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Billboard haters call ad 'porn'

Vandalism led to sign's removal
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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An Auburn billboard of a bikini-clad woman was covered up with a black sign declaring, “NO PORN IN OUR TOWN” Wednesday. The California Sun advertisement, located off of Grass Valley Highway just past Bell Road, featured a model from Reno, Nev. posing in a white bikini and cowboy boots at Folsom Lake. It was one of three in Auburn, according to California Sun owner Mike Blore. Blore also said that no one has taken credit for the billboard bagging or been identified as a suspect. Several Auburn residents had mixed reactions to the advertisement, while Blore defended its tastefulness. Hugo De Biasi, owns Family Hairstyles, located in the same shopping center as the billboard. He attributes the act to extremists. “I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know if it’s pornographic, but I am an ex-cop and I don’t like to see crime or vandalism in the town. Pornography affects women and children, and that is the sad thing about pornography,” De Biasi said. “I’ve been here 30 years and I have never seen an ad with someone in bikini. It has always been Taco Bell or something. It could be an extreme person affected by that.” Kirstie Cederloff, 16 of Auburn, lives nearby. She said she saw the sign both before and after the vandalism. “I think they are making a bigger deal about it than it is,” Cederloff said. “Maybe if they didn’t put it so close to where families are it would have been better, but it isn’t as bad as they make it seem. It’s not a porn.” Alysia McMahon, 27 of Auburn, also takes the Grass Valley Highway on a daily basis. “I drive by every day and never even noticed it,” McMahon said. “They shouldn’t go in public if they can’t handle that.” Joann McDevitt, who is visiting Auburn from Lapine, Ore., said the sign-activists overreacted. “I don’t think it’s porn. If she is just in a bikini, come on,” McDevitt said. “Sounds like there are a lot of old prudes in Auburn.” Blore said the ad was reviewed and approved by several people, including CBS, which owns the billboards. The same ad has run in Sacramento for six weeks without any complaints, according to Blore. Nobody contacted California Sun Centers asking them to take it down, but several people have called to offer their approval of the ad, according to Blore. “The support has been absolutely overwhelming. Here we run a local girl and a local place. Watching TV you run across worse things like Viagra commercials,” Blore said. “What is hard to explain with a confident, well-clad woman on a billboard?” The sign was replaced with an ad for the SPCA by Wednesday afternoon. In removing the sign Blore claims CBS violated its contract, which said a billboard could be removed if there were negative calls about it. Blore said when he called his sales representative from CBS Wednesday not one negative call had been received yet. CBS was unavailable to comment about the billboard or its removal at press time. Blore said he links the act to the feelings of a single individual or small group, not Auburn as a whole. The advertisement was no worse than what people see advertised elsewhere, Blore said. “People who walk through the mall are going to see ten times more inappropriate things than what was displayed on the billboard.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.