September 20, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Mayor Calls For Review Of BBB’s Advertisement Policy:

A Big Blue Bus (BBB) advertising practice has come under the City Council’s microscope as Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom introduced a motion Tuesday to review the public transportation entity’s long-standing but only recently enforced policy of not allowing non-commercial advertisements on its buses.

The motion and proposed city staff direction was brought after AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) protested the BBB practice. According to the group, for the past five years it had purchased from BBB advertisement space to promote its annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles event.

Craig E. Thompson, APLA’s executive director, stated prior to the council meeting that the BBB practice harms non-profit organizations.

Bloom pointed out the BBB had a long-standing practice to allow only commercial advertising on its buses yet the public transportation entity’s management “had been allowing both commercial and non-commercial advertising.”

With his motion, Bloom hoped to “maintain the status quo” where BBB permitted both commercial and non-commercial advertising on buses despite a policy that has been in effect since 2000 that limited such advertisements to commercial entities.

City Manager Rod Gould pointed out the allowance of non-commercial advertising on the BBB in recent years – which is the “status quo” Bloom hoped to maintain – was a failure of administration.

Still, the portion of Bloom’s motion requesting his colleagues to direct city staff “to review Big Blue Bus policies regarding advertising on its vehicles … (and) return to Council with information, alternatives and recommendations” was unanimously approved.

A motion directing city staff to adopt an interim policy allowing any non-commercial advertising until city staff returns to the dais with its review of the BBB procedure was defeated 4 to 3, with Council members Bobby Shriver, Pam O’Connor, Bob Holbrook, and Kevin McKeown voting against.

Before the votes, City Attorney Marsha Jones Moutrie said the city could certainly adopt a policy allowing any non-profit to advertise on Santa Monica buses.

“The current policy of the Big Blue Bus was not adopted to harm AIDS Walk LA. But it was adopted out of the recognition the court decisions on the First Amendment do not allow us, once we open a forum, to distinguish based on message content,” Moutrie said.

The city attorney added there is an unfortunate legal distinction that does allow for discrimination between non-profits as a class and commercial entities.

Moutrie advised the council of what, exactly, constitutes commercial speech, which is one that “proposes a commercial transaction and that’s its predominant purpose.” Accordingly, a non-commercial advertisement is one where the advertisement’s primary purpose is to raise funds for a non-profit or some other message where a direct commercial transaction is not the organization’s primary purpose.

During public comment, about a half dozen speakers urged council members to allow AIDS Walk LA to be allowed to advertise on BBB.

Phil Curtis, the government affairs director of APLA, said the distinction between commercial and non-commercial advertising places “non-profits and charities in Santa Monica and elsewhere … at a distinct disadvantage.”

“The bus ads are a key element in raising participation in AIDS Walk Los Angeles and eliminating them can only reduce participation and diminish our capacity to fight the epidemic,” Curtis added.

West Hollywood Council member John Duran said while he understands the public safety concern of non-commercial advertisements and its potential to draw unique attention to potentially contentious issues, it is equally important for city officials to protect First Amendment rights.

“We can survive these sort issues as communities,” Duran said.

AIDS Walk LA had hoped to advertise on the BBB in time for its signature event, which is scheduled to take place Oct. 14.

The issue will be revisited again when city staff returns to council as directed.

in News
Related Posts

4.6 Quake Felt in Santa Monica

September 19, 2020

September 19, 2020

4.6 magnitude quake recorded Friday night By Sam Catanzaro A 4.6 magnitude earthquake struck the San Gabriel Valley Friday sending...

Edify TV: Miramar Santa Monica Redevelopment

September 18, 2020

September 18, 2020

The Santa Monica skyline may look different in the future with a major redevelopment of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel &...

‘Fresh Prince Of Bel Air’ Mansion For Rent On AirBnb

September 18, 2020

September 18, 2020

Today on Westside Cribz, 30th anniversary of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” Airbnb is renting out the mansion for...

SMMUSD Kindergarten Enrollment Down 20% : Santa Monica Beat – September, 17, 2020

September 17, 2020

September 17, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * SMMUSD Kindergarten Enrollment Down 20% * As Covid-19 Cases Drop Will...

Edify TV: Sit-down Dining Safety?

September 17, 2020

September 17, 2020

Despite a recent CDC report stating the risks of in-person dining, many Westside restaurant patrons feel the experience is safe....

Sur La Table Closing Santa Monica Location

September 16, 2020

September 16, 2020

1930s building listed for lease By Sam Catanzaro Sur La Table, the popular kitchenware retail chain, is closing its downtown...

Death by Suicide at Santa Monica Place

September 16, 2020

September 16, 2020

Man dies by suicide Wednesday morning By Sam Catanzaro A man died by suicide at Santa Monica Place mall Wednesday....

Santa Monica Partners With Local Elementary Schools to Provide More Outdoor Spaces

September 16, 2020

September 16, 2020

Playground Partnership agreement goes live By Toi Creel The City of Santa Monica and local schools are working together to...

Charges Filed Against Man for Sexually Assaulting Elderly Victims

September 16, 2020

September 16, 2020

Juan Victor Mendoza faces four felony charges Prosecutors have filed charges against a man for sexually assaulting elderly victims at...

COVID-19 Continues to Decrease in County but Air Quality Reducing Testing

September 15, 2020

September 15, 2020

Smoke advisory in effect through Wednesday By Sam Catanzaro While COVID-19 cases continue to decrease in Los Angeles County, health...

Edify TV: Westsiders Working out Amid Poor Air Quality

September 15, 2020

September 15, 2020

With poor air quality due to wildfire smoke, local health officials are urging the public to avoid outdoor activity but...

COVID-19 Could Have Been in Area as Early as Last December

September 15, 2020

September 15, 2020

UCLA study reports significant increase in coughs and acute respiratory failure prior to first official cases of COVID-19 By Sam...

Willy California Wants Men to Rethink Their Closet

September 15, 2020

September 15, 2020

Local clothing line reimagines athleisure By Toi Creel With ranges in styles for men’s clothing from suits and professional clothing...

Police Searching For Robbery Suspects: Santa Monica Beat – September, 14, 2020

September 14, 2020

September 14, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Police Searching For Robbery Suspects * Should School Board Representatives Have...