This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.
For many Tacomans, big billboards are anathema, a blight on the city. At packed meetings, residents pleaded with city officials to continue fighting the major billboard company, Clear Channel Outdoor, which wants to replace its static signs with digital ones that change the message on a regular basis.
So what about all that makes Tacoma Public Utilities officials think that the public would be happy about advertising its city-owned Click Network on billboards?
In December – four months after the City Council voted to update its outdoor sign ordinance by banning digital signs and getting rid of 190 nonconforming ones – Click contracted with Clear Channel to advertise on many of those same nonconforming signs. Its one-year contract funnels $105,415 to Clear Channel for at least 13 billboards and accompanying production costs.
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