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No religious ads for Manteca bus shelters

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No religious ads for Manteca bus shelters

Bus shelters such as this one on West Yosemite Avenue in front of the Manteca Marketplace may soon have advertising.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin


POSTED February 5, 2013 1:00 a.m.

Manteca is about to enter the advertising business.

But if you want to pay to promote religion, a political candidate or position which includes taking on city governance issues, alcohol or tobacco the city doesn’t want your business.

At least that is what is partially outlined in a transit advertising policy being mulled tonight when the Manteca City Council meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St. The policy will govern advertising panels on 14 bus shelters that are being installed on public sidewalks around Manteca.

The proposed policy also prohibits advertising that is considered false, misleading or deceptive; clearly inflammatory, obscene or pornographic, in advocacy of lawlessness or violent action, display weapons that appear aimed at a viewer in a menacing manner, the sale of unlawful or illegal goods and services, promotes vandalism of advertising materials and associated city property, constitutes an infringement on property rights or copyright or unauthorized endorsements.

The religion prohibition also bans any direct or indirect references to religion and includes not being able to use religious symbols or images such as crosses or the fish-like symbol that depicts Jesus that are used by merchants to proclaim they use Christian values.

The political prohibition covers ballot measures, candidates or advocating positions or opinions that are considered political such as calling for gun control or gun rights.

The city will hire a contractor to sell advertising and place it on the shelters. The city would receive a cut to help offset operating costs for the transit system.

The contractor will be the first to decide if an advertisement meets city criteria. If they question it, then the content is referred to the city’s project manager for transit advertising. And if the advertiser isn’t happy with the outcome they can appeal to the city manager whose decision will be final.

Bus shelters are being placed at the 14 heaviest used locations. They are North at Cottage (Doctors Hospital), Northwoods at Yosemite (Grocery Outlet), Pestana at Yosemite (In-Shape), Spreckels at Norman (Target), Center at Magnolia (Civic Center), Yosemite at Union (Save Mart), Stadium Retail Center, Yosemite at Union (McDonald’s), Main at Mission Ridge (Walmart), The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley, Main at Louise (Walgreens, Main at Louise (La Estrella), Union at Lathrop (Almond Terrace), and Cherry at Eucalyptus (Senior Center). The three Main Street shelters will also serve Regional Transit buses that offer service to Stockton.

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