Regarding “Sticker shock: HCAOG surprised by billboard removal costs” (Times-Standard, Nov. 23, Page A1), what is truly shocking, beyond the absurd price quoted for their removal, is the staggering audacity and insolence of this giant corporation in claiming that “the proposed removals violate constitutional statutes against illegal takings, and that neither Caltrans nor the commission have the authority to implement such a condition.”
In reality, CBS Outdoor, Inc. (a division of the media conglomerate CBS Corporation) has for decades been profiting from these billboards' visual pollution at the expense of public trust resources.
Readers may like to know that the roots of the Public Trust Doctrine as applied in U.S. courts (which saved Mono Lake from destruction by the L.A. Department of Water & Power) go all the way back to Roman law, which was subsequently incorporated into English Common Law and eventually ours, and state that “there are three things common to all mankind: air, running water, and the sea (including the shores of the sea). Title to these essential resources or the common are held by the state, as sovereign, in trust for the people. The purpose of the trust is to preserve resources in a manner that makes them available to the public for certain public uses.” Google it.
Here is abundant fertile ground for countering this ugly giant corporation's assertions of its supposed “right” to continue polluting the previously pristine vistas of Arcata Bay upon which their billboards intrude.
Steve Catton, Arcata
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