Westmoreland Transit Bans Election, Social Service Messages

By Cholodofsky, Rich | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 25, 2011 | Go to article overview

Westmoreland Transit Bans Election, Social Service Messages


Cholodofsky, Rich, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Political ads and social service messages will no longer ride on Westmoreland County Transit Authority buses.

Authority board members last week enacted a new policy that prohibits all bus advertising that is not for commercial purposes. The move, officials said, is to protect authority against a lawsuit similar to litigation the Port Authority of Allegheny County spent years unsuccessfully trying to defend.

The new policy strictly prohibits all political advertising as well as any social service messages from agencies such as the United Way and the Red Cross. Ads for alcohol and tobacco, along with anything pornographic, are banned.

"I'd rather see us give up that revenue than have to defend a lawsuit," said authority solicitor John O'Connell. "Things like the United Way are important, but once you do that you become a public forum. Then you open yourself up to the Ku Klux Klan or the gun lobby."

The previous advertising policy only banned pornography, alcohol and tobacco, O'Connell said. …

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