FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WILLIAM D. BRINTON RECEIVES NATIONAL MEDAL
FROM THE GARDEN CLUB OF AMERICA
FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION EFFORTS
Minneapolis (May 22, 2016) – William D. Brinton, noted environmental litigator and community advocate in Jacksonville, Florida, has received one of the highest honors bestowed annually by The Garden Club of America (GCA), the Cynthia Pratt Laughlin Medal. The award, presented to Brinton at the GCA’s annual meeting here this evening, is given for outstanding achievement in environmental protection and the maintenance of the quality of life.
Brinton specializes in First Amendment and land use litigation involving billboards and other signage. He consults with local governments and conservation organizations throughout the country on issues involving scenic beauty and on complex sign legislation. The GCA has been dedicated to preserving and enhancing the scenic character of our communities and countryside for a hundred years and views billboard legislation as a significant determinant of quality.
In honoring Brinton, the GCA hailed his “fearless efforts” and “commitment to protecting the beauty of our land,” observing that he is a “nationally recognized persistent foe” of billboards. “He is deeply passionate about making the world a more beautiful place and is willing to give his time and energy to make it happen,” the GCA said.
Brinton’s advocacy against billboards began in 1985, when he participated in a visual pollution study sponsored by the Jacksonville Community Council Inc., a nonpartisan organization studying issues of community importance. The study’s main conclusion was that the city should establish control over the number of billboards. When Jacksonville’s City Council refused to recognize the community council’s recommendations, Brinton organized a referendum to modify the city’s charter to ban new billboard construction and established a program to remove existing billboards. The charter amendment passed by a landslide vote in 1987. Since then, more than 1,000 billboards have been removed from Jacksonville roadways.
Brinton continued his work to counter the outdoor sign industry, traveling throughout the country to advocate for limiting the proliferation of billboards, typically working without charge. “This garnered him national attention and great admiration from those involved, as Brinton is reasonable, calm and courteous, seeks solutions to problems and firmly obtains important concessions while representing the community’s residents,” observed the GCA. In 2014, he filed an amicus brief, pro bono, in federal appellate court in the District of Columbia on behalf of the GCA in support of Scenic America, one of more than a dozen he has authored over the years.
Brinton previously was recognized by the GCA with a Zone VIII Conservation Commendation in 2006. Among his other recent awards for public service are Scenic America’s Distinguished Advocacy Award, the International Municipal Lawyers Association Amicus Service Award for his pro bono work and the Mayor of the City of Jacksonville’s Environmental Award, all received by Brinton in 2015.
Cynthia Pratt Laughlin (1910-85), a member of Southampton Garden Club in New York, endowed this medal in 1979. Noted Delaware sculptor Charles Crooper Parks designed the medal, and previous recipients include former president of The Nature Conservancy, Patrick F. Noonan (1984); The Outdoor Circle, the leading organization protecting the beauty of Hawai’i (1985); writer, environmental activist and farmer Wendell E. Berry (2008); and the U.S. Green Building Council (2009). Brinton was nominated for the medal by Late Bloomers Garden Club, Jacksonville.
The GCA is a nonprofit national organization composed of 200 clubs with some 18,000 members who devote energy and expertise to projects in their communities and across the United States. Founded in 1913, the GCA is a leader in horticulture, conservation and civic improvement. (www.gcamerica.org)
Rogers Towers, P.A., founded in 1905, is Northeast Florida’s largest law firm with offices in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Amelia Island, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Tampa Bay and Orlando, Florida. The firm provides counseling and legal services in the areas of: Banking and Financial; Commercial Litigation; Construction; Corporate; Labor and Employment; Environmental; Eminent Domain; Elder Law; Family Law; Health Law; Immigration; Intellectual Property; Land Use; Public Finance; Real Estate; Taxation; Transportation and Logistics; Trusts and Estates; and Wills. www.rtlaw.com.
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