City Councillors applauded Councillor George Rotondo’s motion Monday night that called for a change in the city ordinance that deals with billboards.
The change would fine companies that leave their billboards torn, or out of date or just unsightly. Several billboards around the city have taken on an abandoned look from time to time, with events more than six months old advertised and, in addition, the placards are often in such rough shape that the message is literally falling off the board.
Councillors also brought to light the structural deficiencies on many of the billboard towers around town, saying that they are rusted, falling apart and perhaps in danger of toppling over.
Rotondo said the worst – and perhaps only – offender is Clear Channel Outdoor, a company based in Texas and in the middle of a heartless contract war with 25 employees long-term employees who belong of the local Painter’s Union. The union has been striking at Clear Channel’s Massachusetts Headquarters in Stoneham for six weeks. In the meantime, Clear Channel has brought in out-of-state scab workers to replace the long-time employees on strike. Those employees were alleged offered a contract in which they had to take a 30 percent pay cut, lose their health benefits and work a more flexible schedule or lose their job. The chose to strike.
Said Rotondo, “This is deplorable. Half of Clear Channel’s 52 billboards in Revere appeared to me to have defect. This is exactly what Clear Channel brings to our community.”
The motion was sent directly to a public hearing for the ordinance change, which would result in stiff fines for billboard companies who don’t maintain their property.