LA County Supervisor Candidate Scoops Up Billboard Company Cash

BILLBOARD POLITICS-John Duran, a candidate for 3rd District Supervisor in next Tuesday’s primary election, has taken $34,500 in contributions from billboard companies, according to publicly filed records. 

Duran, one of eight candidates to succeed outgoing Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, also received a $1,000 donation from a billboard company owner who has been both a plaintiff and defendant in ongoing litigation with the city of Los Angeles over billboards and supergraphic signs the city claims were illegally erected. 

Unlike candidates for the City Council and other city offices, candidates for the County Board and county offices are not required to electronically file campaign finance reports. As a result, the only contributions listed on the county clerk’s website for the 2014 primary are “Late Contributions,” or those over $1,000 that are made within 16 days of the election. State law requires such contributions to be reported within 24 hours of being made. 

According to these reports, Duran, who currently serves as a West Hollywood City Councilman, received $20,000 from Ace Outdoor Advertising, $10,000 from Regency Outdoor, $2,000 from Total Outdoor, and $1,000 from Branded Cities. A report posted on the West Hollywood city website shows Duran getting an additional contribution of $1,500 from Ace Outdoor earlier this year. 

Ace and Regency own prominent billboards on the Sunset Strip (photo:  Regency Outdoor billboard on Sunset) in West Hollywood. Branded Cities maintains at least one large supergraphic sign in the same area, while Total has billboards and wallscapes in Hollywood, downtown and elsewhere. 

J. Keith Stephens, owner of LA Outdoor Advertising who contributed $1,000 to Duran’s campaign, was cited by the City of Los Angeles and later sued for putting up several full-sized billboards along the Harbor Freeway downtown without obtaining any permits. Stephens also sued the city in federal court for the right to keep the billboards, but lost that suit. Stepehens was also named, along with other companies and invidividuals, in a city lawsuit alleging widespread violations of sign laws, primarily relating to unpermitted supergraphic signs. 

Records publicly available do not show any billboard company or related contributions to the other candidates considered frontrunners in the primary campaign, Sheila Kuehl and Bobby Shriver. 

Duran, who has served since 2001 on the West Hollywood City Council, also received $13,000 from Regency Outdoor and $10,000 from Ace Outdoor for his 2013 council re-election campaign, according to city records.


(Dennis Hathaway is the president of Ban Billboard Blight and an occasional contributor to CityWatch. He can be reached at:  






Vol 12 Issue 44

Pub: May 30, 2014