Billboard Companies and WeHo Vendors Are Major Donors to Duran’s Supervisor Campaign

Billboard companies, for which West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip is a major source of revenue, and one of the city’s largest vendors are major donors to City Councilmember John Duran’s campaign for L.A County Supervisor.

An Ace billboard at 8906 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood
An Ace billboard at 8906 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood

An analysis of campaign donations by CityWatchLA notes that Duran has received $34,500 from billboard companies. Duran is one of eight candidates for the 3rd District seat, now held by Zev Yaroslavsky, and is widely considered one of the three top contenders.

Duran received $20,000 from Ace Outdoor Advertising, $10,000 from Regency Outdoor, $2,000 from Total Outdoor and $1,000 from Branded Cities according to the CityWatch report. Duran also accepted a donation of $1,000 from J. Keith Stephens, owner of LA Outdoor Advertising, one of several parties in a lawsuit alleging violations of signage laws of the City of Los Angeles. Ace, which owns three major billboards on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, was a major supporter of Duran in his race for re-election in 2011 to the West Hollywood City Council. It donated $10,000 to the Friends of West Hollywood Committee to Elect John Duran and the company and its executives donated another $3,000 directly to the Duran City Council campaign. Regency Outdoor donated $13,000 to the “Friends” committee for Duran last year.

Neither Sheila Kuehl nor Bobby Shriver, the other leading candidates in the supervisor race, received donations from billboard companies according to CityWatchLA. However it noted that Los Angeles County’s campaign contribution reporting system, widely criticized for making it difficult for the public to get access to contribution records, makes available online only reports of so-called “late contributions.” Those are contributions of more than $1,000 made within 16 days of an election.

Those records that are available online show that Duran’s contributors include city vendors and developers that need the City Council’s approval of their projects. Among the largest of those is Arakelian Enterprises, owner of Athens Services, which West Hollywood pays $918,000 a year for trash pickup services. Athens also has what is, in effect, a franchise to pick up trash from apartment buildings in West Hollywood, whose owners are required to pay it for that service. Various members of the Arakelian family have donated a total of $13,500 to the Duran campaign for supervisor according to records currently available.

Council members Duran and Jeffrey Prang and Mayor John D’Amico have been staunch opponents of proposals by John  Heilman that would limit the influence of lobbyists for private companies who also raise campaign funds for council members. Also, when Athens last year asked the Council to extend its contract for 15 years without putting it out to bid, D’Amico, Duran and Prang voted to ask the city to analyze Athens’ proposal rather than put the contract out to bid, which Heilman and Councilmember Abbe Land argued might result in a lower bid from a competitor. Athens’ current contract with the city expires in 2016.

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Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
9 years ago

Possible correction: I happened to be at the City Council meeting where the Athens contract renewal was on the agenda. Only Duran and D’Amico voted “Yes” to extend the Athens contract without looking at other bids and Heilman and Land voted against it. Realizing that he was the swing vote on a multi million dollar contract, Jeffrey Prang announced to a stunned room that he was too tired to make an informed decision and abstained, thereby enabling continued contributions to council members from some of their biggest sugar daddies for years to come. Did he change his vote on this… Read more »

Henry 'Hank' Scott
9 years ago
Reply to  Rudolf Martin

Rudolf: Prang abstained at the Council’s July 16, 2012 meeting when this was discussed. However he voted with D’Amico and Duran at the Council’s May 6, 2013 meeting to ask that the Athens contract extension be analyzed rather than having it put out to bid.

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
9 years ago

good, so he had some time to sleep on it.

Shawn Thompson
9 years ago

Is democracy the idea of one person, one voice one vote? Should a billboard company have a bigger voice in the election than the citizens? Does a $34000 campaign contribution come with any strings if the candidate wins? Now that a judge blocked the use of the “electric billboards” and turned them all off, do the billboard companies want friends in high places to get their money makers turned back on?

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