As you know, by a vote of 13-3 (with Kenyatta Johnson, Blondell Reynolds Brown, and W. Wilson Goode, Jr. voting "NO"), City Council voted in favor of Bills 140906 and 140907 which authorize 6-story full-motion video billboards on North Broad St. in front of the Convention Center and at 12th and Arch, across from the Reading Terminal Market. The legislation is presently on Mayor Nutter's desk. We are guardedly optimistic that the Mayor will veto the Bills; he has until this Thursday to do so. The following is the text of a letter that we sent to the Mayor this afternoon:
Re: UEDs are inherently dangerous: please veto Bills 140906 and 140907
Dear Mayor Nutter:
Put aside the fact that UEDs, the 6-story full-motion video billboards recently approved by City Council, were overwhelmingly opposed by the Planning Commission; are grossly out of scale with their surroundings; generate no meaningful revenue for the City; and benefit only their owner/operator, two non-profits chosen by that owner/operator, and commercial advertisers. This legislation, now sitting on your desk, should be vetoed because UEDs are inherently dangerous. This flows from the fact that their very purpose, their sole reason for being, is to distract both drivers and pedestrians with their 3,500 square foot animated advertising displays. These behemoths might be fine inside the Linc or Citizens Bank Park. But situated on sidewalks, along major thoroughfares (Broad and Arch Streets), in the heart of pedestrian-friendly Center City, can there be any doubt that they will cause accidents and injuries? The Center City Residents' Association urges you to veto this legislation and to use your "bully pulpit" to persuade members of City Council that this legislation raises serious issues of public safety.
But even if Mayor Nutter vetoes this legislation, we can expect that the lobbyists for Catalyst Outdoor (the owner/operator of the UEDs) will move quickly and aggressively to pressure Council to override the veto. Five votes are needed to prevent an override. Click here for contact information for each member of Council (phone calls are most effective, especially for the six Councilpersons-at-Large, and don't forget to thank Johnson, Reynolds Brown, and Goode, Jr. for their earlier "NO" votes). And go to www.scenicphiladelphia.org for more information and to sign a Petition (already signed by over 1,200 others) to express your opposition. If there is a veto, an attempted override vote could come as early as this Thursday. So time is of the essence!