Tacoma council asks manager to look into paper's bagged circulars

Tacoma News TribuneFebruary 11, 2014 

The Tacoma City Council passed a resolution Tuesday night directing City Manager T.C. Broadnax to talk with The News Tribune’s leaders and seek a resolution to concerns some city residents have about advertising circulars delivered to their neighborhoods.

Residents who spoke at the City Council meeting Tuesday said advertising-filled orange bags delivered by vendors for The News Tribune are ending up on the street, gutter or sidewalks. The program began a few weeks ago.

South Tacoma resident Lenny Long approached the council chambers’ lectern with a black trash bag full of circulars he said he collected during a five-block walk.

“They were everywhere but the front porch,” Long told the council.

Others said the circulars could be a “crime magnet’ if they accumulated in front of vacant homes.

“We just want The News Tribune to be a respectful citizen like the rest of us,” said South Tacoma resident Cheryl Kopec, who was one of six people who addressed the council on the issue.

David Zeeck, News Tribune publisher, said ideally the advertising insert would land on a resident’s driveway or the sidewalk leading to the home — and not into the street.

“I look forward to talking with the city manager to hear his perception of what most concerns people,” Zeeck said Tuesday night. “We are in the business to support good, local journalism and help businesses succeed through advertising. We would like to do that in a way that doesn’t upset people.”

Only a fraction of homes in the city of Tacoma currently receive the inserts, which go to neighborhoods selected by the advertisers, Zeeck said. The council’s resolution said 50,000 circulars are delivered weekly, but Zeeck said the actual number is about half that.

To opt out or report improper delivery, residents can email customerservice@thenewstribune.com or call 800-289-8711. Zeeck said it can take up to two weeks to halt delivery.

Mayor Marilyn Strickland said City Council members have been “bombarded” with complaints about the circulars.

“This is our way of demonstrating we are listening to our public and we are still committed to our core value of being a clean, safe and attractive neighborhood,” Strickland said at the meeting. “Nobody wants The News Tribune to go out of business. A city the size of Tacoma should have a daily paper.”

The resolution directs Broadnax to report back to the City Council about the discussions.

* In other news Tuesday, the City Council unanimously approved a two-year contract for Broadnax granting a $14,165 raise to bring his salary to $235,373.

Strickland said Broadnax was awarded “strong marks in areas like budgeting, finance and engaging folks in the community” from City Council members in his recent performance review.

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