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April 23
1986 - COC board votes to allow Argentine cliff swallows to nest forever on sides of buildings [story]
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[KHTS] – Santa Clarita City Council members voted 3-1 Tuesday  to put their controversial billboard deal with Metro and Allvision (Metro’s contracted billboard company) on the November ballot.

The options in front of City Council were the result of a referendum drive by Santa Clarita residents who set out to fight the deal in May. A billboard industry lobbying group hired signature gatherers to qualify the referendum, which activists acknowledged they couldn’t have done on their own.

Santa Clarita City Councilman Bob Kellar motioned for the billboard ordinance to be put on the ballot in November, and defended the city’s process behind the deal.

The agreement with Metro calls for the removal of 62 billboards along Railroad Avenue, Bouquet and Soledad Canyon Roads, in exchange for 3 electronic (slide show-type) billboards along the 5 and 14 freeways.

The agreement with Metro calls for the removal of 62 billboards along Railroad Avenue, Bouquet and Soledad Canyon Roads, in exchange for 3 electronic (slide show-type) billboards along the 5 and 14 freeways.

He criticized the paid signature gatherers for putting out faulty information, a claim made by both sides of the billboard debate in Council Chambers on Tuesday.

Mayor Laurene Weste recused herself from the vote because she owns property with value that would be affected by the billboard deal. Councilman TimBen Boydston cast the lone vote against.

The city began a months-long effort to let residents know about the deal, which, originally would have taken down 62 billboards in the city of Santa Clarita – replacing them with three large, two-sided electronic billboards next to Santa Clarita Valley freeways – back in December. The city’s procedure for negotiating the deal was done legally, Kellar said.

“You do not make these negotiations at the dais. That’s why you have closed session and it’s provided for by law,” he said. “There’s no dishonor in a public vote.”

The cost of the election is $208,000, according to city officials.

Los Angeles County officials received more than 18,000 signatures in opposition to the city’s plan to put up the giant electronic billboards in Santa Clarita. Of those, 11,370 were deemed sufficient, which exceeded the 11,170-signature threshold.

A public vote was one of three choices given to city officials as the result of residents’ referendum effort.

The referendum called for Santa Clarita to either repeal the deal with Metro, put the deal to a vote on the ballot or to table the discussion for at least a year before retrying.

Boydston, who’s been an opponent of the billboard deal from early on, criticized the deal and its terms.

“It doesn’t make any sense, you have to go back to the negotiating table,” Boydston said, noting the terms of the deal have changed since residents pushed for the referendum.

“We need to get what we’re paying for, and we won’t be,” Boydston said, adding a city-funded buyout of Edward Outdoor Advertising and its 22 billboards in city limits changed the equation.

Santa Clarita officials began an outreach effort in December to raise awareness about the deal, which has been criticized by opponents of the deal.

Kellar volunteered to write the ballot measure in favor of the measure, a move supported by his fellow council members with a 3-1 vote.

An opposition statement will also be on the ballot, which would be selected at random from all opposition statements submitted by “bona fide” citizen groups.

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