Extra is litter
For the past few months, now, I have had to deal with the Republican Newspapers policy of dumping their unwanted trash on my property. I do not subscribe to the Republican, and never made any request to have their material delivered to my home. I have been told that "all I have to do" is contact the Republican and let them know that I don't want their trash on my driveway, and they will stop littering my property with it. (Something I later learned from others does not always work.)
Is that what the taxpayers of this city have to do to stop illegal littering? Ask the perpetrators to stop? Or is there, in fact, an ordinance that prohibits such actions?
As I recall, the latter is the case. In fact, I will cite the specific ordinance: It is Title 7, Chapter 7.16, Paragraph E.
"E. Litter Thrown by Persons in Vehicle. No person, while a driver or passenger in a vehicle, shall throw or deposit litter upon any street or any other public place within the city, or upon private premises."
Paragraph O. of the same ordinance would appear to exempt newspapers but only so long as they cannot be "carried or deposited by the elements upon any sidewalk, street, alley, or other public place or upon any private property."
The Republican could clearly care less where their little pink baggies end up. And I don't think the spirit of the ordinance meant that a newspaper could litter anyone's property as they please. Furthermore, they are not dumping their baggies to deliver news, they're dumping them to deliver advertising. That's not a public service. That's spam.
The Republican's actions are not only the acts of an arrogant, irresponsible company, they also fly in the face of a city that insists it is trying to make Springfield a better, cleaner place to live. The Republican is one of the most flagrant routine corporate violators of the littering laws of this city. And their argument that all city residents have to do is request they stop the dumping ignores the fact that the Republican doesn't even care if anyone even lives on the property that gets their garbage. The house I live across the street from on Adams Street has been burned out and empty since the winter of 2008-2009. Yet the Republican has had their "bag man" tossing "Extras" onto the driveway for months, now. It is obvious from the littered driveway that nobody lives there (not to mention the two buildings there that are boarded up), yet still The Republican delivery boy tosses baggies onto the property each Thursday. It is bad enough that we have to deal with regular illegal dumping and the constant refuse that comes with living in a ghetto community that the city could care less about, we do not need an arrogant newspaper company tossing their litter on our properties.
I am not the least bit interested in the fact that The Republican has paid advertisers that they need to accommodate. They can accommodate them on their subscribers' properties. They should, by law, only be allowed to toss those baggies onto the lawns of subscribers, not the general public. Just because they are a big newspaper does not mean they should have special privilege when it comes to tossing trash around. Yes, we get advertising in our mailboxes, but they are postage paid and not littered across our lawns. And we have also requested postal mail service, unlike Tthe Republican's unrequested litter.
The Republican, furthermore, is not the Post Office. They are a private, for-profit company that dumps their trash on our properties out of sheer profit motivation - and the City of Springfield has apparently decided they are exempt from our litter laws.
I, for one, have had enough of this city kissing the hand of that newspaper because our leaders are afraid of getting bad press. By our own littering ordinances, what The Republican is doing is illegal, and they should be ordered to stop. Other communities in Western Massachusetts have spoken out on this issue, and it's time Springfield does something about it as well.
See the attached photos of the garbage that greets me each day when I walk out to the street. It is a scene that can be easily replicated in any other community in the city as well as in other cities. Residents in Northampton and Easthampton have also complained about The Republican's littering practices.
The Republican should be required to pick up the trash on the property across my street or be fined like anyone else for littering and illegal dumping. And they should be told that no further unsolicited dumping of their baggies will be tolerated by this city. And, finally, if anyone continues to insist that our City ordinances allow for such practices - and so, "oh well we have to let them do it" - then all that means to me is that it's time to change that ordinance, and so make it clear to The Republican and anyone else that the tossing unsolicited material onto private property is illegal and must come to an end.
South End resident and homeowner (for now)
Board Member, Keep Springfield Beautiful