That Looks Ex-Spence-ive

Yesterday, while doing some errands and my regular running around I noticed a lot of billboards for Robert Spence (D candidate TNS-30). When I say a lot, I mean at least 12, (Clear Channel calls them 30 sheet) billboards and six or so MATA kiosk ads just drivng around Midtown and in the Getwell/Park area. So, last night, I decided to see just how much all of that might cost.

With quantity discount breaks, 12 – 30 sheet billboards and 6-Transit Kiosks runs right around $15,000 before you add in production costs (printing etc.). That’s not really a lot of money if you’re putting together a comprehensive marketing campaign and have little time to do it, but when you consider that those are just the one’s that I found, and that there are probably many more, the price gets up there.

As anyone who’s read Spence’s financial disclosure forms from his unsuccessful School Board run knows, he’s not afraid to spend some money. $100K to come in third place in a school board race is a lot of scratch to be throwing around.

If you’ve read The Freedonian’s post on Spence then you already know he has a connection to Clear Channel. From the comments:

It appears that Spence represents Clear Channel in lawsuits filed AGAINST Adworks and William Thomas.

– Anonymous

That begs a couple of questions;

1. What does a guy, who represents the largest billboard company in Memphis, and is running for public office, have to pay for the use of their billboards? Does he get a “buddy” discount? Is this a service for fee situation? We won’t find out about expenditures until after the primary (filing date for the state financial disclosure is April 11th).

2. The billboard business has a lot of legal dealings with the city, with the billboard moratorium and the Clear Channel contract with MATA, which is a hairs breath from shutting down in the face of budget over-runs. What does Clear Channel stand to gain from such representation in the Senate?

Memphis is a place that has more backdoor dealings than a gay dance club in the 80’s. In order to remove any question of ethical malaise, or downright corruption, Mr. Spence should disclose his spending with Clear Channel in advance of the January 25th primary election. If you have nothing to hide, why not show it?

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