Feb 16, 2024 - News

Who paid for the city re-elect billboards? The billboard company

Billboards for Stephen Whitburn and Todd Gloria

Billboards for City Council member Stephen Whitburn and Mayor Todd Gloria. Photos: Andrew Keatts/Axios

Perhaps the most interesting part of billboards promoting the re-election campaigns of City Council member Stephen Whitburn and Mayor Todd Gloria is in the small print disclosing who paid for them.

The intrigue: Outfront Media, Inc., which owns the billboards, also paid for the messages supporting Gloria and Whitburn.

  • Also notable about Whitburn's billboard: It's at Midway Drive and West Point Loma Boulevard — not in District 3, which Whitburn represents.

What they're saying: Not much.

  • Three spokespeople for Outfront Media did not respond to requests for comment on the company's interest in city government, and they haven't disclosed any lobbying contacts with city officials.
  • But the company did disclose its spending for Gloria and Whitburn in three campaign filings this month, stating the billboards would remain until Election Day on March 5.

By the numbers: Gloria's billboards cost $24,820 and Whitburn's cost $15,800, per Outfront's disclosures.

Between the lines: Outfront couldn't have made donations of that size directly to Gloria or Whitburn's re-election committees.

  • The city's ethics ordinance bars candidates from taking donations from businesses and sets contribution limits for individuals at $750 for City Council and $1,350 for mayoral candidates.

Zoom out: The billboard and outdoor advertising industry in which Outfront operates is heavily regulated.

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