Last week, the West Hollywood City Council voted to not allow an initiative called the Tax Billboard Act to be placed on the March ballot, which will certainly move the fight to the courts.
It was not apparent to many people who signed a petition to place the Tax Billboard Act on the ballot that it is being put forward by an entity that is backed by an outdoor advertising company called SkyTag, and that it will actually allow for new outdoor advertising to be constructed in West Hollywood.
Video: Excerpts of Discussion at City Council on Tax Billboard Act
A coalition of West Hollywood community members, businesses and civic activists have formed a group called Concerned Neighbors Against Illegal Billboards to fight the Tax Billboard Act. The group is voicing their support for the West Hollywood City Council’s action to not allow the measure on the ballot.
“In refusing to place the measure on the March 2011 ballot, the City took a stand for upholding the law and sound planning practices in West Hollywood,” said a statement provided by the group. “Concerned Neighbors and residents throughout West Hollywood now understand that Skytag’s ballot measure’s true intention is to place illegal and unsafe supergraphics on Santa Monica and Beverly Boulevards and are not fooled by the deceptive title of the ballot measure.”
“Business owners throughout West Hollywood are opposed to this shameful attempt to legalize illegal billboards through a convoluted and deceptive ballot measure. This measure is nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing” said Genevieve Morrill, President of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
The group says that the measure was exposed as “illegitimate” by a recent report authored by West Hollywood’s City Attorney, and that questions have been raised about whether or not the paid signature gathers hired to qualify the ballot measure accurately disclosed the full content of the ballot measure when pressuring West Hollywood residents to sign the petition to qualify the ballot initiative.
“It’s unfortunate that a supergraphic company, Skytag, would go to such lengths to deceive the voters of West Hollywood just so that it can skirt the law and maintain illegal supergraphics” said Steven Afriat, spokesperson for Concerned Neighbors Against Illegal Billboards.