Judge rules on Oakland ad ordinance

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A U.S. District judge in San Francisco delivered bad news to friends and foes of an Oakland, Calif., ordinance limiting liquor advertising, saying studies presented to the City Council, together with common sense, provide sufficient proof that alcohol ads cause underage drinking to allow Oakland to limit the ads. However, Judge Fern M. Smith also ruled the city must still prove other, less speech-restrictive alternatives wouldn't work. In a 25-page ruling made public regarding a lawsuit by outdoor ad companies opposing the ordinance, the judge rejected the city's request for a summary order upholding the law, but also rejected outdoor companies' request that the city be forced to show alcohol ads cause underage drinking. The ordinance took effect June 7 and bans signs within 1,000 feet of a school or daycare center.

Copyright January 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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