What changed between Anaheim's decision in 1984 to keep its ban against billboards on the freeways and its first step last Tuesday toward lifting the 20-year ban? Mayor Don Roth, for one thing.
He voted against removing the ban in 1984. When he did, he went so far as to declare that it wouldn't come up again as long as he was on the council. Well, the issue not only came up again, but Roth--who now has his eye on a seat on the county Board of Supervisors--voted to repeal the ban enacted 20 years ago as part of a national beautification effort.
The issue was decided on a 3-2 vote, with Councilwoman Miriam Kaywood and Councilman E. Llewellyn Overholt Jr. in the minority, siding with the environment. If Roth and the two members who voted with him continue to ignore the environmental factors that have prompted the city staff to persistently oppose easing the billboard ban on freeways, motorists driving through Anaheim on some sections of the Riverside, Santa Ana and Orange freeways can expect to encounter a billboard every 500 feet. At 55 m.p.h., billboards will be about all they can see of the roadside.
Even more vexing is the possibility that some of those new freeway billboards might have campaign messages--urging people to vote for Don Roth.