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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 2, 2011 8:44 AM. The previous post in this blog was All in the family. The next post in this blog is Wheeler outpaces Kroger. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Seattle phone book opt-out system off to flying start

With 30,000 businesses and households saying they don't want phone books dumped on them any more, the City of Seattle has already done the earth a big favor. And that's just in the first couple of months.

Why won't Portland do this? Is somebody being bought off? It's a question that Nurse Amanda and the mayor should have to answer, again and again, when they ask for your vote over the next several months. We'll bet Mary Nolan and Eileen Brady could get it done.

Comments (10)

Yea for politically correct! Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Steve Jobs win, tree farmers, printers and many others lose. And those too poor to have an internet connection can just walk (or take the streetcar if they have the money) down to the library and wait in line for a computer just to look up a phone number.

Ma Bell, a regulated monopoly, served us well. May she rest in peace.

In Seattle it's a voluntary opt-out. If you still want the yellow pages you can still get them. Nobody is being left without unless they want to be.

I note the article has a link at the bottom for a national opt-out registry, sposored by the directory publishers. Does anyone know if this is effective, or it it just another way for them to assemble a list to spam you?

Jack....Three yellow page directories were delivered to my post office box this week alone...PLUS 2 left on my driveway.
Well Jack, "waste not want not" as my grand pappy would say, as I will use them the same way grand pappy used the Sears catalog. Wink, Wink.. After all I live in South Jersey, and we "country boys" leave nothing to waste!

The issue would be who would enforce the opt-out? I mean I'm on the federal do not call list and my home phone still gets cold calls from this business or that scammer and complaints result in nothing. So if the city allows bikers to break every traffic law on the books and especially the ones about recklessness and ignoring traffic control devices, why would this be enforced. They could enact it for feel good and it would end up being teethless.

Besides the phone book issue, how will Nolan and Fritz differ on Milwaukie Lightrail, Portland/LO Trolley, Barbur Blvd. so-called exploratory transit study, bike issues, bioswales, urban renewal, North Harbor Zoning....? Many voters around here are tired of platitudes and want concise positions of all the cornball issues we have around here. Is their really a difference in all the interested candidates and want-a-be's for all the positions opening up?

I don’t really understand what’s been happening with our phone directories. I used to get two phone books-- a big fat white pages and a big fat yellow pages-- and I could find whatever I wanted in them. Now I get piles and piles of yellow pages, yellow pages I didn’t ask for and don’t need, from companies that are in hot competition for advertisers dollars and need to make big circulation claims.

But white pages? Skinny little things that, outrageously, don’t cover the whole city. It’s hit or miss whether someone I am looking for is in the phone book, depending on whether they happen to live in a part of the city the directory includes.

Imagine for a moment the unthinkable. That your electricity is off and your computer battery is dead, or that electronic communication, for one reason or another, is knocked out. Imagine perhaps that you are a stranger in a strange city, traveling without a computer, wanting to find an address and phone number, or, even horror of horrors, that by some quirk of birth or fate you don’t have access to a computer.

I realize that cell phones have altered the equation, and it is a puzzle how to handle that. But it surely is a public good, in fact I think a public necessity, for everyone who needs it to have access to a directory that covers the whole city, not just their neighborhood.

Yes, people should be able to opt out, and if they do, they should get a rebate on their phone bill. But I don’t see why every phone company shouldn’t be required to provide complete directories to all their subscribers. And since, due to the wonderful after-effects of privatization, there are competing phone companies, let them all kick in to a fund to enable the printing of one comprehensive phone directory of all stationary phones in each city. Just like in the old days, before the media buccaneers (enabled as I recall by Senator Bob Packwood) wielded their privatization swords and made a tower of Babylon out of the remains of Ma Bell.

The problem with Portland is that it wants to be flashy and pushy, that it only goes after the big initatives - oftentimes, which fails, and Portland somehow becomes the Teflon city.

Meanwhile, with regards to little things, Portland seems to be far, far, far behind when it comes to sustainability, environmentalism, so on...

Remember how many other cities had co-mingled recycling, well before Portland did?

Portland still lags the nation with vanpools; we have one of the weakest vanpool systems of any major city. (In fact Metro yanked the program from TriMet because TriMet basically ignored it.)

Our city loves our fountains - nevermind the environmental impact of the water being consumed, the pumps needed to run them...

Why must traffic lights run 24/7? How many solar powered warning beacons has the city of Portland installed? (I see plenty of them in Washington County...)

The multiple yellow page directories are all about advertising sales. They have little or nothing to do with telephone numbers or white pages. The whites are sometimes included, they are bought as a data base and printed along with the advertising that is sold by the printer or a sales team. The individual business is sold (or scammed) on the idea that their advertising inch is seen by thousands of peoples.

I always wondered why if this was a problem, why newspapers were not required to take back the read papers and recycle them?

Here in Reno the telephone companies do not deliver any telephone books unless thay are setting up a new land line service. And given that land lines are slowly vanishing, that is a good thing. The rest are available in racks at most local major supermarkets - if you really want one. Certainly a lot better option than the various "yellow pages" dumped on our doorstep or driveway when we lived on the east side..


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