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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Foster: " I hate digital billboards" but ...



ST. PETERSBURG --  Mayor-elect Bill Foster confirmed today he's no fan of adding digital billboards in the city, as proposed by Mayor Rick Baker. The measure, now with the City Council, would essentially allow 10 digital signs in order to have 100 taken down.

Some neighborhood groups oppose it. But Foster doesn't hate it bad enough to publicly try to kill it.

“I’ll just tell you. I hate digital billboards," Foster said Friday, adding he's told Baker his feelings. "That being said, I can see why the mayor negotiated this deal. Because I think he’s getting what, 10-to-1?"

Asking if he would accept the deal anyway, Foster said: "Well yeah, I know the mayor's worked on this for a long time. Whatever the council decides, I'll certainly go with, but I personally find the digital billboards distasteful, especially at night."

Would Foster have introduced it?

No comment.

Foster acknowledged he's keeping a low profile since winning the election in November.

"I don't want there to be any confusion ... the city of St. Pete still has a mayor. He's in charge," Foster said after a meeting with Baker and former mayors. "Reporters have been after me, and I don't run from you, but I say, when I have something that is newsworthy, I'll let you know."

For his part, Baker said he thinks the proposal is good but doesn't feel the need to press the council to pass it in December before he leaves office.

He and former Mayor David Fischer noted they drove the city and talked about the places where signs would go -- largely commercial areas. Fischer, who described himself as "anti-billboard" said he found the proposal acceptable.

David DeCamp, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:19pm]


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