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San Diego super-lobbyists battle behind the scenes for video billboards

New mayor expected to make the final call as big money campaign quietly ramps up for giant animated signs

San Diego, which once pioneered the way for tough sign regulations across the country, can get ready for some really big billboards if some of the nation's largest outdoor advertising companies manage to have their way with city council and new Democratic mayor Bob Filner.

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Based on recent filings by some of city hall's most influential lobbyists, a daunting array of high tech so-called off premise signs may be about to decorate the great outdoors here.

In a lobbying disclosure statement filed November 30, Paul Robinson's Hecht, Solberg, Robinson & Bagley reported it has been retained by Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Outdoor, Inc. regarding "the inclusion of San Diego billboard properties in proposed San Diego Arts and Entertainment District (billboard addresses not yet available)."

The company's website says it is "in an aggressive growth stage, with an ever-expanding list of outdoor advertising markets. We now cover top-30 markets across the country and we're adding more premium real estate locations every day."

Then there is the San Bernardino law firm of Gresham Savage Nolan & Tilden PC, which played a central role in San Diego's great Walmart political money laundering scandal of 1996.

The firm and Walmart mall developer Frank Gatlin agreed to pay $420,000 in penalties for making illegal campaign contributions to six San Diego City Council candidates.

Gresham and one of its principals acknowledged they had arranged for 110 separate contributions totaling $29,000 to council candidates Ron Roberts, Juan Vargas, Barbara Warden, Judy McCarty and George Stevens.

In a disclosure statement filed December 14, Gresham reports it is working for Lamar Advertising to "negotiate approval of billboard contract with the city," and to "advocate to amend city billboard ordinance," as well as to "seek approval to convert static billboards to digital," and obtain "approval of converting to digital billboards."

Lamar has also retained the services of Southwest Strategies, the lobbying boutique founded by ex-Tribune reporter Al Ziegaus. In an October disclosure, Southwest said it was working for Lamar to amend the sign ordinance to allow digital boards.

As we reported previously, U-T San Diego owner Douglas Manchester and his partner John Lynch have been pushing for their own giant outdoor digital signboard on the outside of the paper's Mission Valley headquarters, attempting to use the paper's clout in the process.

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San Diego State’s WWII letters

Geography professor kept newsletter from all battle fronts

San Diego, which once pioneered the way for tough sign regulations across the country, can get ready for some really big billboards if some of the nation's largest outdoor advertising companies manage to have their way with city council and new Democratic mayor Bob Filner.

None

Based on recent filings by some of city hall's most influential lobbyists, a daunting array of high tech so-called off premise signs may be about to decorate the great outdoors here.

In a lobbying disclosure statement filed November 30, Paul Robinson's Hecht, Solberg, Robinson & Bagley reported it has been retained by Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Outdoor, Inc. regarding "the inclusion of San Diego billboard properties in proposed San Diego Arts and Entertainment District (billboard addresses not yet available)."

The company's website says it is "in an aggressive growth stage, with an ever-expanding list of outdoor advertising markets. We now cover top-30 markets across the country and we're adding more premium real estate locations every day."

Then there is the San Bernardino law firm of Gresham Savage Nolan & Tilden PC, which played a central role in San Diego's great Walmart political money laundering scandal of 1996.

The firm and Walmart mall developer Frank Gatlin agreed to pay $420,000 in penalties for making illegal campaign contributions to six San Diego City Council candidates.

Gresham and one of its principals acknowledged they had arranged for 110 separate contributions totaling $29,000 to council candidates Ron Roberts, Juan Vargas, Barbara Warden, Judy McCarty and George Stevens.

In a disclosure statement filed December 14, Gresham reports it is working for Lamar Advertising to "negotiate approval of billboard contract with the city," and to "advocate to amend city billboard ordinance," as well as to "seek approval to convert static billboards to digital," and obtain "approval of converting to digital billboards."

Lamar has also retained the services of Southwest Strategies, the lobbying boutique founded by ex-Tribune reporter Al Ziegaus. In an October disclosure, Southwest said it was working for Lamar to amend the sign ordinance to allow digital boards.

As we reported previously, U-T San Diego owner Douglas Manchester and his partner John Lynch have been pushing for their own giant outdoor digital signboard on the outside of the paper's Mission Valley headquarters, attempting to use the paper's clout in the process.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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