You don't need them anymore with the internet, but those annoying thick, yellow covered phone books arrive at your doorstep anyway. I take them from my doorstep and put them directly in the dumpster. What a colossal waste of paper. County Commissioner Sorenson decided it was a waste of paper too and thought it worth a reform but the AT&T Lobbyists came out like pit bulls against her ordinance because The Yelllow Pages are a cash cow, filled with money paying advertisers' ads.
Sorenson's ordinance allowed for people like me to "opt-out" from getting the yellow pages. The method to opt-out would have been on the front page of the book. Yippee!
Well, the lobbyist killed it April 6th (watch the video - 7A).
Pretty much everyone voted against it - some County Commissioners saved face because AT&T lobbyists gave them cover by raising First Amendment concerns. What?
(Hit read more...)
They said that the yellow pages is protected free speech and that the County Commission telling people how to "opt-out" of getting the book was a violation of the Constitution. However, even AT&T's attorneys admitted that was a long shot.
AT&T is doing a volunteer "opt out" program that no one knows about. Problem is, who will enforce it when you continue to get the books? The Sorenson ordinance would have mirrored their voluntary program, but added the teeth of an enforcement fine after a warning. That would have given AT&T and any other Yellow Page publisher more than a year to remedy mistakes in their database before the first fine was issued.
The debate on this was one for the books. Besides the obvious stuff with Vile Natacha slamming it (expected and boring) we had Souto accusing Katy of "living in lala land" and he meandered on to say her ordinance would lead to outlawing libraries. Mayor hopeful, Little Joe Martinez argued that the penalties were still too high and even said that voting for the opt-out was promoting global warming because you'd have to use a computer to search for information. Others were "concerned" about taking away phone books from the elderly and people without computers (ignoring the fact that it was an opt-out, so they'd have to ask to not get the book). Nobody changed their minds when they learned that AT&T has already gotten the OK from the PSC to stop delivering the White Pages last year. Sorenson, seeing the irony, suggested in jest that we pass an ordinance requiring the delivery of the White Pages since there was so much concern amongst the Commission for the "elderly and people without computers". Note: There are no advertisements in the white pages, AT&T doesn't make money on it so why deliver it? This issue is all about money!
Gimenez, Sosa, and Heyman were co-sponsors however, all of them fled (under Lobbyist pressure?) and voted against the ordinance. So you will continue getting those books piled up on your doorstep and you will also get that annoying follow up phone call to make sure you got the books you threw away. Thanks for nothin' County Commission, but I could use those white pages...the internet sites are starting to charge for numbers.