Who do you trust to make sure the Yellow Pages are kept off your doorstep if you don't want them: the yellow pages companies that have been supposedly doing this for years (and delivering them anyway) or the city?
That's the latest question in the phone book saga. The Yellow Pages Association has seized upon Seattle's budget problems to argue why they—and not the City of Seattle—should be in charge of an opt-out system.
After The Stranger reported that the City Council's Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee has recommended a city-run system that allows denizens to register if they don't want yellow pages, YPA sent a statement explaining why it's a bad idea.
"It will hurt local small businesses and strain overburdened city resources," said YPA President Neg Norton. "We believe the proposed ordinance unfairly targets one form of advertising media and likely will not hold up under legal challenge." The YPA promises to update its current site to a centralized opt-out system which they say will make it the first national one-stop site for consumers to opt out of delivery. Norton says that YPA's updated site won't burden city employees or taxpayers.
The full city council is scheduled to vote Monday on the yellow pages ordinance, which would keep the city in charge and impose a recycling fee on the phone book companies.
Whatever good intentions YPA has, their proposal appears to be a last-ditch attempt to sway the council's vote and save themselves from city enforcement. When I asked O'Brien why he wasn't considering YPA's proposal, he said it doesn't go "far enough to address the concerns of citizens." O'Brien said he crafted the ordinance to make sure yellow pages companies keep their word, which they haven't been doing so far.
YPA's argument that the city's opt-out system would be a burden on city staff and tax payers smells like BS. That's exactly why the city is charging them a fee—to take care of the registry and the recycling costs. The city could essentially let YPA take over the opt-out system, but then who would be responsible for enforcement? Plus, the real issue here is that YPA is scared that Seattle's ordinance will be copied nationally, which it should be.