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CRESPOGRAM REPORT

JANUARY 23, 2011

THE TRASHING OF MIAMI

NEW ILLEGAL LED BILLBOARDS ON THE WAY

In the real world, smart guys always know that you never let a crisis pass by without trying to take advantage of it.


So it is with the City of Miami and the billboard industry.  Led by Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff, who has been cashing in for years by being the front man for this industry - even though he ran for office in 2007 as the anti-billboard candidate - the City Commission will, at the next Commission meeting this Thursday, once again vote to expand the guidelines to allow LED billboards on the Gusman Theater, the Knight Center, and the redesigned “Movie Studio” on the edge of i-395, that Sarnoff has been touting in recent puff pieces published in the Miami Herald and Miami Today.


Like the beer ads that were plastered on the side of the city’s MRC building for months, the passage of this new revision to the city’s ordinance will allow beer  and multiple electronic ads to light up the night on the planned massive LED billboard screen that Herman Echevarria, the chairman of the new non-profit trust that was created last year to “save” the Gusman Center claims is needed to generate money for operating the theater.


In a September 15th, Miami Today published a front page story about the Gusman that revealed plans to wrap the building with an illegal advertising screen like the one on the AAA Arena.

Joining Echevarria as board members of the new non-profit, are none other than His Ignorance, Mayor Tomas Regalado, and Art Noreiga, the Executive Director of the Miami Parking Authority (MPA), who has his own history of responsibility for the Gusman’s financial problems when it was run by the MPA.


IT ALL ILLEGAL, BUT WHO CARES WHEN THE PEOPLE INVOLVED NEVER PASSED AN ORDINANCE THEY DIDN’T INTEND TO VIOLATE


You would not know it from the way that billboards and murals slapped on the side of buildings have proliferated in recent years, but Miami-dade County has a pretty comprehensive billboard ordinance, that both the county, and cities of Miami have been shitting on for years.


Here is the section on LED signs, and I have highlighted the sections that the city will be flagrantly violating if they go through with their ordinance change.

The most significant violation, and the one that is the deal killer is section (j), that states:


The content of the ACS shall be limited solely to the promotion of products or services offered on the premises.  The only fixed message shall be the name of the company possessing a valid Certificate of Use and Occupancy for the subject premises.


In short, taking the Gusman Center as an example, these LED signs could only be used to promote events taking place at the Gusman Center.


Here is the explanation presented by the Regalado administration for supporting this change in the ordinance.

The city’s claim to the charge that what they are doing is flagrantly illegal is that they opted out of a specific provision of the county sign code designated at Division 5.


But even after doing that, Marc LaFerrier, the Director of Miami-dade’s Department of Planning and Zoning determined that the City of Miami was still breaking the law.


Here is the letter where he details what the city is doing wrong.

PAGE LINK - COPY AND PASTE

Copy the link below, and it will be a permanent link to this page that you can post on Facebook, or anywhere else.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MORE, OR TO JOIN THOSE WHO THINK THAT THE CITY OF MIAMI IS BEGINNING TO LOOK LIKE ONE GIANT, UGLY BILLBOARD, GO TO:


SCENIC MIAMI

But of course, none of this means anything to His Ignorance, Mayor Regalado, or to Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff, or most especially to City Attorney Julie Bru, who by rights should have issued a strongly worded opinion that what they are trying to do is illegal.


But, it Miami, Bitches!, and in Regaladoland, breaking the law and having it supported by the City Attorney is an everyday occurance.

In an effort to get around this problem, the City of Miami and the billboard companies got County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro to introduce an amendment to the County’s sign ordinance last summer.


Not only the his fellow Commissioners not vote to change the ordinance, they even refused to second the motion that would have allowed it to be considered at all.


Even the Miami herald that has cashed in by having billboards one 3 of it’s walls - one of them an illegal sign - was forced to write about Barreiro’s failure to allow Miami to write their own regulations on billboards.

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(To see a larger version of the documents in this story click on any image.)