Tacoma Urbanist

Aug. 9, 2011 at 12:01am

Tonight: Tacoma City Council Set to Vote on Threat of Digital Billboards

Let's Hope the City Chooses Citizens over Lobbyists

Photo by Kevin Freitas
What: Tacoma City Council set to vote on the proposal to 1) ban blightful digital billboards from the City of Tacoma, 2) require the removal of non-conforming static billboards by March 1, 2011 (which were SUPPOSED TO BE REMOVED IN 2007!)
When : Today : Tuesday August 9th at 5:00 p.m.
Where : 747 Market Street in downtown Tacoma.
Why attend : The quality of life of the City of Tacoma is at stake.
There seems to be no end to them contacting city hall.
Legality of the proposal to ban digital billboards:
The City attorney and the attorney hired by the City of Tacoma now seem to agree nearly completely with Tacoma attorney Doug Schafer in the matter:

In spite of Clear Channels staunch opposition to the proposed code, any future litigation is unlikely to be successful, according to Shelley Kerslake, an attorney hired to represent the city in this matter. She believes the proposed code will help the city maintain its long-term vision of becoming a more attractive city.

The city truly believes it is in a strong position with the new code, and that any challenges Clear Channel may mount would be difficult to prevail, Kerslake said. The new code is much stronger and clearer as to the citys position with digital billboards.

Action steps

You can email your councilmembers here and let then know how you feel on the issue and how you would like them to vote and attend the hearing.

Key Videos:

comments [27]  |  posted under tacoma


by Erik on 8/9/2011 @ 12:56am
The Tacoma weekly has a nice photoshopped picture in their article showing a before and after image:


by Erik on 8/9/2011 @ 1:09am
Tacoma Planning Commission letter against digital billboards:

Full size:


by KevinFreitas on 8/9/2011 @ 6:52am
I'll be there. Thanks Erik!

by NineInchNachos on 8/9/2011 @ 8:02am
let's roll

by NineInchNachos on 8/9/2011 @ 10:33am
So exciting. What will happen? Place your bets! I'm thinking unanimous adoption. Lonergan and Strickland being the wild cards .

by Erik on 8/9/2011 @ 10:40am
It is hard to believe that a councilmember could vote to impose digital billboard to blight the city with near universal and outspoken opposition to them notwithstanding the press reports of lobbyists in City Hall.

Cleaning up the junky non conforming billboards is 14 years overdue. Time for the "visioning" and goal setting for a Safe and Clean city to become reality.

by NineInchNachos on 8/9/2011 @ 11:04am
no compensation for blight!

by fredo on 8/9/2011 @ 11:10am
Good postings and I'm in full agreement and support. Good luck blight-fighters!

by Erik on 8/9/2011 @ 12:08pm
Weekly Volcano weighs in:


by NineInchNachos on 8/9/2011 @ 12:16pm
the Tacomic campaign of boycotting the Weekly Volcano has worked

"Ron Swarner said on Aug. 09, 2011 at 10:19am

We are honoring our signed contract, but have taken our small business marketing into other cities in Pierce and Thurston counties. Any Tacoma billboard you have seen since April has been a gift from Clear Channel, which i promptly asked for its relocation.

by L.S.Erhardt on 8/9/2011 @ 12:41pm
I have to work tonight, so no meeting for me.

But I'll be there in spirit, for what little that might actually count.

by NineInchNachos on 8/9/2011 @ 1:24pm
thanks Todd! tacomachamber.blogspot.com/2011/08/billb...

by CaptainBritton on 8/9/2011 @ 2:44pm
Fart the Chamber.

by CaptainBritton on 8/9/2011 @ 3:54pm
How does the chamber of commerce feel about the placement of these enormous signs in our Tacoma neighborhoods as per the "proposed settlement agreement"?

"Does the chamber's ability to advertise to me and my children in unsafe ways (without my approval or choice) outweigh the citizens ability to live safely and happily in the city that WE pay taxes in and reside?

The Chamber should watch out for making bed fellows with bad businesses too. After all the citizens are VERY aware of what business chose to lie with Clear Chanel on this issue.

Thanks for your involvement and consideration. "

by Nick on 8/9/2011 @ 5:05pm
Who picks the background music on TV Tacoma for the pre-meeting video feed?

by Erik on 8/9/2011 @ 7:28pm
Reason prevails!!!

Tacoma City Council votes 7 -1 to ban blightful digital billboards from the City of Tacoma and the require the removal of non-complying digital billboards by 3/1/2012.

This is how billboards are removed:


by fredo on 8/9/2011 @ 8:02pm
whats up with that knucklehead lonergan?

by fredo on 8/9/2011 @ 8:30pm

"Council members agreed the council would return to the topic of digital signs. Considering there are electronic signs at city facilities Cheney Stadium and the Tacoma Dome, Mayor Marilyn Strickland said, the city needs to set fair standards".

"At some point in the future, in the near future, were going to have a serious conversation about digital and talk about where digital can fit into our landscape, because I do think its possible," Strickland said.

Read more: blog.thenewstribune.com/politics/2011/08...

Despite her high ranking office, it should be obvious that Mayor Marilyn Strickland just doesn't get it.

by NineInchNachos on 8/9/2011 @ 8:50pm
Joe Lonergan is doing the best with what god gave him.

by JesseHillFan on 8/9/2011 @ 10:52pm
Eventually Mayor Strickland will be replaced by Mayor Hill.

by Erik on 8/9/2011 @ 10:56pm
King 5 News covers Tacoma's fight against digital billboard blight:


by Joel 413 on 8/9/2011 @ 11:08pm
The settlement is dead. RESTART THE TICKER!

by KevinFreitas on 8/10/2011 @ 6:47am
It never stopped baby: www.feedtacoma.com/forum/tacoma-developm... Not sure how it applies now really but I suppose as of March the new number of non-conforming boards will carry their own fine and we can start a new counter. Still, I think Clear Channel can just take down those non-conforming billboards and, in exchange, the City won't levy this $34 million fine for the original non-conforming boards. Seems like a fair trade to me.

by Joel 413 on 8/10/2011 @ 7:59am
They keep threatening a law suit and saying it will cost millions of dollars. I think if they sue us we should counter-sue for the unpaid fines and non-compliance as well as undue waste of the city's time and efforts for this cat and mouse game of legal intimidation.

by fredo on 8/10/2011 @ 8:04am
Joel, you are exactly correct. We should try to move this issue into the courtroom as soon as possible. This threat of expensive lawsuits has been going on for 4 or 5 years. Since it's going to have to be resolved in a courtroom anyway why prolong the process? Let's get in there and let a judge resolve this issue once and forever. So what if it costs a couple million dollars to defend our laws? We just found 2 million dollars magically to pay for a reconciliation" Ting" and some stupid baseball "berm."

by Erik on 8/27/2011 @ 3:32pm
City of Tacoma outlines their 5 claims against Clear Channel in their complaint: Pierce County Superior Court Cause No. 11-2-12765-1: docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&...

by fredo on 8/27/2011 @ 3:52pm
Very interesting document Erik, thanks

The City of Tacoma could have saved itself a lot of grief if on July 27, 2010 they had tabled the settlement agreement for further review/public input. RR was there and tried to stop the process. There was no reason to agree and every reason not to agree. Sort of disappointed that 9 presumably intelligent people would not see the problems this agenda item would ultimately cause.