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05/06/04: Mayor Gavin Newsom appears at the pedestal news rack launch. Any controversy over Clear Channel's control of city news racks was overshadowed by intense media interest in the shooting death of a suspect by police in the Western Addition the evening prior to the event at Market and Powell.

On May 6, 2004, San Francisco unveiled the first of the 1,000 pedestal-mounted news racks which will eventually replace thousands of battered freestanding news racks on City sidewalks. The News Rack Ordinance was amended in 1998 to allow the fixed pedestal racks in designated News Rack Zones in the Financial District, Market Street, and Union Square. "Broken and vandalized news racks that are left unattended on City streets contribute to a feeling of neglect" said Ed Lee, Director of Public Works. From 1997-2004, the City seized more than 3,500 freestanding racks, calling them a blight. Some publishers had sued unsuccessfully to stop the installation of the racks, which will be "administered" by notorious Texas-based censor and media domineer Clear Channel. Lee said the program, "provides a sense of uniformity and order in what was once a chaotic environment." No doubt.

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Copyright 2004 Hank Donat
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