Abing­ton so­lic­i­ta­tion or­di­nance is flawed

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - OPINION -

To the ed­i­tor:

In Abing­ton the is­sue of solic­i­tors in our neigh­bor­hoods has gone awry and there seems to be lit­tle will to do what is in the in­ter­est of the safety and wel­fare of Abing­ton res­i­dents.

The com­mis­sion­ers re­cently passed two pieces of leg­is­la­tion. The first al­lowed com­mer­cial solic­i­tors in our neigh­bor­hoods if they paid a fee (pre­vi­ously they were pro­hib­it­edF. We have also been told that they can come as late as 9 p.m. — an ab­surd hour to open your door to strangers.

The sec­ond or­di­nance was en­acted when the Trend news­pa­per was tossed willy-nilly on anyLev­ery lawn they chose. The leg­is­la­tion passed made things worse by al­low­ing that un­less res­i­dents took their own time, ef­fort and ex­pense to find out the cor­rect ad­dress and write a let­ter to stop de­liv­ery, it was per­mit­ted. You’re kid­ding, right? Of­ten such re­quests were even ig­nored af­ter calls and let­ters and great ef­fort. Now we are be­ing told that the same law ap­plies to the lit­tle “bag­gies” and all other ad­ver­tis­ing tossed on your prop­erty by any­one who chooses — the vast ma­jor­ity of whom seem not to be reg­is­tered at all. To whom would I write? I have no clue who is go­ing to do it to­mor­row. How many let­ters per in­di­vid­ual are rea­son­able per year?

Com­mis­sion­ers, here are the main points that I hope you will hear:

• Un­wanted junk on my prop­erty is trashLlit­ter — noth­ing more. I be­lieve I have a right to have the lit­ter laws en­forced, not un­der­mined.

• Items left when res­i­dents are away are open in­vi­ta­tions for crim­i­nals to see who is and is not home — our po­lice should be ral­ly­ing against this prac­tice.

• It is an af­front to both per­sonal and prop­erty rights to re­quire my time, ef­forts and ex­pense when­ever busi­nesses choose to tar­get me.

• No one is be­ing pre­vented from leav­ing lit­er­a­ture for me — I have a re­cep­ta­cle for that pur­pose called a mail box. It works. En- ter­tain­ing out­siders un­til 9 p.m. is not nec­es­sary. I can con­trol things when I am away and if I dis­ap­prove, I can stop the de­liv­er­ies al­to­gether of such ad­ver­tis­ing.

• The po­lice do not know how many are in vi­o­la­tion, con­trary to Chief Kelly’s tes­ti­mony. If they knew they would surely have been stopped.

• Few ci­ta­tions have been is­sued not be­cause few were war­ranted. Of all the il­le­gal peo­ple that I called about, only one was is­sued a ci­ta­tion

• The ones be­ing caught may not even be pay­ing the fee af­ter they are found since they are not listed as “signed up” to this very day.

• If “the law is the law” and they are re­quired to fol­low it, then it would be our of­fi­cials’ job to work to get the law changed, as we are do­ing with the bill­boards. We have re­cently watched our chief vo­cif­er­ously try to change the dis­patch reg­u­la­tions at great time and ex­pense on his part. We ex­pect the same for other changes needed in our in­ter­est.

• Res­i­dents are now be­ing en- couraged to call 911 if they have so much as a ques­tion about a so­lic­i­tor. Us­ing the 911 sys­tem this way is con­trary to its in­tent. If we are in no dan­ger we should not have to call 911 nor have an of­fi­cer dis­patched to our home (an­other in­con­ve­nienceF. There should be a sim­ple in­for­ma­tion line and the web­site could be used to post the names of the solic­i­tors to see if they are there legally. Solic­i­tors also could be en­cour­aged to show their per­mits at the out­set of ev­ery en­counter, which would pro­vide great aware­ness, town­ship­wide that those com­mer­cial solic­i­tors with­out per­mits were there il­le­gally.

Our community groups, our com­mis­sion­ers and our town­ship of­fi­cials are all in a po­si­tion to im­prove this sit­u­a­tion be­fore oth­ers need suf­fer the di­rect con­se­quences of our res­i­den­tial ar­eas be­ing in­un­dated with tran­sients, even af­ter dark, and from hav­ing their homes marked when they are away. Ask those in charge to fight on your be­half. Lora Lehmann Mead­ow­brook

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