Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Man Who Beat Phil Krinkie Leaps Into Action

Good to see our old friend Paul Gardner is earning his keep:

A Minnesota legislator wants residents to be able to judge a book by its cover.

Rep. Paul Gardner, DFL-Shoreview, has offered a bill that requires phone book publishers to print directions on the cover for how residents can say no to further unsolicited deliveries.

The legislation, scheduled for a hearing Tuesday, says the directions should explain how to opt out either via a phone call or at a Web address.

Directory publishers would have to maintain a database of those homes.

It's about time that the legislature leaped into action to stop this sort of thing! All those phone books cluttering up people's houses and whatnot. It's an outrage. And the publishers would never think to do something like this without the ministrations of Rep. Gardner, right? Oh, wait:

Several publishers already have online ways to opt out. For Dex, for example, go to www.dexknows.com. At the bottom, click on "Select your Dex."

On the next page, enter your ZIP code and click on "Proceed to select your Dex." Fill out your address information and enter "0" as the number of books you want to receive.
Well, it's just such a hassle to get rid of the things, because phone books have to be recycled and can't be thrown in the trash. That does pose a real dilemma -- I don't know how I'd ever think to put a phone book in the recycling bin.

It's a good thing that Rep. Gardner is keeping his eye on the big picture. That Phil Krinkie never would have thought of this sort of legislative innovation -- he was too busy trying to keep taxes low to pay attention to the needs of his needy constituents. Thanks, Paul!

9 comments:

Night Writer said...

Phone books have to be recycled?

Gee, every spring we take whatever phone books are left over from being used as fire-starters over the winter and burn them in the backyard with a couple of snow-tires.

Mr. D said...

That's a good plan, NW. I especially like the way you turned that 1976 El Camino on blocks into a firepit. Innovative.

Night Writer said...

Yeah, I thought that was a pretty good idea, too. Unfortunately, the neighbor who actually owned the El Camino didn't agree.

Amy Balliet said...

Hi, I was so happy to find and read your post about my father, Dave Balliet. Thank you so much for sharing your memories of him. I have passed on your link for my family to see.
As I wrote in the obituary, my dad was "one of a kind". He will be missed more than he could have imagined.
Thanks again and take care,
Amy Balliet
ames@riseup.net

Mr. D said...

Hi Amy,

Thank you for the kind note and the visit. Your dad was indeed a wonderful man and you and your family continue to have our prayers and support. I couldn't have asked for a better teacher or mentor than your father.

Matthew Avitabile said...

How much are we paying Congress again?

Mr. D said...

They're worthy every penny, Matthew. Just ask them!

my name is Amanda said...

Mr. D, I sort of agree with you, but for a different reason. It's ridiculous that people have to opt out in the first place. The problem is the directory companies themselves.

Gardner's intentions are good. Phonebook litter is *harmful* to neighborhoods, particularly since directory companies allow distributors to litter homes that are clearly abandoned, which in turn becomes a red flag for those searching for a conveniently empty home for illegal activity.

Mpls-based thedeets.com has documented directory spam extensively, and the writer, Ed, has personal experience with attempting to opt out. Hint: Even if you know how to do it, it doesn't always work - also you have to opt out of at least three difference directories that I know of - and the websites emply tricky tactics like not allowing a the opt out page to appear from Google, or not making their popt out page available via third-party. I doubt (ha, strongly) that you'll agree with his politics, but believe me, he's done a ton of research on the fallacies perpetuated by YP and the like to their advertisers, and the public.

I haven't used a Yellow pages or Dex directory since 2002.

Anywho, Mpls WM doesn't recycle phone books - at least not via the plastic bins. You have to take them to a special recycling place, if you care about that sort of thing.

Mr. D said...

Amanda,

I've looked at The Deets a few times via your blog. He seems like a good guy.

Think about what you're suggesting: take it to its conclusion and you would put the Yellow Pages (of various sorts) out of business. That's a pretty draconian response to what isn't a very big problem.

But the larger point is this -- Paul Gardner and his colleagues have to deal with a multi-billion dollar revenue shortfall in this session. That he's even bothering with something like this shows a disturbing lack of focus.