ELECTION WATCH - Billboard companies and their employees have contributed $162,000 to this year’s municipal election campaigns, according to City Ethics Commission records.
Just under $50,000 of that went to candidates for Mayor, City Attorney, Controller, and the City Council. The balance was spent to support passage of Proposition A, the half-cent sales tax increase on the March 5 primary ballot.
Leading the pack in combined direct contributions and independent expenditures reported through February is Van Wagner Communications. The New York company currently being sued by the City of LA over illegal supergraphic signs contributed $37,993, almost all to support Proposition A. Clear Channel and Regency Outdoor contributed $29,300 and $26,500, respectively, to the sales tax measure as well as to individual candidates on the ballot.
The candidate showered with the most billboard company largesse was City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who is running for re-election from the 15th District. Buscaino has received $14,500 in direct contributions and free billboard advertising from Clear Channel, Lamar Advertising, and CBS Outdoor, according to the Ethic Commission.
Also getting free billboard space were City Councilman Dennis Zine, who is running for City Controller; Bob Blumenfield, council candidate from the 3rd District; Felipe Fuentes, council candidate from the 7th District; and Curren Price, council candidate from the 9th District. The billboard space is being donated by Lamar Advertising and CBS Outdoor.
Initial Ethics Commission reports showed Lamar Advertising giving $5,000 in free billboard space to both Mike Bonin, City Council candidate from District 11, and Paul Koretz, who is running for re-election from Council District 5. Bonin said he did not solicit a donation from the billboard company, and both his and Koretz’s were later withdrawn.
A Lamar Advertising spokesperson said that ads for each of the candidates who did accept the donations would be displayed on 10 to 20 billboards, depending upon the size and type of the sign.
In the hotly-contested mayoral race, Wendy Greuel has received $5,250 in direct contributions from billboard companies, while Eric Garcetti has only a $300 donation on record from National Promotions and Advertising, the company responsible for poster-style billboards on construction fences. Neither have been given free billboard advertising.
Full list of billboard industry contributions below. Some are directly from the companies and others are from company officials and employees.
Wendy Greuel $5,250 from National Promotions & Advertising and National Outdoor Media
Jan Perry $2,800 from Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor
Eric Garcetti $300 from National Promotions and Advertising
Dennis Zine $6,500 from Clear Channel and Lamar Advertising
Mike Feuer $1,300 from Clear Channel
Council District 1
Jose Gardea $1,500 from Clear Channel and Regency Outdoor
Gil Cedillo $500 from Regency Outdoor
Council District 3
Bob Blumenfield $5,500 from Lamar Advertising and Van Wagner Communications
Council District 7
Felipe Fuentes $6,200 from Clear Channel and Lamar Advertising
Council District 9
Curren Price $4,500 from CBS Outdoor
Ana Cubas $200 from Van Wagner Communications
Council District 13
Alexander Cruz De Ocampo $700 from National Outdoor Media Network
Council District 15
Joe Buscaino $14,500 from Clear Channel, CBS Outdoor, and Lamar Advertising
Campaign Donations by Sign Company are as follows:
Van Wagner Communications $37,993
Clear Channel $30,300
Regency Outdoor $26,500
Corona Outdoor Advertising $25,000
Lamar Advertising $21,500
CBS Outdoor $14,500
National Outdoor Media $2,000
Martin Outdoor $1,300
(Dennis Hathaway is the president of The Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Vol 11 Issue 19
Pub: Mar 5, 2013