Brentwood allows 'Contributor' sales to pedestrians on sidewalks

Thursday, July 7, 2011 at 2:10pm

The City of Brentwood proposed changes in its ordinances Thursday to allow homeless people to sell The Contributor newspaper on public sidewalks in the Nashville suburb.

But under the proposals, The Contributor’s sales people still could not go into the streets to hand the newspaper to motorists and collect the $1 price. For that reason, the ACLU claimed the city still was trampling on the newspaper’s First Amendment rights.

“It shuts down The Contributor completely” to limit sales to sidewalks, said Tricia Herzfeld, ACLU-Tennessee legal director.

“There’s not any pedestrian traffic in Brentwood, right?” Herzfeld added.

The Contributor and the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Brentwood last week over sales of the newspaper. Earlier this year, the city fined eight of The Contributor’s vendors for selling the newspaper to passing motorists. City officials said police were worried about the safety of the sales people and the motorists as cars were stopping in traffic on the streets to make the transactions.

The city ordinance now prohibits the sale of any merchandise from public places. Under the proposed amendments, “an exemption is added for the sale or distribution of newspapers, magazines, periodicals, handbills, flyers and similar materials, as long as the activity is not conducted within the street itself and materials are not handed to vehicle occupants,” according to an explanation posted on the city’s website by the city staff.

“Under this exemption, the sale of newspapers on public sidewalks would be protected.”

The Brentwood City Commission is scheduled to consider the changes in the ordinance at its meeting Monday.

“It should be emphasized that the city has no interest in prohibiting the sale of newspapers, banning individuals from the city limits or ceasing contributions to worthy causes,” the staff said on the city’s website. “The purpose of the proposed ordinance is to prevent accidents and other safety hazards to motorists and pedestrians and to avoid interference with the safe and efficient flow of traffic on busy streets.”

“If the proposed amendments passed, staff anticipates that the court will find the lawsuit to be moot.”

26 Comments on this post:

By: localboy on 7/7/11 at 2:18

"But under the proposals, The Contributor’s sales people still could not go into the streets to hand the newspaper to motorists and collect the $1 price. For that reason, the ACLU claimed the city still was trampling on the newspaper’s First Amendment rights.

“It shuts down The Contributor completely” to limit sales to sidewalks, said Tricia Herzfeld, ACLU-Tennessee legal director."

So if I hit someone out in the street peddling The Contributor, I get a free pass, since they're exercising their First Amendment rights, eh? Do you think that defense would fly?
And if they are that dependent on sales in Brentwood that enforcement of current ordinances would shut down The Contributor "completely", that gives lie to the implication that somehow Brentwood is exclusionary.
If Brentwood sticks to its guns, next stop...Melrose!

By: bfra on 7/8/11 at 3:31

If there are accidents, due to this decision, the party or parties should sue the ACLU.

By: oliverre on 7/8/11 at 5:42

I buy the Contributor every month. And my salesman has to come to my car to bring me the paper. But it is always at the same intersection and ONLY when I have the red light. If I dont have the red light, then I dont get a paper until next time.So as not to interfer with traffic. If the salesman do not have enough sense not to walk out into traffic, then maybe they should not be doing the job of selling on busy streets. And if there are motorists that want the Contributor so bad that they will come to a dead stop in the middle of the street during busy traffic. Then maybe they should go online and order it. Or at least find an intersection and wait until the light turns red!!!!! Come on people, use a little common sense.

By: dargent7 on 7/8/11 at 5:47

So, these Brentwood residents are so "high profile"?
Are they rich or something? All white? Republicans?
Just wondering.

By: Cookie47 on 7/8/11 at 7:22

Dargent, having once lived in Brentwood I can tell you the residence are not high profile but like to think they are and are not rich. Instead, most are in hock up to their eyeballs. They are not all but mostly white and, unfortunately, not all Republican.

I agree with bfra. If The Contributor wins with the help of the ACLU and these people are allowed to move in and out of traffic then cause an accident, they should then sue The Contributor and the ACLU. I, again unfortunately, have to venture into Brentwood from time to time. If have an accident caused by these people moving around in traffic, that's exactly what I intend to do - sue the hell out of The Contributor and the ACLU.

