Monday, February 16, 2009

12South Leader Encourages Citizens to Demand Dissolution of the Council's LED Task Force

With the prospect of Charlie Tygard's LED sign bill coming out of the LED Task Force and back on to the floor of Metro Council, Treasurer of the 12South Neighborhood Association Ken Winter pens an editorial for the District 17 e-mail list describing problems that mar the committee's legitimacy:
In response to the Council’s request, the Vice Mayor appointed the Sign Ordinance Task Force, which has met for several months to discuss revisions to the Sign Ordinance.

The membership of the committee did not reflect a balanced and potentially fruitful collaboration between, on the one hand, legitimate business and public users of signs and, on the other, authentic representatives of beautification and safety interests.

The Vice Mayor’s appointees included instead, as co-chair and members respectively, an attorney in the employ of a national sign purveyor and other known spokespersons of the sign industry.

The sign industries and representatives had a clear and substantial financial interest in the outcome of the committee’s deliberations.

The committee, influenced primarily by sign company representatives, restricted its deliberations to the single issue of static LED signs.

The Committee did not substantively discuss or investigate the successes many communities across the nation have had in controlling obtrusive and other deleterious signage while promoting an innovative, productive and contextual advertising.
Winter also argues that a new more representative task force should take the place of this one.

The most disappointing aspect of this task force is that no progress past Charlie Tygard's industry-friendly solutions has been made. My own hopes that the presence of progressive Council Member Megan Barry might afford some balance have been dashed, because from what I have seen so far, the formulations have excluded the voices of LED opponents. I agree with Ken that this LED Task Force has too many vested financial interests and it is an abject failure in coming to a broad consensus that reflects the interests of the whole Nashville community. I am not sure that we can afford to wait for help from many council members. If Megan Barry (at-Large) could not make a difference, then what member will?

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