He’s not mayor anymore, but Ralph Becker is still fighting against billboard ‘blight’

SALT LAKE CITY — He’s not mayor, however he is not stopping his struggle towards billboards.

Former Salt Lake Metropolis Mayor Ralph Becker has an extended history of conflict with major billboard corporations. And regardless that he is not in workplace, Becker has helped launch a brand new Utah effort to combat what he calls the “proliferation” of what has virtually turn into an “embarrassing blight” on Utah scenery.

Becker and his spouse, Kate Kopischke, have worked collectively to launch Scenic Utah, a state affiliate of the national nonprofit Scenic America, a gaggle “devoted solely to preserving and enhancing the visual character of America’s communities and countryside,” based on its web site.

“We need to battle the visible blight that too typically occurs from just a lack of attentiveness and a scarcity of organized effort to protect the spectacular, visual qualities of both our communities and landscapes,” Becker stated advised the Deseret Information in an interview Thursday, the day earlier than the new group’s official launch.

Friday, Scenic Utah is co-hosting the annual Scenic America Symposium on the Alta Club in downtown Salt Lake Metropolis — a daylong conference with presenters who will give attention to urban planning and public coverage, billboard and sign control, dark sky preservation, and how you can shield scenic byways, based on the occasion’s agenda.

“We are thrilled to be meeting in Utah this yr,” Ryke Longest, chairman of Scenic America’s board of administrators, stated in a ready assertion. “We look ahead to bringing affiliates from everywhere in the nation together to expertise the state’s beautiful natural magnificence and the Salt Lake City’s local character.”

Becker’s beef with billboards dates back many years. He is referred to as them neighborhood blights, deterrents to economic improvement, and causes of scenic panorama degradation, all fueled by what he calls an enormous political influence by the massive firms.

Extra particularly, Becker has had a longstanding battle with Reagan Outside Promoting, Utah’s largest billboard firm.

“With Scenic Utah, we may have a spot for these of us who care concerning the iconic landscapes and byways we’ve, and virtually the embarrassing blight that has overtaken numerous those vistas,” Becker stated.

“We’ll have a place we will manage and counteract a number of the energy Reagan Outside Advertising and these huge corporate lobbyists who pretty much get their means at the legislature and state government.”

Nate Sechrest, basic counsel for Reagan Outside Promoting, declined to touch upon this story when reached Thursday.

Up to now, officials from the company have argued towards billboard restrictions, saying they’re dangerous for enterprise and that the majority residents don’t assume billboards are an issue.

Billboards cropped up as a problem in Becker’s unsuccessful 2015 bid for re-election after Reagan Outside Promoting paid for billboards for all of Becker’s challengers, together with a minimum of 15 for now-Salt Lake…

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