Billboards Of The Future: The Streets?

New York City's proposed street vendor laws could clean up the streets -– to make more room for city-endorsed advertising.
January 4, 2004, 11am PST | David Gest
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Politicians in New York City are all "furiously promoting the creation of new vending laws that would severely restrict the rights of street artists, newspaper publishers and disabled veteran vendors." Some believe that "vendors are destroying business, congesting the streets and threatening public safety...At stake are public spaces and the right to freedom of speech. If the city succeeds in passing the new vending laws, it won’t just affect vendors; the media may also lose its time-honored right to sell newspapers on public property free from censorship or control." The one major exception is for Business Improvement Districts, or BIDs. New street furniture in BIDs would not only congest streets, but would include major advertising for Clear Channel Communications -- in other words, giving the company a monopoly over street advertising. "Is there a clearer violation of free speech and freedom of the press than to let BID directors decide which newspapers can be given away or sold on public property within their districts?"

Thanks to David Gest

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Published on Tuesday, December 30, 2003 in New York Press
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