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Councilman Wants To Allow Advertising On City Owned Buildings, Including City Hall

By Mike Dunn

PHILADEPHIA (CBS) - The soon-to-be City Council President, Darrell Clarke, has proclaimed part of his agenda for the new year: bringing in big bucks by slapping advertisements on city-owned buildings, including rec centers and City Hall.

Darrell Clarke says his proposal for ads on city buildings has one larger goal -- raising new money for the cash-starved government without raising taxes. Clarke points out that other cities like New York and other local authorities like SEPTA have long raised millions through advertising.

"I think its time has come. It's done in virtually every other municipality. It's done in the city of Philadelphia, just not by the City of Philadelphia. And I think it's an opportunity that we need to take," Clarke explained.

Clarke thinks City Hall, with thousands of pedestrians passing through the courtyard daily, would be ideal for advertising as long as there are limits.

"To stand here and say we should wrap (the statue of) Billy Penn, I think would be contrary to what we're attempting to do."

Clarke, who will become Council President in January, will formally introduce the plan next month. He submitted it to council this past week, but for procedural reasons, all bills die at year's end.

Clarke believes the city could raise as much as $10 million a year by allowing extensive advertising. And he admits that erstwhile opponents of outdoor advertising, like the local group SCRUB, are likely to fight this tooth and nail.

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