Rocky and his billboard friends

You've read about the story, now here's the invitation. Tomorrow night's event for City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo was put together, reports David Zahniser in the Times, by Ken Spiker and Associates, the City Hall lobbying firm "that collected nearly $680,000 in city lobbying fees from Clear Channel Outdoor and its sister company, Clear Channel Airports, from 2002 through 2007." Clear Channel is the company putting up all those digital billboards around town, under a deal cut with the pols at City Hall. Spiker says there is no Clear Channel connection to the event and that the firms parted ways in December. But Zahniser reports:

The event is drawing fire from anti-billboard activists, who called the cocktail reception at the Four Seasons Hotel a fawning thank-you to Delgadillo -- and a symbol of the chummy relationships between city politicians, lobbyists and the billboard industry.

"How can he be independent?" asked Dennis Hathaway, a spokesman for the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight. "It calls into question [Delgadillo's] objectivity in acting on behalf of the city on all these lawsuits."

Delgadillo flack Nick Velasquez felt moved to say with a straight face, "Apparently, Mr. Seacrest heard some good things about Rocky and wanted to hold a 'meet and greet' to introduce him to some of his friends."

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