City delays action on billboards

There are 23 comments on the El Paso Times story from Aug 27, 2009, titled City delays action on billboards. In it, El Paso Times reports that:

The City Council wants more information before making a big decision on how to regulate billboards.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at El Paso Times.

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Just a Girl

United States

#1 Aug 27, 2009
The nation's best known expert on digital signs testified to City Council and PROVED that they were NOT safe. PROVED it without question.

He also proved how the Clear Channel studies have been rejected by the entire field of experts who work in this area and the federal highway administration as junk--not worthy of publication, not EVEN worthy of verbal presentation at a conference. It was humiliating for clear channel, who just sat there grumbling and never even bothered to contest what the true EXPERT was saying. They knew better that to go at the expert and were trying to endanger El Paso drivers.



Safe? Not by a blinking, flashing mile.
Publius

El Paso, TX

#2 Aug 27, 2009
Oh, great poll, you guys. To state the screamingly obvious, where is the "I don't like billboards" option?
Rey

AOL

#3 Aug 27, 2009
The same study and testimony offered in Washington in committee hearings ALSO stated there were FAR MORE and GREATER distractions than the billboards.
I dont own any billbaords. But if you are going to cite studies, dont cherry pick.
legalize Guns in Mexico

El Paso, TX

#4 Aug 27, 2009
new billboard !
get rid of all of them

United States

#5 Aug 27, 2009
It is obvious to anyone who drives that these billboards are distracting, much less they look trashy. There must be a better way to advertise. Driving is hard enough with all the road hazards, not to mention the way people choose not to pay attention when they drive. It's time to get real. Billboards shouldn't even be an issue and I don't understand the "concern" the council has in the first place about them. If it is about people who own the billboard companies, let them find another way to make money the way the rest of us who have no jobs are doing.
I was there

El Paso, TX

#6 Aug 27, 2009
El Paso, we're in trouble. We're letting economic policies that affect jobs in our city be determined by high-school-level, cutesy, folksy, clean-up-the-clutter, sound bite, good party conversation, wishy-washy thinking. Every business leader in town spoke out against these policies. Every single person who creates jobs from thin air, the kind of people a wise city council might consider listening to if they cared at all about real people's welfare and understood a single thing about our economy. El Paso already has fewer billboards per capita than any other major city in Texas, but you'd never know it at these meetings. No one on the city council even bothered to count them, they have no idea how many boards there are. After a year of discussion, they weakly suggested today spending up to $50,000 of our money to hire someone to count them. They think they can just have a "clean-up-the-clutter " policy and move people's private property around. I guarantee you that any free US citizen who owns a billboard or rents space on his or her land to a billboard company isn't going to give up anything without a fight. You can't take property by legislation. And so, even if you do clean up the clutter to satisfy a bunch of west side busybodies. How many jobs will that create? Oh, you say, businesses will want to locate here if it looks better. Well, wake up Barbie and Ken, this is the real world where men and women count and calculate before they play games with real money. Labor intensive industries won't locate here because we don't have the cheapest labor; Mexico, India, and China have us beat. High tech industries aren't coming because we only have one university, not enough to generate a stream of highly capable technical employees such industries need. So you've cleaned up and eliminated a few billboards (under prohibition, no one will give up anything and the city is kidding itself that they will), all this business-illiterate council will have accomplished is to raise advertising costs, put more pressure on small business, and make it less likely they will expand and grow. Not one business leader out of the thousands in town thought this was a good business idea, that new jobs would be somehow miraculously created. City Council members are going to cement a monopoly, trample on property owners' rights, raise advertising costs, and hurt jobs. Bill Clinton said it best, "It's the economy, stupid." Anything city council does has to increase jobs or at the very least, do no harm. Everything else is party talk, "progressive" mish mash, the same feel good crap that has California in the hole right now. They legislated the richest state in the union into the ground with ignorant policies like we re about to suffer. Positive side? The mayor is trying to be rational, he at least knew to work with the square footage of billboards, not just a raw count and showed concern for not legislating a monopoly with a poorly crafted ordinance. Rachel Quintana prefaced almost every comment with something about how the policy would affect jobs. And the new guy, Carl Robinson, is the only one who looked at things realistically and mathematically, tried to get some data to support his decision. Must have been an engineer or something before this job. He'll be the next mayor. Smarter than the rest put together.
g-o-a-t

El Paso, TX

#7 Aug 27, 2009
Just a Girl wrote:
The nation's best known expert on digital signs testified to City Council and PROVED that they were NOT safe. PROVED it without question.
He also proved how the Clear Channel studies have been rejected by the entire field of experts who work in this area and the federal highway administration as junk--not worthy of publication, not EVEN worthy of verbal presentation at a conference. It was humiliating for clear channel, who just sat there grumbling and never even bothered to contest what the true EXPERT was saying. They knew better that to go at the expert and were trying to endanger El Paso drivers.
Safe? Not by a blinking, flashing mile.
Uh, this guy admitted that his own partner in his corporation don't agree on the safety issue. He never proved that they weren't safe. His OPINION, was there are safer ways to display digital billboards. He cited a current Federal study being conducted that would wrap up next April with final conclusions to the safety of digital outdoor. Conclusions from that study would help him and the industry make decisions based on the safety of digital outdoor. Don't post your opinion. Please post facts. You're more dangerous than "Just a Girl"...you're "Just an Uninformed Girl"
Bobby

El Paso, TX

#8 Aug 27, 2009
Tax money put to good use:

Why doesn't the city already know? Isn't there anybody employed at the city that can count?

And these same jokers control the tax payers check book!! There again, it's only tax payers money and El Pasoan love their taxes. Just look at who they keep electing.

