Scenic San Diego’s surveillance questions remain unanswered by EDD Christina Bibler, despite her email promise to address them
At the March 8th Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations committee meeting, City of San Diego Economic Development Director Christina Bibler (left) promised Council Pro Tem Montgomery Steppe that her questions about surveillance ordinance exemptions in relation to the proposed digital kiosks would be answered before the kiosks came to the full council. To our knowledge, no answers have been provided. Furthermore, Director Bibler promised to answer our questions about the kiosks, but to this date, she has not done so. Instead we have received the following by email, with the last response on April 13th, 2023 (over 45 days ago).
6/3/23 - At the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations committee meeting on March 8th 2023, Council President Pro Tem Monica Montgomery Steppe asked what exemption from the City’s surveillance ordinance the kiosks fit into. Staff referred this question to the Deputy City Attorney present, who said questions about surveillance are deferred to the Mayor’s office, or something like that. To which, Montgomery Steppe says “That’s a new one.”
Staffer Christina Bibler then claimed the questions would be answered before it came to full council, including in a staff report, but to our knowledge, these questions have never been answered. View the full video (skip to 1:05:45). For a transcript of the exchange, click Read more.
A compelling argument against digital kiosks from S.D. Planning Commission Chair
In the April 20th Planning Commission meeting, Chairperson William Hofman voiced his common-sense reasoning for voting against the digital kiosks: "I am afraid of the risk from people who may want to challenge our sign ordinance or try to do similar things.
I am not going to support the motion. To me as a planning commissioner … my job is to look at the design, the needs, of not only the downtown area but also the entire city. And I just don’t see the need. I really don’t see the need. I believe that this will not be a substitute for cell phones. Cell phones are far more convenient, you don’t have to walk two blocks to look at it, and a cell phone can do everything that these kiosks will do. I definitely got online because I wanted to see what they looked like. It wasn’t clear in our staff report, really, the visual. These are eight feet tall. There’s digital advertising, which I don’t think is necessary …
It’s not easy for me to ever go against a city sponsored project, I don’t think I ever have …
I just feel overall, for the citizens, that it’s not necessary. And it’ll bring visual clutter downtown, that I believe will cause safety problems. People are going to use it, for sure, but I just think when it gets back to the basics, people are going to use their cell phones. … And I’m concerned about the extra visual clutter I don’t think downtown needs…" View the full video (skip to 2:21:30). Join us in opposing the digital kiosks - make your voice heard at the June 6th City Council meeting.
Cellphone charging is one of the purported benefits of digital kiosks, however, this is not a benefit and can, indeed, be public hazard. From California Coast Credit Union:
Juice jacking is in the news again. It has been around since 2021, but the FBI and FCC are raising awareness again. “Juice jacking” is where bad actors use public chargers to infect smartphones and other devices with malware. This mostly happens in airports, hotels, and shopping centers, so avoid charging your mobile device there.
Tips to help you avoid becoming a juice jacking victim:
Planning commission okays 50 (with an option to add up to 75)
By Sheila Pell
They're a step closer to landing on a sidewalk downtown, but not an inch closer to universal love: dozens of eight-foot-tall digital kiosks that threaten to end the city's historic ban on new outdoor advertising.
The Planning Commission last week voted 4-2 to recommend the San Diego City Council amend its sign ordinance to allow for at least 50 digital advertising and wayfinding kiosks downtown - a project the city calls a "pilot."
It's similar to a plan the port rejected in 2018, and some say San Diego, a pioneer in warding off once-static billboards, has become a target of visual advertisers.
"We're sort of a pristine little gem here. You don't see this kind of thing, you don't see more billboards. There are no digital billboards," said Pamela Wilson, the founder of Scenic San Diego, urging the commission to vote no.
The city attorney's office has repeatedly warned that allowing exceptions to the offsite advertising ban, as the proposal does, could undermine the legal defensibility of the sign regulations.
"How is this different from just blowing up the sign ordinance and putting advertising around our city?" Palmer asked. Read the full article online at SanDiegoReader.com/news/2023/may/02/stringers-sneaking-ads-kiosks-downtown-san-diego/.
Scenic San Diego is an all-volunteer coalition of concerned citizens and organizations who favor strong sign ordinances and oppose billboards and other advertising sign proliferation.