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Reactions to the 9th Circuit Court Billboard Ruling

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Photo by edmundv via Flickr

After becoming "roadkill" to lawsuits over the past seven years, Los Angeles finally got the upper hand in battling billboard blight (we have thousands of illegal ones) when the 9th Circuit Court yesterday sided with Los Angeles against a billboard company.

Michael Woo, a former L.A. city councilman: "The 9th Circuit ruling and the billboard moratorium provide an opportunity to have a public discussion about the kind of urban environment we want and how to achieve it. They raise a broader question, not aired often enough in this city, about how to protect the public interest from private interests maximizing their economic gain."

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The cityscape is public property -- just like access to a street, or a building such as City Hall, or the airwaves. It's time for Los Angeles to ask: Just because there is a willing seller and a willing buyer, is the sale itself good for the public interest?"

Patt Morrison: "Now, at least, the city has some borrowed muscle. It can point to the 9th Circuit and say, "I'm with them," every time it goes out now to enforce its own rules and start taking down some of these obnoxious signs, and writing up their owners. [You ARE going to go enforce the rules, aren't you, City Hall?]

LA Weekly's Christine Pelisek on Laurence Tribe, the billboard company's lawyer: "Tribe is not exactly used to losing. He's won before the U.S. Supreme Court at least 17 times and authored American Constitutional Law (1978), the most commonly cited work in that field. In 2001, he co-founded the liberal American Constitution Society, supposedly a counterweight to the conservative Federalist Society. He also has a lot of law school student fans who were happy to see him back in court. "

TJ Sullivan at NBC Los Angeles on Supergraphics: "This battle is far from over. Besides the possibility that the ruling could be overturned on appeal, other forms of advertising continue to test the city's regulatory strength. Tall walls and building wraps, the likes of which were once seen only on the Sunset Strip, have begun to appear on buildings throughout the city, particularly on the Westside and in Westwood."

The Court on their decision: "This is strong, if rather sloganeering, language, but after reviewing the case law on which Metro Lights relies, we believe it to be little more than a canard."

LA Times Article: "The ruling would have the force of law only in the nine Western states that fall under the 9th Circuit's jurisdiction -- California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Hawaii. But lawyers with City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo said cities as far away as New York had been waiting to see what the 9th Circuit would do. In addition, at least five other lawsuits in Los Angeles have referenced the Metro Lights case, said Deputy City Atty. Kenneth Fong."

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