Monday, December 1, 2014

Digital Billboard Lobbyists Galore

A brief update - Prop 250 will be sent back to committee at tonight's Council meeting, the IBJ's Cory Schouten reports.

Now, without further delay - my post on lobbyists for the billboard industry.

One of the comments I made in my 'Ten Things You Didn't Know About the Proposed Digital Billboard Ordinance', brought a considerable amount of energy from the billboard industry representative during our meeting last Monday afternoon.

They came across as absolutely insulted that I would say that Prop 250 was "drafted by lobbyists for the billboard industry".  Who knew that members of the billboard industry would look down on lobbyists?

Representatives of Clear Channel, Lamar, and Outfront Media (formerly CBS Outdoor) made it clear that John Kisiel of Clear Channel wrote the majority of if, with their input.  No sense mentioning that Bose Public Affairs Group is listed on the proposal itself as having drafted it.  Kisiel told us he had to register as a lobbyist in order to talk with the Councillors.  So much for it not being lobbyist written.

But, the exchange sent me to the lobbyist registration for the City and County.

There has been a ramp up in the number of registered lobbyist representing the interests of billboard companies in the last two year - so much so there is no shortage of them.

Here is what I found by year:

2010 -- 57 individuals registered  -- 0 for billboard companies

2011 -- 34 individuals registered -- 1 from Bose, McKinney, & Evans representing both Lamar and CBS Outdoor

2012 -- 43 individuals registered -- 2 for billboard companies  -- 1 from BME for Lamar, the other John Kisiel of and for Clear Channel

2013 -- 28 individuals registered -- 4 for billboard companies -- 2 from Barnes & Thornburg for Clear Channel, 1 from BME for Lamar, and again Mr. Kisiel for Clear Channel

2014 -- 25 individuals registered -- 7 for billboard companies -- 4 from BME for Lamar and CBS-Indy, and 3 from B&T for Clear Channel.

The agencies listed as points of contact for these folks were primarily the City-County Council, but also included the Mayor's Office, DMD, DCE, IMPD, IndyGo, the MDC, and the Office of Corporation Counsel.

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