'The council voted 8-0 Wednesday during a special meeting to pursue hiring an independent company to count how many billboards are in El Paso. It also postponed further action for 90 days.'
Rey

AOL

#9 Aug 27, 2009
This is the same council that STATED that there 1200 signs and that EP was the billboard capital of Texas, although there other TX cities with much more.

Lilley stated she received over 1000 complains about billboards but HER staff stated they only received approx 25.

All this took placed during the council meeting. They need a study now, while they are ouraged about the mayor voting to veto. If they didnt have the facts then why should believe they will have the facts later.
Duh

El Paso, TX

#10 Aug 27, 2009
Drive to Las Cruces and you will see billboards on the outskirts of town with billboards for restauranys and hotels to attract travelers, but you will see very few billboards in the city. I see billboards advertising lawyers and jewerly stores. Who in there right mind would pick a lawyer based on a billboard? Who can write down the phone number while driving? Who is going to get off of I-10 because they see a jewerly store advertised on a billboard. "Look dear, they have a jewerly store here, let's stop". Give me a break. They are trashy ugly eyesores. Clear Channel ALSO controls a lot of the local medai, so they can feed you the message that billboards are great for business.
Deborah at Lynx Exhibits

United States

#11 Aug 27, 2009
As a locally-owned small business, we must pay very close attention to where our business comes from in order to make effective use of our marketing dollars. Every customer is asked "How did you hear about us?" when they come in and when they call, and easily 70% of our customers come to Lynx Exhibits because they saw a billboard.
Small businesses like ours are VERY dependent on billboards as one of the least expensive (though still pricey) options for reaching the public.
Rey

AOL

#12 Aug 27, 2009
I guess empty stores look better and more people unemployed. Small businesses are the biggest employers.

There needs to be a compromise between the pro and anti billboard folks.
MAURI

El Paso, TX

#13 Aug 27, 2009
Well I think they really need to get rid of alot of them along I-10. It's really getting out of hand. And I have traveled to other cities and I have never seen as many billboards if any inside the city. They are all in the outskirts. Once again El Paso sucks.
OutInTheWestTexa sTown

United States

#14 Aug 27, 2009
Why did the council vote to PAY someone to count the bill boards?
Isn't there a financial problem with the budget and isn't there a hiring/spending freeze going on in both the county and city?
This is prepostrious (sp) that these folks can't count for themselves and haven't the man power to do so. Give me a break, El Paso has bigger problems than this subject. If people desire to advertise using billboards, then let them do so. If some want to get rid of them then those "some" should go around buying up all the signs and land and take them down at their own expense and not try to make this a political prospect. Put up or shut up, don't waste yours and my taxpaying dollars on stupid, stupid things such as paying someone to count billboards. This is idiotic that our elected officials would stoop to this level of incompetency.
level headed

San Antonio, TX

#15 Aug 28, 2009
It is a shame when city commisions let an anti-anything zealot into a hearing or meeting to spew propaganda. These people are misinforming anyone that will listen to them and they should not be provided a public platform to spread their created statistics. They need to be screened and their "facts" need to be verified before they are allowed to speak. The fact is billboards help drive any local businesses that are allowed to benefit from their use. Some of the most successful companies in the USA advertise on them frequently. When they run the local business down the commisioners will look to the rest of the tax base, the citizens to shoulder the load for the continued and unrestrained spending on expensive and uneccessary studies like counting billboards.
Just a Girl

El Paso, TX

#16 Aug 28, 2009
OK ClearChan employee (ie level headed--more like fool headed):

Wactel is a Zelot? Why did you industry hire him over and over again to defend YOU in COURT? He was YOUR expert witness. His public platform is the confidence and trust of the federal highway administration, the state of maryland department of transportation, the national academy of sciences.

What do you have ClearChan? That's right--a study that was laughed out of peer review, a study that 6 other experts trashed so thoroughly that the author was not deemed worthy to provide even an oral summary at a conference of his other peers. Those are the facts. Keep up the lies coming ClearChan. I'll be here waiting.
Gene Dahl

Yankton, SD

#17 Aug 28, 2009
why in gods world would you want to eliminate something that is a driving force in this rotton economy.
Gene Dahl

Yankton, SD

#18 Aug 28, 2009
why would uyou want to eliminate something that is a driving force in this rotton economy.
Rey

AOL

#19 Aug 28, 2009
Just a Girl, dont take anyone's word for it. Ask to REVIEW the first city council meeting that led to the mayor's veto.

You will see lie after lie by the city staff. Video tape of council members misleading the public. Should have seen the look on those faces when the videos were shown. Lilley's own staff contradicted her figures. Sheriff Wiles, then chief, and others from throughout the US testified in Washington before committee that although billboards are a distraction, there are many things that caused bigger distractions, cell phones are one.

So Level is very correct in what they are saying. You on the other hand are either misinformed or choosing to ignore the facts.

I dont work for the billboard industry or own a billboard. But I am very concerned when the council presents false information to slant the vote.
Just a Girl

El Paso, TX

#20 Aug 28, 2009
Rey, you obviously did not see the special council meeting, where everything ClearChan did in the first was proven to be a sham, their experts shown to be hacks, laughed out of scientific circles. Watch the special meeting like i did and then come back--without your clearchan paycheck.

Wiles had an opinion, no fact. Wactel proved it. How long are you going to hide behind a study that was NEVER conducted in El Paso?
In fact, I challenge you. You post the Wiles study. I'll post the ones Wactel did.

I'll post Wactel's credentials in the science of driver distraction. You post wiles'.

Ready?

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