A billboard company challenging Los Angeles’ restrictions on digital signs says it plans to donate tens of thousands of dollars in advertising to help Councilman Jose Huizar and five other candidates, all but one of them incumbents, in the March 3 election, it was reported Wednesday.
Lamar Advertising Co. of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which is suing to install at least 45 digital billboards across the city, will put much of its campaign money behind Huizar, who heads the council committee drafting new sign regulations, according to paperwork filed with the city Ethics Commission, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The firm already has installed 100 pro-Huizar billboards at a cost of $26,500, all of them in the councilman’s downtown-to-Eagle Rock district, Ray Baker, Lamar’s vice president and general manager, told The Times.
Baker said in an e-mail that Lamar favors 1st Amendment protections and “a pro-business environment.” He declined to comment more specifically on his company’s reasons for backing the six candidates, including Council President Herb Wesson, Councilwoman Nury Martinez and Councilman Paul Krekorian.
“The decision of why we support or do not support a particular candidate is not up for discussion,” Baker said in the email to The Times.
City law bars campaign contributors from giving council candidates more than $700 during an election cycle. But there are no limits on expenditures such as those being made by Lamar, as long as they are made independently from a candidate’s campaign.
Baker said Lamar intends to provide nearly $59,000 in advertising for its candidates in the next six weeks. The company has put up 20 billboards apiece for the reelection campaigns of Martinez, Krekorian and Wesson, plus another 20 for Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who is seeking to replace termed-out Councilman Bernard C. Parks, according to The Times.
Eight signs are going up in support of Councilman Mitchell Englander, who sits with Huizar on the panel considering where and how new digital signs should be allowed, The Times reported.
Huizar, meanwhile, is supporting the City Council’s effort to ban alcohol advertising on bus shelters, benches and other city-owned property.
—Staff and wire reports
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