Abington solicitation ordinance is flawed
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