The Morning News and the city’s proposed solicitation ordinance

City officials have been pondering a change to Dallas’ solicitation ordinance since at least this spring; the goal seems to be to find some way to limit handbills, business cards, restaurant menus and other front porch clutter (though roofing contractors who get angry when you don’t want to talk to them will not be affected). Very little progress has apparently been made.

That may be because one of the targets of the proposed ordinance is The Morning News’ Briefing,  the free, slimmed-down version of the newspaper designed for nonsubscribers and delivered Wednesday through Saturday. And which always seems to end up getting squished by a car in the driveway.

The Observer reports that Briefing and the proposed ordinance came up during yesterday’s meeting of the city council’s quality of life committee, and that city attorney Tom Perkins said the ordinance won’t allow companies to deliver unsolicited items the way Briefing is delivered. And at least one member of the committee thought that was a fine idea.

We’re not disinterested observers in this debate, given how the Advocate is delivered. But, since we hang the magazine on your doorknob in a plastic bag (another example of Wamre’s publishing genius), the ordinance won’t affect us. And, I’m willing to bet, it won’t affect Briefing, either. The Morning News will write an editorial or two waxing poetic about free speech, campaign contributions will be given to several council members, and News publisher Jim Moroney will call Mayor Vision and explain why this isn’t a good idea. And the proposed ordinance will remain exactly that. Ain’t democracy grand?


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