Critics: Proposal would allow ads on everything from public buildings to garbage trucks

Billboards in Hawaii? Council bill would allow sponsorship on city property, equipment
Published: Apr. 19, 2017 at 9:16 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 20, 2017 at 10:52 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For decades, Hawaii has banned billboard ads from cluttering the landscape.

But some worry a new City Council bill that would allow public recognition of sponsorship on city property and equipment would open the door to easing billboard laws.

"What we could end up seeing is the sale of advertising on all city property, including ambulances, and fire trucks and garbage trucks. That could all be wrapped with advertising," said Kathy Whitmire, of the Outdoor Circle.

The author of the bill, CouncilwomanKym Pine, said that's not true.

"This bill does not allow large billboards. It does not allow large commercial advertising," Pine said.

What Bill 78 does allow is the city's sale of sponsorships for its facilities, parks and even equipment. The sponsors -- which usually are marked by small bronze plaques or signs -- aim to recognize people for their donations to improve parks and other city projects.

The city administration supports the bill as a source of revenue. They're hoping to sell sponsorships on large projects such as the Neal Blaisdell Center's multi-million dollar renovation.

"Being able to defray some of those costs to maintain the public spaces by seeking sponsors is an incredibly important opportunity," Guy Kaulukukui, Director of the City Department of Enterprise Services said.

The bill is up for a final vote next week. But the Outdoor Circle -- backed by Hawaiian royalty descendant Abigail Kawananakoa -- is considering legal challenges.

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