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Coalition Fighting to Keep San Francisco Connected

Opposition in San Francisco is growing on the proposed Yellow Pages ban there. Yellow Pages Association has joined with a coalition of concerned small business advertisers, union representatives and directory publishers to oppose a proposed ordinance that would effectively stop Yellow Pages distribution in the city.

The coalition has launched a new website at www.keepsfconnected.com to help educate the public and legislators, and to encourage people to voice their concern with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

What’s been so interesting for me about the coalition is it demonstrates how far reaching the impact of the Yellow Pages industry is on people and businesses. In this case, supporters have come in from all directions: the labor union IBEW; consumer advocacy group TURN; the local LGBT, Spanish and Chinese Yellow Pages publishers; small business advertisers; market leaders AT&T and Valley Yellow Pages; and others who want to protect this trusted resource.

Our reasons why this legislation is bad for San Francisco are quite clear:

  • Any effort to limit local businesses from reaching consumers not only hurts businesses, but also negatively impacts the economy.
  • Directory publishers employ thousands of Californians. Any legislation that puts jobs and taxes in jeopardy is bad for San Francisco and the state.
  • Research shows that 7 in 10 adults in California use print Yellow Pages. A system that puts a burden on the majority of people to opt in is the best path for consumer choice.
  • The plan unfairly singles out the Yellow Pages industry with treatment that is different than any other media, not to mention industries that introduce far more paper products into the waste stream.
  • It violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits government from licensing or exercising advance approval of the press and from directing publishers what to publish and to whom they may communicate.

In addition, the recently launched www.yellowpagesoptout.com accomplishes the same goals as the proposed legislation and should be given a chance. Since many small businesses and San Francisco residents rely on Yellow Pages, it’s crucial that they stay “opt-out” instead of “opt-in” especially when considering this legislation could cause job losses in a fragile economy.

I hope you’ll take some time to read our news release today, which includes some interesting perspective from all the groups I mentioned. You can also write the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to vote “no” on the proposal through the www.keepsfconnected.com website.

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