From the Indianapolis Star:
The City-County Council voted Monday to block the construction of any new billboards until Dec. 1, a move backers say will let the city shape a sign strategy that addresses business and neighborhood concerns.
“Indianapolis has a sign-proliferation problem,” said Cathy Burton, head of the Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Associations. A billboard study, she added, will focus on “what makes healthy neighborhoods.”
The billboard debate has been one of the thorniest in the council this year. Neighborhood activists have long urged tighter restrictions on billboard placement, but some billboard industry officials argued a moratorium could cost them money and jobs.
Mayor Bart Peterson opened the debate in March with a proposal to block new billboards for a year.
Hmm. We have a “sign-proliferation problem”? What we actually have here is a First Amendment problem – yet nobody seems to look at it that way. Some handful of busybody buttmunches arbitrarily decides that billboards in general offend their fine-tuned little aesthetic sensitivities, so they’ll just ban them. Why is this even an acceptable proposal for polite debate?
Why isn’t the ICLU raising hell? There’s not even a peep of dissent that I’ve seen locally other than minor crap about costing jobs in the billboard industry. It might be a billboard for Big Macs, or for Planned Parenthood. Hey, just shut up with it. We don’t like signs, we’ll just ban them.
Note that this insensitivity to free speech issues comes in this city primarily from Democrats. It was Democrat mayor Bart Peterson who pushed the ban.
This shows consistency on his part; the first big initiative he had when he became mayor was a ban on certain arcade video games that he didn’t like.
PS: The video game nonsense cost our fair city somewhere close to half a million dollars in legal costs before being tossed out by the courts. It’s ok though – he was doing it for the children.