Pilot’s arrest escalates Oahu aerial ads battle
HONOLULU — A pilot has been arrested for flying an advertising banner over Oahu, escalating a dispute between the city fighting against the practice and a company that insists it has legal authority to do so.
Advertising company Aerial Banner North maintains that laws governing the skies are the purview of the Federal Aviation Administration. But Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration says the company is violating the city’s ordinance against aerial advertising.
A letter from the FAA supports the city’s position, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. The company does have a waiver allowing it to fly banners in various states including Hawaii, but the waiver doesn’t pre-empt local ordinances, said the letter to Caldwell from FAA Acting Chief Counsel Patricia McNall.
Waianae resident Matthew Radeck, 55, was arrested Monday after flying a banner saying “Advertising Isn’t Just for Politicians” over parts of the island. He was charged with violating the city’s aerial advertising prohibition. He was cited by police earlier this month for the same offense when he flew a different banner.
Radeck was released after posting $100 bail, pending an Aug. 26 court date. He’s scheduled to appear in Honolulu District Court on Aug. 5 for the earlier offense.
Aerial Banners North attorney Michael McAllister said the company will pay to defend Radeck, an independent contractor hired by the company.
“The law allows for citation or arrest,” said Honolulu police spokeswoman Michelle Yu when asked why the pilot was arrested instead of issued a citation. “In this instance, the same individual had been cited for the same infraction earlier.”
The company received a violation last week for an aerial banner that read, “Can’t We All Just Get Along?” McAllister said.
Monday’s banner alluded to hypocrisy of allowing politicians to post unsightly street-level signs while campaigning, McAllister said.
The Outdoor Circle has vowed to take the company to court if necessary. The environmental organization fought successfully to keep Hawaii free from billboards.
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com