Before: Evil city trees blocking view of billboards
In Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires, they ban billboards. In America? They pass laws to chop down trees that might block their view. In Florida, they passed a law in 2006 that gave billboards guaranteed views. One Osceola, Florida legislator said "Those billboards are important, they feed lots of families,This is a tourism corridor. Tourism depends on billboards, not on trees."
After: Evil Trees removed in accordance with Florida law
Billboard King Clear Channel backs him up, arguing in favor of chopping down some trees in Osceola County: "The billboards were there first, and the trees started popping up, and they were done so in a way that they would block the view of the billboard," said Craig Swygert of Orlando's Clear Channel office. "It's like, 'Hey, we're going to give you a permit to be in business, but then we're going to take it away after you've already invested all this money.'"
He won, and sixteen trees were cut down. To preserve views to billboards.
It is happening all over, too. According to NPR, "The issue of billboard companies seeking to cut down public trees is something that's happening all over the country," says Bill Jonson, who serves on the board of the advocacy group Scenic America.
Jonson calls this industry lobbying effort inappropriate — "because they're public trees" — but it has been effective. Several states now have laws that give billboards precedence over beautification projects, and those laws often leave local communities powerless to save their trees. ::NPR via Planetizen
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