If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Might as Well Use ‘Em


Back in October we learned that DC was trying to get Clear Channel to voluntarily remove these billboards at the corner of 4th and P Streets, NW. At the time we learned that Clear Channel refused and filed a lawsuit. I noticed that the signs were still up. But what I thought was particularly interesting was that if the “District Government” was trying to get these sign removed – does it make sense that they would use one (even for a good cause)?


15 Comment

  • Who cares? It’s a billboard. It surprises me how worked up people in this city get about advertisements. Good lawd. The graffiti behind these signs are a greater eyesore IMO.

    If the city were smart it would figure out a way to tax the ad revenue generated by Clear Channel and use the money as a new revenue stream. I doubt that they are doing that now since these billboards are technically illegal.

  • The city already covered the graffiti. Bet it cost more than the $3 clear channel paid in taxes (lot appraised at ~46k. The graffiti is part of the reason to get them removed, so get the lot occupied by someone other than acting as a dump.

  • As long as the city is revamping its vacant lot statutes, why not just classify property with non approved billboards as automatically blighted requiring the owner to pay the vacant/blight tax. That would get rid of a lot of billboards pretty quick

  • Anon @3:26 brings up a good question. If someone graffitis on your house, will the city clean it up for free? And if so, why? I certainly wouldn’t be happy if someone tagged my house, but doesn’t that fall into the “shit happens” bucket? Why should the city clean it up for me?

  • Pop,
    I guess I would answer your question, does it make sense for the DC government to use the billboard if the DC government was trying to get rid of them like this. I might have been opposed to the Bush tax cuts for those in upper income brackets, but I’m not going to send that money back to the IRS given that the tax cuts were passed.

    Dunno, just my view.

  • I’m sure the City Dept. that put them up has NO idea that DCRA is trying to get them taken down. There’s probably a guy whose job it is to promote public service messages on billboards and he found these to his liking…

  • So, if DC is prohibited from removing the billboards, wouldn’t it make more sense to stop fighting with Clear Channel over these billboards and enter into an agreement with them to make this lot a “Billboard Park” or something? Leave the Billboards up, but allow them to move the physical structure (my understanding is that Clear Channel can’t move the billboards around, they have to be maintained as is…which I guess causes graffiti and dangerous homeless people to take shelter beneath them). You know, put them along the back borders with those houses (on poles, not on the houses themselves), even allow them to make them a little bigger to compensate for the extra distance away from the road, and then turn the rest of the lot into some litle dog park or playground or something? You’d probaly get more eyeballs looking at the billboards that way, and it’d turn into a productive community structure. Win-win!

    I feel like there are tons of alternative solutions that could be worked out over this property, but the neighborhood group is so pig-headed they won’t accept anything other than total capitulation by Clear Channel.

  • Someone can just set these on fire…

  • Just an fyi, clear channel and friends have a history of just placing billboards where they please w/ little regard to zoning laws, etc. They depend on the community assuming that since a billboard is so blatent, it must be approved. Then after time passes and someone finally checks, the company states that it’s their right to keep them since they weren’t caught until recently. Usually lower income communities where people are less likely to complain are targeted.

    On a side note, most of the 8×4 signs you see on vacant buildings were tacked up w/o even the building owner knowing.

  • ugh. there’s an eyesore of a billboard on 3rd and K NE that is definitely not on the list of approved billboards in dc. it has a little clearchannel placque on it. it’s against one of those little houses-turned-churches that is NEVER in use. NEVER. i bet the billboard generates enough revenue to keep electricity on, or pay prop taxes or something. but the fact is that the church has been closed for at least the six years i’ve been here.

    and the church is falling down. literally. the area is totally residential, and it’s just wierd to have it there, and yes, it’s an eyesore for the neigbs. i took a pic and emailed it to the dc task force that is supposed to remove the billboards, and the response was an email that said “we are looking into it, we’ve heard of this billboard.” it’s been months, and.. nothing.

    it’s right on the corner on prime real estate, and likely supports a failing crappy-arsed “church of the fish” or something.

    how would you like a billboard in front of your front door view? i’m telling you, it sucks. birds, cats, vandals… you name it. AND this one is probably not going to go away because the idiot that approved it did so to support the “holy property, which is the worshipping place of god” that his parents used to go to back in the 60’s.

    DC needs to coordinate and set a policy that applies to all. not just the dead wood that marion barry installed during his drug fuelled years.

    there are tons of “little shiloh-like” churches out there that get away with murder.

    it makes me sick.

  • I doubt clear channel’s business model is squatting.

  • you’re right. it’s loopholing.

    big difference.

    uh huh.

  • I know that church on 3rd and K. To be fair, that church does get used (or used to get used), but they had a fire or something a few years back (3? 4?) and it took them a while to fix everything back up. Maybe there is still work to do on the inside, though. And maybe that is why there is a clear channel billboard there….to provide a source of funding for fixing up that church. I have no clue how long that billboard has been there, b/c who cares about billboards, but I’d imagine that would be the only source of funding for the reparis for an establishment like that (and you have to admit, it looks a lot better now than it did even 1 year ago), so I’m glad they got creative to find funding rather than just keep it all Shiloh-ed out.

  • I agree with Anon @ 3:55pm: the city dept that put up that billboard likely has no idea that DCRA is trying to get them taken down.

    And I can’t possibly understand why any commenter bothers to take the side of Clear Channel except to be contrary — the billboards are clearly illegal, are also an eyesore, and (as a related but relevant note) it is impossible to argue that Clear Channel is not an objectionable company because it crushes local radio wherever it goes.

    But being contrary simply for the sake of being contrary seems to be the major nut-bust for some PoP commenters. Gone ‘head with that.

  • Nut-bust, what a concept. PoP Contrarians. No more wigs here, just enabling of large scale commercialism. That’s what we want, isn’t it?

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