Saturday, October 4, 2008
Fighting "Phone Book Dumping" With A Little Help From Ed Kohloer
Photo By Ed Kohler Posted To Flickr.com, below
Flickr.com photo, above
The Housing Committee of the Hawthorne Neighborhood Association met, and Ed Kohler of The Deets was there to give testimony about phone book dumping...
Though I've written about this issue quite a bit, Ed Kohler has made himself into something of an expert, actually digging up info about lobbying efforts. Ed's passion is requiring "opt in" instead of "opt out." My spin is "when the house is obviously empty, this is littering and should be treated as such."
Attending the Housing Committee meeting at my request, Ed patiently waited for two hours while other topics were discussed...though Ed kept himself busy with his laptop, so he wasn't bored...in order to speak for only a few minutes. But it was worth it. There appeared to be support in the committee for some kind of resolution, and I'm researching it right now. I'm hoping to use a lot of the information and angles which Ed has dug up.
In the meantime, Ed blogged about the issue with particular reference to the Hawthorne Neighborhood. (Click here)
My idea for a city ordinance (or ordinance revision) is as follows: dumping off a phone book is littering when the house in question shows the following BLATANTLY OBVIOUS INDICATIONS OF VACANCY:
1.) As few as one other phone book, not yet picked up. (But, hey, I've seen as many as 7)
2.) Boards on windows and doors.
3.) Placards on the house which would lead a reasonable person to conclude the house is vacant, including notices of utility shut off, pending demolition, etc.
4.) Obvious external indications of fire damage. (This is to keep a house from receiving a phone book the day after it burns, before any of Item 1, 2, or 3 is present)
5.) An exterior notice requesting no phone books be delivered. Such a notice need not be signed or dated, but should have letters of at least one inch, in boldface, at or reasonably near eye level from the sidewalk. The words "NO PHONE BOOKS" will suffice.
As for "opt in" versus "opt out," the city of Minneapolis should provide a list of all "known to be vacant" houses to all the phone book companies, and request--NO, THEY SHOULD EMPHATICALLY DEMAND AND BACK IT UP WITH PROMISES OF HARSH LEGAL SANCTIONS--that delivery of phone books to those vacant addresses cease, cease, cease.
Trucks delivering phone books to our neighborhoods should be treated the same as, for example, trucks hauling debri to be illegally dumped, or hauling suspicious copper pipe and hunks of aluminum siding.
These suspicious trucks should be pulled over on the basis of probably cause, their drivers questioned and--most likely--the individuals driving these trucks should be directed to GO BACK TO EVERY VACANT HOUSE and pick up the phone books they just dumped, and TAKE THEM OUT OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
In his recent blog post, Ed Kohler has said there is a particular company which "owes Hawthorne an apology." Well, I won't hold my breathe, but I AM certainly waiting.