Delivery of Unsolicited Fliers, Newspapers Banned

Sweeping aside concerns about violations of the 1st Amendment, the Pasadena City Council has approved an ordinance banning the delivery of unsolicited handbills and newspapers to property owners who do not want the material.

Under the ordinance enacted by the City Council late Monday, distributors of unsolicited printed materials cannot deliver to residents and businesses that place their names on a "refusal list" maintained by the city. Violation of the law is a misdemeanor.

"We aren't telling people you can't print something. We are just giving people the option to refuse this material," said Councilman Paul Little.

Residents and representatives of the Pasadena Star-News opposed the ordinance, calling it an undue restriction on free speech. The Star-News owns a free weekly, the Star, which would be affected by the new law.

"Any time an elected body thumbs its nose at the constitutional protections of the freedom of press, I'm shocked," Timothy M. Sowecke, Star-News publisher, said in an interview Tuesday. "I don't know how four supposedly intelligent individuals totally ignored the Constitution of the United States."

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