Thursday, April 08, 2010

Political Hot Potato: AT&T's Yellow Pages. By Geniusofdespair

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.


Anonymous said...

looks like a pile of shit to me.

Anonymous said...

Talk About Ramming Down the Taxpayers Throat?

"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."

Instead of Yellow Banannas ........
DROP the Yellow covered Phone Books off at the following locations: Yellow Pile Of SHIT.......

Jimenez District 7 Offices

6330 Manor Lane, Suite 100
South Miami, FL 33143

West Grove 
Frankie Rolle Center

3750 S. Dixie Highway
Miami, FL 33133

Heyman District 4 Office

1100 N.E. 163rd Street, #303
North Miami Beach, FL 33162

Sosa District 6 Office

1000 S.W. 57th Avenue, Suite 201
Miami, Florida 33144

Souto District 10 Office

9766 Coral Way, Suite One
Miami, Florida 33165

Diaz District 12 Office

8345 N.W. 12th Street
Miami, FL 33126

Seijas District 13
YMCA of Greater Miami 
Association Office 
1200 NW 78 Ave, Ste 200 
Miami, FL 33126

13550 Southwest 120th Street #424, Miami, FL‎ - (305) 969-2064‎

8821 South Dixie Highway, Miami, FL‎ - (786) 268-7400‎

10003 Northwest 41st Street, Miami, FL‎ - (786) 845-0066‎
2 reviews
"Only AT&T Has Best County Coverage,

250 Southeast 1st Street, Miami, FL‎ - (305) 377-2314‎

1601 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL‎ - (305) 674-4994‎

215 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL‎ - (305) 445-5335‎

8941 Southwest 107th Avenue, Miami, FL‎ - (305) 598-9084‎

32951 South Dixie Highway, Homestead, FL‎ - (305) 245-9495‎

8279 West Flagler Street, Miami, FL‎ - (305) 261-1338‎

11769 South Dixie Highway, Miami, FL‎ - (305) 670-2818‎

Anonymous said...

Who are AT&T lobbyists registered with M-D County? Looking under a variety of derivations of AT&T and Bell South, U-Verse etc. the only recent activity since 2002 was the following:

NONE 3/17/2010
NONE 3/17/2010

Very strange!

Anonymous said...

I hate getting these books too, but it is crazy to me to think that government is getting so much in the face of business - with fines? This is crazy. I mean, I would rather have the feakin phone book than all the clipper magazine flyers. Why don't we just start fining Kmart and Publix and Winn Dixie. This is not government's job - oh, come on people!

Anonymous said...

last anon. Bingo! I could fill 10 boxes full of all the other junk mail I get. But they single out the phone company. Well, I guess AT&T had to slap it down, just to prove they still can.


Anonymous said...

So, M: Now you're advocating regulating the US Postal Service delivery to get rid of junk mail.

I think you're educated enough to know that the County can't do that. The state regulates the white pages because it is (was) considered a public service. The state doesn't bother with the yellows because it is only commercial advertising and does not constitute a public good.

You want to tell the Flyer they can't send stuff in the mail, go for it, but you'll have to talk to your Congressperson, not your commissioner.

Geniusofdespair said...

This only fined them IF THE PHONE COMPANY REFUSED TO HONOR A REQUEST BY A CITIZEN TO STOP GETTING THE BOOKS. Why are you all making it so complicated. I don't want phone books -- why should I get dozens of them every year that don't even make it into my house? It is not stopping the phone companies from distributing their stinkin' books.

Anonymous said...

You miss the point. To honor those requests, you have to track them and to track them costs money. All it will take is some crafty "green" company to come out with the anti AT@T campaign saying that they save trees. This thing will solve itself eventually. Keep government out of this.