Giant Ad on City Building Promotes Drinking: Officials

Officials are divided over whether the mural ad should be hanging from the city building

By Steve Litz
|  Thursday, Dec 8, 2011  |  Updated 7:43 PM EDT
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The giant Heineken mural advertisement hangs on the side of the Miami Riverside Center, the city’s administration building in downtown Miami.

The giant Heineken mural advertisement hangs on the side of the Miami Riverside Center, the city’s administration building in downtown Miami.

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Should be a giant beer advertisement be plastered on the city of Miami’s main administration building?

Commissioner Francis Suarez doesn't think so.

"It bothers me that I get complaints about it. One was from my mother, so I don't think it's necessarily the right message for the city," said Suarez.

The giant Heineken mural advertisement hangs on the side of the Miami Riverside Center, the city’s administration building in downtown Miami.

Mayor Tomas Regalado told NBC Miami that the sign generates about $10,000 per month for city coffers, and he said the city desperately needs the money.

“The city of Miami is trying to keep services running. So, if we have to sacrifice the façade of a city building to keep services running, so be it,” Regalado said.

Commissioner Marc Sarnoff disagrees.

"All ads there are worth 10 grand a month. You could put an Apple ad there. It will be worth 10 grand a month," Sarnoff said.

There is an Apple advertisement for an iPad 2 on one of the county buildings in downtown. There are also other booze advertisements on other buildings but those are not owned by the taxpayers.
 
Many think it’s not appropriate for the city to be promoting beer. Peter Erlich with Scenic Miami, a group that fights visual pollution, thinks the mural ad and dozens of other billboards take away from Miami’s beauty.

"We’d like the tourists and residents to look at our scenery and our iconic buildings, our trees, the palm trees. We’d rather have them not look at any ads," he said.

The sign doesn’t violate any city ordinances, but Erlich says it’s likely in violation of a state law because it’s so close to an interstate highway.

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