By: dargent7 on 7/8/11 at 7:26

Cookie4/7: I live in Sylvan Park and it is 100% white. Not ONE Black/ Latino/ Chinese family. All Democrat.
No Contributor sale people around here.

By: HighlyAnnoyed on 7/8/11 at 7:38

I think not allowing people selling papers to sell to passing vehicles is an excellent idea. I wish they would pass this ordinance in Hendersonville. And, they need to enforce it against those idiot shriners, masons, and all of those stupid monkey-hat-wearing idiots that stand in the middle of the road selling papers. I wonder if they enforce it against them in Brentwood.

By: Cookie47 on 7/8/11 at 8:26

Dargent, perhaps I should move to Sylvan Park and drive all the Dems crazy as I'm a Constitutionalist Conservative.

As for the "Not ONE Black/ Latino/ Chinese family." You might want to keep that quiet, Antioch is listening. They'll try to move in next door.

By: macjedi on 7/8/11 at 8:26

See, NOW we have a compromise. It is an empty and B.S. one, but at least it sides with both common sense AND the freedoms this nation was built on. While it is true that Brentwood residents will only lower themselves to walking in a gas-less apocalypse, this at least focusses on safety and not mis-assigning the freedom of the press a label as a merchant.

By: budlight on 7/8/11 at 9:22

dargent7 on 7/8/11 at 6:47
So, these Brentwood residents are so "high profile"?
Are they rich or something? All white? Republicans?
Just wondering.

I know some rich, white Democrats. As a matter of fact, the top 10 richest in Congress shows that the top 7 are democrats (and I think they are all white).

Cookie47 on 7/8/11 at 9:26
Dargent, perhaps I should move to Sylvan Park and drive all the Dems crazy as I'm a Constitutionalist Conservative. As for the "Not ONE Black/ Latino/ Chinese family." You might want to keep that quiet, Antioch is listening. They'll try to move in next door.

Cookie, ha, ha. I wanted to move to Sylvan Park for the same reason, however, the "rich, white (only) left wing, liberal nutcakes have driven the home prices up so high that only they (rich white left wing, liberal nutcakes) can afford to buy over there.

I'm actually on a mission to get some of the section 8 housing re-allocated to Sylvan Park; they need a little diversity and balance over "thare"!

To macjedi: The only thing common about common sense is that there is no common sense. Look around you at the people who are running our country, our state, our city, our schools and our lives!!!!!

By: Cookie47 on 7/8/11 at 9:41

Budlight,

I've driven through Sylvan Park several times and never got the impression it was white only. Parts of it actually seemed pretty run down but, of course, I use to live in Brentwood. (Thank God that's over with. Yes, Dems, I mentioned GOD. Get over it.)

Now that I know it's all Democrat, I'll crank up a little Trace Adkins next time I ride through there with my windows down and put an "ANYBODY BUT OBAMA" sign on the sides of my pickup.

By: silverhaired on 7/8/11 at 10:06

Interestingly, it doesn't appear that the ACLU has a problem with The Contributor violating the same first amendment rights of its vendors.

According to The Contributor website, it requires its vendors to agree to a basic code-of-conduct that includes the following:

5. I understand that, in most cases, there are no set territories among vendors, and selling is allowed on a first-come, first-serve basis. I will respect the space of other vendors and remain one linear block away from other vendors whenever I am engaged in selling the newspaper. I understand that territories may be earned by meeting certain sales goals each month. If I am selling in a location that is another vendor’s official territory while they are absent, I will move on if they arrive.

8. I will only purchase the paper from The Contributor staff, and I will not sell or give papers to other vendors or non-vendors who intend to sell them.

Seems like the management of The Contributor does have a problem curtailing their vendors' rights to distribute and share the paper anywhere the vendor desires.

Wonder when the ACLU will file a lawsuit arguing that the Contributor vendor code-of-conduct violates the guarantees of the First Amendment’s freedom of press and speech .

By: Cookie47 on 7/8/11 at 10:30

Silverhaired,

It'll have to fit the ACLU's political agenda before they'll file suit. If this were Old Hickory or Bellevue, the ACLU probably won't touch this story. Since it's Brentwood, the richest city in the richest county in Tennessee, BINGO, the ACLU either sees money to go away or a way to make money from winning a lawsuit.

