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Homeowners’ Opposition Unlikely To Stop Digital Billboard Deal

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — City lawmakers Tuesday inched closer to finalizing an agreement to bring more digital billboards – and more revenue – to the city of Los Angeles.

KNX 1070’s John Brooks reports neighborhood activists and even a pending lawsuit may not be enough to stop a deal with Clear Channel Outdoor and CBS Outdoor.

Councilman Paul Krekorian says the proposal could pour a “significant” chunk of money into city coffers and slash the number of static and digital billboards citywide.

Krekorian and Councilmen Ed Reyes would form a working group with the city’s two biggest billboard companies as well as two smaller firms to draft “binding agreements that would address digital sign issues” within 30 days.

CBS Outdoor and Clear Channel combined have 102 digital billboards — the only ones in the city that are legally permitted under agreements reached in 2006 to settle previous litigation challenging the city’s billboard laws.

Those agreements allowed CBS Outdoor and Clear Channel Outdoor to convert 840 traditional billboards to digital signs, but the settlements were challenged in court by Summit Media, a smaller sign company, which won its case against the city in Superior Court.

Now some City Council members want to hammer out a new agreement before an appeals court issues a ruling that might further restrict digital signs – an effort that anti-billboard activist Dennis Hathaway said is simply a continuation of tactics used in the past.

“The city councilmen, not only are they taking contributions from the billboard companies, but the billboard companies have a great propensity to sue when they don’t get their way,” Hathaway said.

Analysts estimated that digital signs could yield $250,000 per month compared with traditional billboards, which can bring in around $40,000 per month and require costly installations.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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