City Hall

Council Delays Vote on Yellow-Pages Regulations

By Erica C. Barnett October 4, 2010

In a divided vote, the city council just decided to wait a week before voting on council member Mike O'Brien's legislation creating a city-run registry allowing residents to opt out of receiving yellow pages phone books, creating a new city license for phone-book companies, and imposing a fee on companies that deliver phone books to people who ask not to receive them.

Responding to concerns from groups like the Greater Seattle Business Association that their business directories might, under the definition in O'Brien's proposal, be considered "yellow pages" (the ordinance applies to any publication that "includes a listing of business names and telephone numbers and contains display advertising for at least some of those businesses"), Bagshaw proposed waiting a week to "deal with the definitions so that confidence is restored" that the legislation won't apply to non-yellow-pages publications.

"My read of [the language] is that it could be so broad that we have an unintended consequence of bringing in people we do not want to bring in under the definition of yellow pages," Bagshaw said.

O'Brien protested, noting that "we have a pretty short window to [get the registry started] in 2011," saving a potential $350,000 in reduced recycling costs.

The four members who voted against delaying O'Brien's legislation were O'Brien, Richard Conlin, Nick Licata, and Tim Burgess. Of the five who voted for delay, Jean Godden said she would vote no, Tom Rasmussen said he would vote yes, and Bagshaw appeared to be leaning in favor; the other two did not make comments one way or another.
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