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Burbank to pursue advertising on city buses to generate revenue

December 17, 2012
(Times Community…)

In an attempt to generate extra revenue for Burbank’s cash-strapped transit programs, the City Council has signed off on a plan to plaster buses with advertisements.

The City Council last week directed officials to draft a two-year contract with mobile advertising services firm Titan Outdoors, just weeks after voting to pursue a ban on mobile advertising vehicles, which in recent months came in the form of brightly colored roving vans that were advertising topless maid and massage services.

The vans caused a stir among local residents and city officials who called them eyesores, prompting the planned crackdown. Considering that the City Council, though, appeared ready to cover city buses with ads just weeks later struck some residents last week as hypocritical.

“We have an issue with someone who owns their own vehicle doing it, but as long as were making a profit, we’ll put it on our vehicles?” David Piroli said. “Do we think it should be on the street or don’t we?”

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Mayor Dave Golonski said the advertising vans were “particularly obnoxious” because they were parked, not because of the content.

“They’re taking up parking spaces, so we are losing valuable parking, essentially to provide an advertising space for a business,” Golonski said.

But Councilman David Gordon — the lone vote of dissent for the city bus proposal — said he felt the action could expose the city to litigation, particularly given its stance on the roving van ads.

“Should it turn out, for example, that we were to move ahead with this and our BurbankBus makes a significant revenue stream for the city, and yet we’ve legislated that other people that are trying to make a living on their vehicles are not allowed to do it in the city…I don’t think that’s necessarily a fair thing,” Gordon said.

With regards to potential litigation, Golonski assured the council and audience members that the ad van ban would be written such a way as to dodge potential lawsuits.

“I’m sure our city attorney will craft an agreement that keeps us out of litigation,” Golonski said. “I think this is foolish to turn down this potential opportunity.”

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