Skyscrapers and Billboards Most Lobbied Issues in L.A.

Hollywood skyscrapers, billboard advertising laws, and developments by entertainment companies were among the most-lobbied issues at Los Angeles City Hall during the first three months of the year.

According to a report by the Ethics Commission, New York-based developer Millennium Partners and Millennium Partners LA shelled out $480,460 to promote its proposed 4.47-acre skyscraper project in Hollywood, the most spent by any outside company during the year's first quarter. The project would bring 700 condos and luxury hotel rooms to the neighborhood.

Meanwihle, NBCUniversal paid two lobbying firms a total of $331,648 for community
outreach of its $1.6 billion Evolution Plan, which includes upgrades to the company's film production facilities and new office space. The city council approved a development agreement with NBCUniversal in February.

Billboard company CBS Outdoor paid $205,513 to lobbyists to advocate for their interests in outdoor advertising regulation and competitor Clear Channel Outdoor, paid at least $121,451 on lobbyists at City Hall. Both companies were ordered by a Superior Court judge in April to turn off nearly 100 digital billboards that were part of an invalidated 2009 settlement agreement with the city.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa met with a handful of billboard companies, including CBS and Clear Channel, in a closed door meeting last month, the Daily News reported today. But one company, Summit Media was reportedly not invited to the meeting.

Summit, which spent $85,108 in lobbying, brought a lawsuit against the city for only allowing CBS and Clear Channel to convert standard billboards into digital ones. Their case prevailed, prompting a judge to order around 100 signs to go dark earlier this year.

In all, outside groups spent a total of $9.6 million on lobbyist services from January through March. Other top spenders -- developers seeking approval for their projects -- included Tower Lane Properties Inc., Champion Real Estate Co., Target Corp., JMB Realty Corp., and McCormack Baron Salazar.

Lobbyists also raised $189,923 for city elected officials and candidates running for mayor, controller, attorney, and council seats in the March 5 and May 21 city elections, according to the report. Lobbying firms also served as conduits for $50,134 in political contributions.

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