The Spirit of Somerville

A Memoir ™Written By Eugene C. Brune, Mayor Emeritus


Changing The Face Of Somerville

In 1977 The Somerville Board of Aldermen passed a strict ordinance stating that all billboards not in compliance must be taken down within a five year grace period. The major owner of billboards in the city was Ackerly Communications. In my promise to change the face of our city as well as our image I was pleased in 1982 to notify  all the billboard companies that they must begin taking down their billboards. Ackerly had the most to lose and they held firm.

In 1983 we took Ackerly to court, and the battle began. I stated in a court affidavit that it was virtually impossible to drive from one part of the city to another without confronting a 300 square foot message selling alcohol or cigarettes, implying that Somerville is some sort of cheap strip development, rather than a city of strong residential neighborhoods.  Read how we didn't win the big war but the city looks far better off today because of the battle the city put up and the large amount of billboards that did come down.