Recently, a total of five billboards advertising sexually related businesses have appearedThe most recent of the full sized billboards advertising the above "Passion Adult Boutique" was placed within 300 feet of the north end of the Estes Elementary playground in full view of the children. Ironically, this billboard replaced one encouraging the kids to "stay in school and soar to new heights" with a photo of a jet airplane pilot. From the school crosswalk that leads from the elementary to middle school parking lots another (GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS Full Bar) billboard advertising a topless bar can be seen looking straight ahead. On the back of that billboard is another for the adult bookstore. Directly south of that billboard, the next three of four are all for the same two businesses totaling five such advertisements within less than half a mile of two schools. Unfortunately, our kids are subjected to every single one of them as bus riders pass all of them on their way to and from school. Those that don't ride the bus can still view three of the five from various points on school grounds.
Melanie Bullock has spoken to Mike Heedy at ADOT Billboard Permitting about the situation. He informed her that the billboards were properly permitted and are also legal as they contain no graphics or suggestive sexually suggestive text. Mr. Heedy was very helpful and explained that there are currently no regulations in place prohibiting such advertising near schools. He offered to contact John Cocker at the locally owned company that owns all five billboards (Jones Outdoor Advertising) to see if there was a possibility of some compromise. Melanie also spoke to Mr. Cocker who informed her that there was no possibility of moving the billboards as there aren't another five that are vacant. He said the billboards were intentionally designed as text only to be vague and tasteful. While we do appreciate their lack of graphics, their location is still very concerning and disturbing as they are still advertising adult services and alcohol to children and have already started conversation amongst many of the children ages pre-k thru eight grade. He did mention that there may be a possibility of moving them further north on the freeway in a less incorporated area but the billboard structures themselves are still in the planning and pre-construction phase and are dependent upon the completion of nearby railroad construction. When asked about a time frame, he said he was unable to give an accurate estimate but would guess no sooner than the end of the year.
Mayor Ed Honea and Dr. Doug Wilson, the Superintendent of the Marana Unified School District, are supportive of our efforts to get the signs removed and to get legislation going on a state level to prevent this from happening to any other municipality or school district in Arizona. Mayor Honea is discussing this issue with individual lawmakers and other city leaders. Dr. Wilson has also contacted lawmakers as well in regards to this issue. Other administrators, teachers, parents, and citizens have been sending emails as well.
What you as a concerned parent or citizen can do to help:
1. Call or contact Jones Outdoor Advertising and ask that they remove the adult business signs that are within a mile of the schools in Marana.
You can reach them at 520-749-1307. The owner's name is John Cocker.
You can contact them online here.
You can write to them at:
Jones Outdoor Advertising
10657 E. Old Vail Connection Road.
Tucson, AZ 85747
2. Email or call State Senators and Representatives representing our area explaining our situation and asking them TO PUSH FOR AN AMENDMENT OR LEGISLATION THAT WILL PREVENT ANY ADULT BUSINESS ILLEGAL TO CHILDREN FROM ADVERTISING WITHIN A 1 MILE RADIUS OF A SCHOOL, CHURCH, OR CHILD CARE FACILITY.
This is particularly important because we want to prevent anything like this from happening to not only our school district but to any other school district in the state of Arizona. Four of five signs are positioned on the dividing line of both District 25 and District 26. For this reason, we ask you to contact all six leaders if possible. You can write one basic email, copy and paste it into emails for the others.
Senator Gail Griffin
Phone Number: (602) 926-5895
Email Address: email@example.com
Senator Al Melvin
Phone Number: (602) 926-4326
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Terri Proud
Phone Number: (602) 926-3398
Email Address: email@example.com
Representative Vic Williams
Phone Number: (602) 926-5839
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative David Stevens
Phone Number: (602) 926-4321
Email Address: email@example.com
Representative Peggy Judd
Phone Number: (602) 926-5836
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Please forward this website to all your family, friends, and neighbors in Arizona urging them to take action as well.
Thank you for taking a stand to help protect and defend Arizona's children and schools.