Thursday, January 19, 2012

Verizon Center Jumbotron Hearing: CANCELED

Many thanks to a helpful tipster, who forwarded this email from Councilmember Jack Evans' Legislative Aide.  It confirms that the Jumbotron hearing scheduled for next Monday has been canceled:
I am responding on behalf of Councilmember Evans.
Thank you for your email and sharing your thoughts on this issue.  The Councilmember will keep your comments in mind should this bill come before the full council for review.  I encourage you to share your thoughts with Councilmember Alexander and the members of the Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs, if you have not done so already.
Additionally, the hearing on this bill was scheduled for Monday, January 23rd @ 2:00 p.m. in room 412 of the John A. Wilson Building is now CANCELED.  However, I encourage to contact Melanie Williamson, Legislative Counsel for Committee on Public Services Consumer Affairs (202) 741-2112 or via email at to share your thoughts. 
We've followed up with Councilmember Evans' office to see if they plan on rescheduling.

You can see the Downtown Neighborhood Association's release after the jump:
Downtown Neighborhood Association


Your community activism is effective!

The hearing for the Verizon Jumbotron Billboard Act (officially known as Bill B19-517, "The Verizon Center Graphics and Entertainment Act of 2011"), has been canceled until further notice.
Overwhelming Response

As a recap, Councilmember Yvette Alexander introduced a bill that would allow the Verizon Center to install up to nine lighted and animated exterior jumbotron billboards of any size and at anylocation on the Verizon Center, and exempt these billboards from the regulations that apply to all other billboards in the city. This was despite the struggle to regulate and control billboards in the District that has been going on since 1931, and most recently last year. There's an ongoing effort to see that we have a reasonable, consistent, equitable, comprehensive, and citywide policy.  There are also some who continue to look for (or create) loopholes to meet their specific, personal needs, regardless of the concerns of the community.

This bad legislation is opposed by a growing number of organizations and individuals that are concerned that this would set a frightening precedent. A community effort was launched just days ago, and the response has been overwhelming. But it's not over yet.   
Next Steps

Keep in mind that the hearing will be rescheduled. Perhaps there will more community dialogue with the Verizon Center, but there are no known formal plans to do so. This is not a time to relax, as it is not over.

ANC 6C, at its next meeting, will take a vote on this proposed bill. We encourage you to show up and voice your concerns. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 8, at 7:00 pm, at the Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue NE. Here you can urge the full ANC to vote to oppose the bill. ANC decisions hold great weight with the city government, so this is an important meeting.

Since the bill has not been withdrawn, you can still stay involved. If you haven't yet, contact individual city council members and voice your concerns. The online petition is no longer active.

We will keep you informed of any new developments, including community meetings, hearings, and, of course, the rescheduled hearing on this bill. Click on the link below to forward this notice to others who need to know about the latest developments.

Downtown Neighborhood Association

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