The recent lighting of Jet Blue’s Long Island City nighttime sign represents a refreshing change of attitudes. This good news versus the ongoing crackdown by the NYC Buildings Department with assistance from the NYC Department of City Planning and local Community Planning Boards concerning alleged illegal outdoor billboard advertisements including those on buildings which continues to be disappointing. This is sad to those who cherish free speech. Perhaps all have forgotten about the Bill of Rights and First Amendment.
Jet Blue provides several hundred jobs at their Queens Plaza office and thousands more at local airports along with contributing tax revenues. Jet Blue also purchases fuel along with other products and services from local businesses. Jet Blue employees are our neighbors who also pay taxes just like you and I. These revenues support valuable municipal, state and federal services we all count on. Many fellow New Yorkers also own stock in Jet Blue.
If you don’t like the ad, don’t buy the product. Advertisers will get the message. How ironic that those who would defend public display of art work that some might consider pornographic are so quick to censor outdoor advertisers. There are many small business and building owners who struggle to survive due to excessive government regulations, property taxes and rent control. They need income from billboard advertisements to help pay these expenses. Dealing with the Building Department is difficult enough. What’s next, more silly NYC Council legislation forcing all advertisers to first get a permits from the Municipal Arts Society and create the new NYC Department of Visual Arts?
Why no outcry when candidates for public office, every campaign season, litter neighborhoods with thousands of their own posters illegally attached to light posts all around town. Have you ever seen any losing or winning candidate taking down this visual garbage after election day? Public Advocate Bill De Blasio earlier this year paid his fines from the 2009 election campaign. Former NYC Comptroller William Thompson and current NYC Comptroller John Liu each respectively owe several hundred thousand dollars in unpaid fines for illegal campaign posters. What constitutes illegal versus informative advertising should be in the eye of the beholder, not Big Brother!
The Jet Blue sign is a beacon of hope for those riding the No. 7 Flushing subway line. New Yorkers face a current 10 percent unemployment rate not counting another 7 percent of neighbors who have just given up looking for work. Jet Blue is a symbol of economic growth and prosperity. They continue to create hundreds of new jobs locally and thousands more nationally without the assistance of federally funded taxpayers Stimulus dollars. How refreshing!