Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Did City Attorneys Make a Convincing Case to Let You Opt-Out of Yellow Pages Delivery?

Posted by on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 7:27 PM



Comments (17) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
fletc3her 1
I wish they'd start charging them for littering. Nobody else could get away with dropping a bundle of paper at the foot of every mailbox to rot in the weather.
Posted by fletc3her on February 20, 2013 at 7:31 PM · Report this
Posted by Knat on February 20, 2013 at 7:59 PM · Report this
Dominic Holden 4
@3) Never mind that this post is actually among a scroll of original, reported posts--you're horrified that a blog linked to something?
Posted by Dominic Holden on February 20, 2013 at 8:33 PM · Report this
The city attorneys' thankless task was to defend the bill language Mike O'Brien used. Isn't he where the buck stops on this? There were plenty of people warning him he was probably writing a bill that couldn't pass muster in court. "First Amendment? Preposterous!" insisted everyone excited about the bill. So he put the bill up and it passed, noble cause, worth trying, much fun was had, much attention paid.

But absent some shoeleather reporting behind this premise that the city's lawyers fucked this up, that this court would have ruled for the bill if only better attorneys were on it, then it's O'Brien's bill that made them lose the case. Mike took a calculated risk, his council colleagues signed on--except for Jean Godden, mocked as a yellow-pages shill when she insisted its unconstitutionality would sink it--and now a half-million dollars later it's back to the drawing board.

A bill will be passed someday that will accomplish the hoped-for result. This is a step in that direction. And council members are well within their authority to pass riskily-worded bills that sometimes get shot down in court. We get to pay for those mistakes, the same way we get to benefit from their victories, and it's fine.

But we shouldn't get in the habit of not holding electeds accountable for the bad as well as the good. And trying to shift the blame onto city employees? Better have damn good reason.
Posted by gloomy gus on February 20, 2013 at 8:54 PM · Report this
Dominic Holden 6
@5) I hear you. But this law was vetted and tweaked by city lawyers, like all council bills, specifically to withstand a constitutional challenge, was it not? They knew Yellow Pages would file suit. My guess is that lawyers and council will go back to the drawing board--or settle on a compromise--to give us a law that can hold up in court.
Posted by Dominic Holden on February 20, 2013 at 9:12 PM · Report this
Was it not? I dunno. So since reporter and readers are all left guessing here, my own guess is that the city attorney's office did what it does and suggested language for the bill to help it survive on constitutional grounds. Then O'Brien said thanks but no, that weakens it too much, we gotta put the hammer down on the yellow pages companies. Let's go forward even if it doesn't stand a chance, at least we're moving the ball down the field for a good cause. Play along, assistant city attorneys, do your best in court, maybe we luck out and pull a dumb judge or two.

I got no problem with the loss. But the only fact we all seem to know for sure is which guy put his name on the bill as author, as written, as passed. Instead of mentioning that name at this delicate moment, we speculate out loud about faceless civil servants conveniently lower on the food chain who must have screwed up. It's funny, that's all.
Posted by gloomy gus on February 20, 2013 at 9:55 PM · Report this
Can I mail the YP back to them COD? First class?

Bet I won't get any more YPs after that.

Posted by K on February 20, 2013 at 9:56 PM · Report this
@8: years ago in a fit of anger over junk mail, I put a bunch of junk fliers in envelopes, addressed them to the sender, and out them in the mail sans stamp or return address. A few days later I returned home to find a bunch of sealed plastic bags in my mailbox. Inside the bags? The junk letters and a stern warning from USPS that I needed to put stamps on letters (they had opened the letters, seen who the original addressee was and returned them).

You also can't mark junk mail return to sender and stick it in a mailbox (the way you can with damn near everything else). You'll just get it back.
Posted by gnossos on February 20, 2013 at 11:36 PM · Report this
Can we just start a movement where we drive past the yellow page publishers' offices and hurl the goddamn books at their parked cars?
Posted by beef rallard on February 20, 2013 at 11:38 PM · Report this
I don't know about hurling them at parked cars, but I wouldn't be above dropping a mess of their crap right in front of the doors of their offices/distribution center.
Posted by madcap on February 21, 2013 at 1:23 AM · Report this
Question: where is the settlement money coming from and how much did it cost the city to defend the suit? Just wondering how many tax dollars we've spent on this. For the record, I opted out of the YP list the minute I got the opportunity. Those things go straight into the recycle bin (like I have that much room in my place to store a pile of useless paper).
Posted by SeattleD on February 21, 2013 at 2:06 AM · Report this
Ernie1 14
At least the last Dex book came with a nice smaller sized re-usable bag. It was handy to take the book to the recycling bin with, and it is a good size for when I pick up lunch at the grocery store before work!
Posted by Ernie1 on February 21, 2013 at 6:30 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 15
what about my right to not listen to their speech?
Posted by Max Solomon on February 21, 2013 at 8:27 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 16
By setting foot on my property, they allow me to use the state Stand and Defend law.
Posted by Will in Seattle on February 21, 2013 at 10:59 AM · Report this
Why not just toss the things right into the middle of your street? YP's don't have mailing addresses on them, so nobody would be able to prove you did it (unless of course they actually SEE you). It'll create a nuisance for traffic, sure, but depending on the time of year, they should break down into a manageable lump of sodden wood pulp that the City's street cleaners can handle, just like they do masses of wet leaves now. That way, you won't have them filling up your recycling bin, the City will be sent a clear message, and, perhaps having no one else to blame, they can start citing the publishers' for public littering, if nothing else.
Posted by COMTE on February 21, 2013 at 12:49 PM · Report this
For starters, @17, I don't really want a bunch of torn up phone books littering my street any more than I want them in my house.
Posted by beef rallard on February 22, 2013 at 9:37 AM · Report this
I'm really curious about how well this would work (but am of course too lazy to do it myself):

Form a non-profit organization which takes donations for operations, which consist mostly of volunteers, but need some organizers and some rented vans or trucks. The organization's purpose is to track the phone book dumpers and follow them around, picking up all the phone books they leave. At the end of a shift, all the phone books in the vans get dumped back in a giant messy pile at the offices of the offenders.

I wouldn't think you'd get in trouble for dumping their phone books back on them (FREE SPEECH!), and I wouldn't think taking a phone book they'd just dumped on someone's porch would be considered theft (not too sure about that one though).
Posted by beef rallard on February 22, 2013 at 9:45 AM · Report this

Add a comment

Commenting on this item is available only to registered commenters.

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy