Jan. 19, 2011
Letter: Billboard buckle
Durham News, 22 Sept 2010
In the end, the billboard industry lost because they didn't have a compelling reason to overturn Durham's successful billboard ordinance.
The City Council defeat had the billboard industry's high-priced lawyers and lobbyists tripping over each other. First, industry sends out an alert to pack the commissioners' meeting with out-of-town advertisers. The next day, industry requests a deferral. On the day of the vote, we're told of a desperate last-minute move by billboard lobbyists (that fizzled). Then, hours later, industry threw in the towel and quit.
We'll never know how much money industry spent on glossy reports, campaign contributions, one-sided polls, lobbyists saying we almost have a "moral obligation" to get digital billboards, cash-strapped nonprofits to pressure officials, high-priced lawyers to drag things out, billboard ads for billboards, and a synthetic-roots Raleigh-based mailing campaign.
We had $12, flashy sun glasses, a thousand e-mails and a united Durham.
Fairway saw they didn't have the votes and buckled. To the thousand-plus who contacted officials, heartfelt thanks. To the eight who sent e-mails pushing electronic billboards, thank you for being part of the beautiful tapestry of Durham.
To our neighbors across the state, we'll keep our website going - in case industry tries to stick electronic billboards in your communities (supportdurhambillboardban.com).
The billboard industry sure can try to resurrect their failed measure. Thanks to the wonderful people of Durham, we'll be here. Living in a place called home, a home that's free of big bright billboards blinking 10,000 advertisements a day.
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