[Durham INC] Letter: Keep electronic billboards out (Durham News, 31 Oct 2009)
bwatu at yahoo.com
Sat Oct 31 07:00:20 EDT 2009
Below, for your reading pleasure, are the two most recent letters about the billboard industry's efforts to overturn Durham's billboard ban.
You can read all letters from the community here... http://supportdurhambillboardban.com/
have a great day,
Letter: Keep electronic billboards out
Durham News (N&O), 31 Oct 2009
Having just driven back from Watauga County on Sunday evening, specifically picturesque Blowing Rock, I witnessed one of three electronic billboards. How unsightly and distracting it was.
There on the side of the road, in front of large gray boulders covered with moss, and surrounded by rhododendrons, was a flashing sign advertising the stores located at Boone Mall. I've always been disappointed having to look at the traditional billboards on the side of the road while driving up 321 from Boone to Blowing Rock. The electronic billboard reminded me of why I spent the weekend in Ashe County, adjacent to Watagua, an area not full of homogenous housing developments and overgrown with strip malls.
Let's keep electronic billboards off of Durham's highways. Durham has too much charm and character to be undermined by these distractions.
Letter: Not hoodwinked by billboard PSAs
Herald-Sun, 2 October 2009
Readers may be wondering why those new billboards for non-profits are around town. The billboard industry is lobbying to overturn Durham's successful billboard ban.
A common industry tactic is to undermine public support for the current ban on electronic billboards by offering free billboard space to non-profit groups. (Hardly a costly move since many of their billboards are already blank.) Industry lobbyists have already been asking City Council members to name their favorite non-profits.
Billboard lobbyists have also argued Durham needs the revenue. Yet, billboards pay very little in taxes. According to the Planning Department, Fairway Advertising paid a total of $2,605.60 in taxes to Durham County last year. (And, if they're genuinely concerned about Durham revenue needs, why are the same lawyers suing Durham on another matter?)
Billboard lawyers said they'd re-introduce their measure back in May. That sound you've heard from them since May? Crickets chirping.
Happily, we've seen strong support for Durham's billboard ban. After all, who would want big, bright billboards on tall metal poles, blinking more than 10,000 ads/day? With the electronic ads constantly changing, we'd see PSAs for anti-drinking programs -- followed by ads for gin, vodka and whiskey. One wonders if this is the most effective message for the non-profits trying to reduce teenage drinking.
The good news is most folks haven't been hoodwinked by the billboard industry's tactics. We've been able to counter industry misinformation with a Web site showing pictures of blinking billboards and letters of support from the community -- supportdurhambillboardban.com.
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