Councilman Butt Pushes to Remove PEM LED Billboard

Radio Free Richmond

blogimage.jpgRichmond City Council member Tom Butt announced Monday that he has placed a resolution on the Council’s April 1st meeting agenda seeking the revocation of the permit that allowed erection and operation of the Pacific East Mall LED billboard.

Mr. Butt made the substantive language of his proposed resolution public by way of his e-forum email newsletter, which he sends out to his subscribers multiple times each week.  Since March 10th, Mr. Butt published four articles on his e-forum – not including Monday’s posting in which he set forth the language of his resolution.  Mr. Butt’s emails have included informal polls of his readers regarding the LED billboard revocation matter and he says it has been a landslide in favor of removing the board.

Monday’s email claims that the resolution that Mr. Butt put on the Council agenda is more than just a product of the outcry from the public against the LED sign.  Rather, as put forth in the text of his proposed resolution, the sign may have been illegal under both the signage ordinance that was in place in Richmond at the time the permit was issued and under the “Use and Display of Signs” Ordinance as currently written.

Among the violations that Mr. Butt alleges in his email forum and in the body of his Council resolution are that, among other violations, there was never a public hearing by the Design Review Organization, no notice was ever given to property owners within 300 feet or to the appropriate neighborhood council or business association as required by the Use and Display of Signs Ordinance at the time.  Due to the failures of the original approval process, Mr. Butt contends, the permit is revocable under current signage ordinances for fraudulent and misleading

As for the voices on the other side of the argument over the Pacific East Mall LED billboard permit – the ones that argue that the billboard is good for local business and that the removal of the sign is likely to be costly – Mr. Butt says that they are clinging to a “myth.”  He points to the fact that he watched the board as it cycled through the ads that it normally runs, and saw only one advertisement for a Richmond-based business (an ad for the Tamashii Ramen House in the Pacific East Mall) and it “did not seem to be in the standard rotation.”

Jim Rogers, Mr. Butt’s colleague on the Richmond City Council, sees the LED billboards differently from Mr. Butt.  In a response to one of Mr. Butt’s informal polls, Mr. Rogers suggested that LED billboards may actually reduce blight and clutter by cutting the number of individual boards throughout the city.

The only certainty, it seems, in the fight over the Pacific East Mall LED billboard is that it will be discussed at length in the Richmond City Council meeting coming up on April 1st.

Showing 10 reactions

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  • Sozine Jobs
    commented 2014-07-24 06:45:24 -0700
    its mind blowing <a href=“”“>”> billboard truck </a>
  • Ormond Otvos
    commented 2014-07-02 09:06:24 -0700
    Judging from the page views, and sloooow comment rate, it looks more like page view envy than any serious appeal to facts.
  • Don Gosney
    commented 2014-07-02 07:48:00 -0700
    Councilmember Butt used his personal eforum to solicit feedback about this electronic blllboard (located at the base of Albany Hill and I-80).

    If anyone were to use the results of this poll to suggest that this is the people speaking, they’d be fooling themselves. The people who subscribe to Tom’s eforum are, for the most part, his loyal followers and friends—people who already think like him. Asking people in a setting like this is like going to a Nascar race and polling the people about whether Nascar is the greatest sport ever devised. The results might be skewed a bit.

    Tom’s a smart man so he’s not likely to use the media to say that this is a scientific poll in any way. What he’ll do, though, is tell you that he’s conducted a poll and the results were overwhelming. He’ll lead you to believe that this is the voice of the people even if it’s just a few friends and family members he’s listening to.
  • mahakhan514
    commented 2014-07-02 04:59:22 -0700
    what is meant by LED billboard revocation matter and he says it has been a landslide in favor of removing the board?? i could not understand it please help.
    <a href=“”">"> LED billboard truck </a>
  • mahakhan514
    commented 2014-07-02 04:58:36 -0700
    what is meant by LED billboard revocation matter and he says it has been a landslide in favor of removing the board?? i could not understand it please help.
    <a href=“”">"> LED billboard truck </a>
  • Ormond Otvos
    commented 2014-03-27 18:35:05 -0700
    Have to agree with your rant, Charles. You hit all the high points.