It all boils down to is money and power for the ACLU. They could care less than a rat's ass about the homeless people trying to sell this paper. After reading the Contributor's code-of-conduct you posted, I get the feeling their management is in the same boat with the ACLU.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/8/11 at 11:25

By: budlight on 7/8/11 at 10:22

Cookie, ha, ha. I wanted to move to Sylvan Park for the same reason, however, the "rich, white (only) left wing, liberal nutcakes have driven the home prices up so high that only they (rich white left wing, liberal nutcakes) can afford to buy over there.

Thank God!

The Sylvan Park Community

By: Captain Nemo on 7/8/11 at 11:28

Oxymoron

By: budlight on 7/8/11 at 10:22

To macjedi: The only thing common about common sense is that there is no common sense. Look around you at the people who are running our country, our state, our city, our schools and our lives!!!!!

By: tomba1 on 7/8/11 at 11:31

If you hit 'em in the street - worth 1 point

get 'em on the sidewalk - worth 3 points

high score wins dinner at mere bulles!!

ready, aim, fire !!!

By: tomba1 on 7/8/11 at 11:34

Forgot - take out an aclu lawyer with 'em - TRIPLE POINTS !!

By: Cookie47 on 7/8/11 at 11:55

Budlight, would they ask my political affiliation before they'd let me buy a house?

That's discrimination!!! Maybe the ACLU will file a lawsuit on my behalf.

By: budlight on 7/8/11 at 12:43

Cookie47, that is so funny. Did you see what comrad Capt Nemo posted? He's so funny! Guess you'll have to try a realtor to see if they matter of factly bring up "politics" or church or anything that can stir up trouble. (just kidding capt - don't get hot over that comment).

Have a blessed day.

Tomba1 be careful or the "don't say what you think" squad will come after you for joking around like that!

By: localboy on 7/8/11 at 12:47

By: Cookie47 on 7/8/11 at 8:22

"Dargent, having once lived in Brentwood I can tell you the residence are not high profile but like to think they are and are not rich. Instead, most are in hock up to their eyeballs. They are not all but mostly white and, unfortunately, not all Republican."
We resemble that remark! ;)
d7, Capt Nemo - good posts.

By: shef2 on 7/8/11 at 6:58

The people who sell the "Contributor" that I've met have all been very nice, & are simply trying to make a better life for themselves, & others. I see nothing wrong with that....

By: Cookie47 on 7/11/11 at 6:37

Shef, there is nothing wrong with that as long as they aren't playing in traffic in the process. I can guarantee you if one these people gets hit and killed, the ACLU would screaming $900 worth of hell and suing the driver even if it was the Contributor seller's fault.

By: localboy on 7/11/11 at 8:39

From the Brentwood Home Page:
"City Manager Mike Walker said Friday that the code was written in 1969 and basically had not been reviewed until independent contractors selling The Contributor newspaper were recently warned, then cited by Brentwood Police for selling to people in moving vehicles, creating a potential safety problem.

Under this exemption, the sale of newspapers on public sidewalks would be protected. It should also be noted that the City does not regulate or restrict the sale of newspapers on private property, although newspaper vendors would need the property owner's permission."
Sounds like a burning issue deserving of the ACLU's attention (if they're looking for a puff-piece case they have no intention of winning but plan on using for media mileage). :)

By: tgm6004 on 7/11/11 at 1:47

simply trying to make a life for themselves my ass
this makes our city looks like its full of trash and beggers
and yes who is making money printing the paper
this is just another panhaneling scam on the public
get off my streets and out of my city and take the friggin liberals with you

By: localboy on 7/11/11 at 2:14

Well, that reduces the population by about 103 - one hundred panhandlers and three friggin liberals.
Now, if you had asked to run out of town everyone who bought their car without the turn-signal option...

By: Cookie47 on 7/11/11 at 2:35

If you want to reduce the population of Nashville and the state, here's a great idea!!! We need a law like they're talking of doing in Alabama to get rid of the illegals. Hell, Antioch and Nolensville Road would be a virtual ghost town if the illegals left, especially if they took their baby-dads, baby-momas, and anchor babies with them.

Viva La Get the Hell Out!!!!