OAKLAND — Oakland's boycott of Arizona is at the center of discussions over whether the City Council should approve an amendment this evening to a $1 million billboard agreement with Clear Channel Outdoor, which has corporate offices in Phoenix.
The question facing the council involves the complicated structure of multinational corporations and the purpose of the city's boycott of companies with headquarters in Arizona. The boycott followed Arizona's passage of a tough anti-illegal immigration law.
A vote on the amendment was postponed June 1 after council members Jean Quan and Ignacio De La Fuente said they wanted more time to examine Clear Channel Outdoor's operations. De La Fuente said he will make a determination today.
"If the CEO works in Arizona, then I will vote no," De La Fuente said Monday. "We passed a resolution. Either we are going to support the resolutions we pass or not."
For its part, Clear Channel Outdoor said the company and its CEO are based in San Antonio, Texas. Information on California Secretary of State Debra Bowen's website says the company was incorporated in Delaware and has a primary address in San Antonio.
But a March 1 statement listing the company's officers, also on file in Bowen's office, lists a Phoenix address for Ron Cooper, the person named as the company's CEO. As of June 2008, and possibly sooner, the company's website said its "corporate headquarters" were at the same Phoenix address — even though company spokesman Tony Alwin said Clear Channel Outdoor has been based in San Antonio since it was formed.
As for Cooper, Alwin said he is actually president and CEO of Clear Channel Outdoor Americas and that he reports to Mark Mays, Clear Channel Communications' CEO, based in San Antonio. Clear Channel Outdoor's parent company is Clear Channel Communications, and the company has offices throughout the world, including in Oakland.
The May 4 resolution urged the city to refrain to the "extent practicable" from "entering into any new or amended contracts" with companies with headquarters in Arizona.
The billboard deal allows Clear Channel Outdoor to build one new double-sided billboard at the Enterprise rental car lot on 98th Avenue near Oakland International Airport and remodel two existing signs — one along Interstate 580 in West Oakland and another along Interstate 880 at the Coliseum Lexus dealership. The company agreed to pay $1 million to the city's general fund and remove 37 signs elsewhere in the city.
The city administration is seeking a technical amendment to clarify that the city would be entitled to use 50 percent of any unsold space on the sign near the Lexus dealership but would not be entitled to any revenue from resale of that space. Without the change, the deal could be in jeopardy because, according to a city report, Clear Channel Outdoor did not believe the part of the agreement in question was consistent with what had been negotiated before the April 1 vote.
The council meets at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.