the risk
to Durham and Durham taxpayers. Federal law states that if Durham ever
decided to remove billboards, Durham would have to reimburse the billboard company
for the cost of the billboards -- and any FUTURE revenue the billboards would
generate. That's a huge risk to impose on local government and Durham
* Overturning the ban on digital billboards would allow large screens that
blink/flash new pictures every 7-8 seconds. Designed to distract, the new
billboards would endanger public safety.
Imagine driving around a curve on a local highway -- in a rainstorm. Your
view is dominated by big bright billboards -- all blinking new ads, reflecting
off your windshield and the wet pavement in front of you.
* Cree makes a number of products that can make our lives better -- solid
state lighting for homes and commercial uses, video lighting, traffic signals,
But Durham should not subsidize the one product that makes our lives worse,
while consuming enormous amounts of energy, raising safety issues for
drivers, and putting Durham taxpayers at risk.
There are too many compelling reasons to oppose the billboard industry's
push to overturn Durham ban on electronic billboards.
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