"Billboards don't kill people, trees kill people"

Thus spoke Tony Adams, Executive Director of the N.C. Outdoor Advertising Association, according to attendees of a long ago NCGA committee meeting. Right now, industry lobbyists, which includes Mr. Adams, are pushing to expand the cuttable area around a sign from the state's 250-foot standard to 375 feet. What's so bizarre about the billboard industry isn't its severe irrationality, but the weird phrases that flit in and out of their tree-targeting press releases and statements.

Take, for example, the written statement quoted in the News and Observer of Betty Waller - billboard lawyer, resident of Cary - to the Department of Transportation:

"NCDOT has demonstrated an unyielding preference for vegetation, and has been unwilling to adopt a vegetation policy equally accomodating to commerce."

An unyielding preference for vegetation? As opposed to what, a realtor profile?

Betty Waller also tried to get North Carolina to stop publishing its Illegal Cutting Inventory, which catalogues every reported violation of the 250-ft cutting rule in the state. Her argument:
Including billboard company names in the document implies billboard operators are engaged in criminal conduct, damages their reputations and prejudices legislators and the public.

Well, yeah. These companies are violating state law. It follows, then, that they are engaged in criminal conduct. Perhaps there is a lawyerly distinction I'm missing here; I doubt it.

Again, to just pull from the N & O article, I'm going to give one more piece of ridiculous billboard propoganda: "An environmentalist should support this bill (in reference to the change in cuttable area)." That would be Tony Adams again. It might be my unyielding preference for vegetation, but I'm pretty positive in this case I have "unyielding preference for vegetation."

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