    Do you see any of that bullying in the new media, like on the Internet? It sometimes takes a little digging to find out who is behind these propaganda machines, but the Internet is a two edged blade.

    It’s so easy now to attack while pretending to be just stating the facts. It all lies in who your dittoheads are.
  • Charles Smith
    commented 2014-03-27 14:23:31 -0700
    Recent news reports indicate that bullying young people while using social media can have deadly consequences. The press acts as if this is a new phenomenon precipitated by the advent of the Internet. In fact, media bullying has been around at least as long as advertising has. An economy based on consumption is dependent on compulsive spending. Unbridled consumption is predicated upon discontented consumers. The advertising industry creates unhappy consumers through ubiquitous psychological assaults. This negative indoctrination starts with toddlers and doesn’t stop until the day we die. I consider this advertising assault to be an insidious form of bullying. Madison Avenue advertising firms are as malevolent as any bully in the schoolyard. Their job is to increase corporate profits by destroying our mental health and our financial wellbeing. These corporate shills thrive off our unhappiness the same way childhood bullies enjoy making other children outcasts. We are human beings, not rats in a maze. The right to uncontaminated mental health is a human right. We all have the right to be free from bullies.
  • Don Gosney
    commented 2014-03-26 14:15:05 -0700
    Let’s give Mr. Ormond a prize. Radio Free Richmond has only been up and running for a few weeks now and we have our very first personal attack.

    Instead of writing about the issues, Mr. Ormond decides to personally accuse an author/commenter of doing something illegal, unethical or salacious.

    Bravo, Mr. Ormond. You’ve christened Radio Free Richmond so now it’s not just the disseminator of news and opinions but now it’s also being dragged into the depths of what’s wrong with allowing the public to freely post comments.

    Your attempts to accuse me of something like this have crossed the bounds of propriety. Instead of feeling the least bit guilty for besmirching the integrity of someone you don’t even know, I can imagine you beaming with pride and calling your buddies to boast of your sophomoric behavior.

    I can imagine that we will soon see a response to this comment attacking me even further but we at RFR have all agreed that unless a commenter truly crosses the line of civility we won’t use our editorial controls. As for me, though, you won’t get a response. Your comment will simply die the death it deserves.
  • Ormond Otvos
    commented 2014-03-26 13:59:31 -0700
    Mr. Gosney slithers past the illegality of the sign’s erection, which would negates his arguments about the legality of the profits gained from it. Does he have an interest in the sign’s income?
  • Don Gosney
    commented 2014-03-25 16:21:14 -0700
    Just curious why it took Councilmember Butt more than five years to see that something ”illegal” was going on here in Richmond.

    Also, why is it that no one seemed to be up in arms about this illegal billboard until Councilmember Butt told his dittoheads that this was an outrage?

    I seem to recall something from my Statistical Theory class at Cal about when polling, the results are of little value when the only people you’re polling are your own supporters. So why are these straw poll results from Tom’s dittoheads being put out there like they were sent down from God’s finger to Tom’s eforum?

    I’m one of those that Mr. Butt is claiming to be clinging to a myth. Is it a myth that the owners sell ads on this board? In Councilmember Butt’s own eforum he states that the owners of the sign sell ads on their board for more than $780,000 per year. Remove the sign and that’s revenue they will no longer be able to collect. Maybe In Tom;s business he can afford to kiss off more than three quarters of a million dollars per year but he may be the exception.

    And didn’t the sign actually cost money to erect? Money that would have been wasted if it were to be shut down? And if it must be removed, wouldn’t this cost money?

    Sounds to me like Tom’s vendetta can be very costly to the owners of this sign. And we claimed that this action would be bad for business, I wasn’t referring to the advertisements being posted. I was taking to the local business that would be out the three quarters of a million dollars per year in advertising revenue.

    But I’m betting that Tom knew what I was referring to because he’s a smart kind of guy—a guy that wants to use his eforum to push his own agenda without having to worry about opposition authors debunking his wu=ild and inflammatory writings.
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