Collected from streets, driveways, sidewalks, and bushes in O.B.
Obecians are up in arms again over those San Diego Union Tribune coupon circulars (labeled “Community Values” on their plastic bags) that end up all on their sidewalks every Friday.
A grassroots movement, organized by Mary Tolena, has generated a public opinion survey with over 200 signatures on it so far, asking the U-T to stop littering the streets of O.B.
“I haven’t been involved in causes like this before,” said Tolena. “But the circulars were making such a mess and then when I saw the discussions on Facebook, I decided to start an opinion poll and many were upset.” She also said, “The distribution method is the problem.”
In two previous Reader articles, one in 2012 and the other in 2014, there are comments from outraged citizens asking for the supposedly illegal littering to be stopped.
In each story, representatives from the U-T say delivery will be stopped at the addresses of anyone who calls, but delivery will continue to the addresses of anyone who doesn’t call. Many have found that the delivery continues whether the U-T was called or not. The U-T claims the circulars are delivered by a third party. The Reader articles were also based on complaints from people in La Mesa and Encinitas.
Tolena brought the matter to the attention of the O.B. Town Council and they will make the issue the featured topic at their next meeting on May 27 at the Point Loma Masonic Hall at 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd, at 7 pm.
Town council president Gretchen Newsom said she sent an invite to the U-T, the Los Angeles Times (whose parent company recently bought the U-T), and the city’s Environmental Services Department. Newsom confirmed that the U-T will be attending the meeting; so far, there has been no response from the city.
While the circulars seem to qualify as litter, there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer on whether it’s illegal. On Facebook, there are several discussions involving upset neighbors and their efforts to curb the unwanted advertisements. Several have gathered up hundreds of the papers on the blocks they live on and tossed them into their own recycling bins. They say they have found them in their bushes and mud puddles, and sometimes, anywhere but the sidewalk.
Some recipients of the unwanted circular, having found the local Rite Aid advertising in it, have gathered up bunches of them and dumped them in front of the store in protest. Many have voiced their concerns to the businesses who advertise in the paper that they will stop patronizing them if they don’t stop participating in promoting their business there.
There is even a nod to the proposed plastic shopping bag ordinance being bandied about. While the circulars are not wrapped in a shopping bag per se, it is still a plastic bag and thus could be considered an environmental issue in addition to the other complaints.
“That is definitely a big part of the issue,” says Tolena.