In business, no one gets a free lunch. In Aurora, Torstar EATS OUR lunch.
Let’s get rid of unwanted grocery flyers being masqueraded as a “free” newspaper. Let’s force the publishers to get explicit permission to drop this stuff in our driveway even when we are on vacation.
The Romans decreed: “semper usura reddit hominem”… The User always PAYS!
BUT, in Aurora and all of York Region and all of Ontario, the user does NOT always pay.
Torstar owns community newspapers, but when it describes its “Businesses” it says…
Metroland Media is one the largest distributors of flyers, circulars and product samples in Canada. With almost total coverage of households throughout central and eastern Ontario, combined with delivery verification systems, Metroland Media excels at delivering advertisers’ flyers to their customers.
Torstar, through its Newmarket/Aurora Era-Banner, delivered Thursdays, circulation: 45,700… alone drops 91,400 POUNDS of advertising newsprint every week, 46 TONS of free-cycling per week, 2,392 TONS PER YEAR or 4,784,000 POUNDS ANNUALLY… material recycled at a cost to the town with no chargeback to Torstar.
Since 2017, it has been illegal for you or any company to send an electronic EMAIL to a prospective customer without proven EXPLICIT prior approval, and every company today has to collect and maintain records for every email address to prove they got explicit approval from the owner before they send any email. Soon, every business will have to TAKE BACK anything…packaging, etc. for everything they sell.
BUT, any company TODAY is free to put together 2 pounds of “printed emails” and drop them in a person’s driveway when they are on vacation and NO APPROVAL IS REQUIRED. In fact, it is up to YOU, to work at finding out how to turn OFF delivery and then to follow up when they fail to do so.
Newspapers kill trees by the millions. Trees clean our air for us. Newspapers make for dirtier air around the world. And I won’t get into what the bleach used to make white paper does to our world. Or the non-recyclable plastic bags they use.
And now, here is the non-intuitive result…. free community newspapers NEVER write articles on PROBLEMS in town with staff or politicians at Town Halls. We get “puff pieces”, articles making it sound like everything is rosy at every Town Council. NO scandles. No scams. No staff abuses.
Towns allow free delivery to occur, despite homeowner apathy and disgust and headaches, because it guarantees positive press coverage of town issues and events and free columns for politicians (Mrakas, Dawe, Mrakas’ wife) to beat their own drums.
Towns buy LOTS of ads, EVERY WEEK. So, the paper does NOT want to lose that client.
Residents, meanwhile, look to newspaper reporters to alert them to issues needing their attention. Well, those people who DO READ them look for that. Let’s face it, few people read the free bundle of grocery coupons. Many of us simply pick it up all wet and soaking inside an OPEN plastic bag and we throw it as is into the blue box. That is easier than trying to get it shut off, which if you try…. is not easy…. it SHOULD be easy, but it is not.
So, Torstar drops 4.8 million pounds of “free-cycling” per year in Newmarket/Aurora alone for free, gets revenue from advertisers, then pays nothing to have it picked up, and in exchange, the Town gets glowing articles every week on how good a job the politicians are doing.
Bob… proof… where is your proof?
Easy…. in the last year I have been copying two reporters by email on every aspect of my issues with corruption and abuse at the Town of Aurora. I and Denis Van Decker have given them detailed stories on how the ex-manager of Bylaws, Mandie Eddie, has been sued 3 times in 12 months in the Superior Court of Ontario by taxpayers taken to court by her statements alone. Not one critical article appeared on ANYTHING in those 12 months. NONE.
Did you know we sued our Town Bylaws Manager, Mandie Eddie, for abuses… by NAME?
Then… last year in one of the FREE advertising columns they give the Mayor, Jeff Dawe, he rhapsodized how the Council wanted to increase cash collected WITHOUT raising taxes. He explicitly invited the taxpayers to come to Council with their ideas. Torstar gives him a free column to boost his political prowess in the minds of readers. He got ONE person at Council as offered… ME! I spoke for 5 minutes and told him how to collect $1.2 MILLION every 4 year Council term by simply telling the now ex-Bylaws Manager, Mandie Eddie, to sell pet tags to all the owners in town. Right now, 10% of pet owners buy tags, leaving $300,000 behind every year. Why so low? Because owners get NOTHING for their money. No comfortable off leash parks, nothing, not even a trash can, water or a simple streetlight for winter evenings at the single dog park.
Bob… PROOF!…how can you just say things like that?… Simple, it is true, and it was announced THIS year that, quelle surpris!, Aurora will PAY a 3rd party to walk door to door and sell 100% of pet tags. What a coincidence… I speak when asked, I give them an easy $1.2 million over each Council term, they ignore me, ask not one question, and then use the idea a year later, but corrupt it by PAYING to do what any service club in town would do in exchange for the “home delivery” charge in the bylaw. Then they STILL do not thank me for showing up as the only one of 55,000 residents asked.
Am I angry? No, chagrined. A polite French word meaning I am so pissed off I will get revenge.
So, back to free newspapers… I propose:
- An immediate declaration by the Town that: a) Free newspapers make profits yet they cost the Town money to recycle. Taxpayers then pay higher taxes for recycling services inflated by the sheer weight and volume of free papers. b) Newspapers are required to use their profits to maintain a computerized subscription system just as for paid newspapers. Any address NOT in the subscription master file cannot be given a paper. c) Papers will pay fines for failing to follow b).
- An immediate bylaw stating nothing can be “dropped” in any driveway or on the porch without an annual permit with a cost based on the weight of recycling per year (for the year AHEAD) to cover garbage disposal costs and a component of profit for the Town. That permit can be withdrawn at any time for failure to follow ALL the rules ALL the time. There is to be no appeal. Dropping papers without a permit will be ticketed at $1,000 PER ADDRESS.
- An immediate requirement that, EVEN WITH THE PERMIT, the “dropper” must collect and maintain records of PROOF, explicit approval in writing or by email from EVERY home owner dropped on agreeing to SUBSCRIBE to the free paper. The records MUST include all UNSUBSCRIBE requests as well. Homeowner name, not a resident name… the OWNER must be contacted. No loopholes allowed. On demand, Torstar MUST provide a highly visible yet attractive sticker for a garage door meaning “NO FREE PAPERS ALLOWED”. This is used at the OPTION Of the homeowner, with or without explicitly unsubscribing. Every delivery person has to look at EVERY garage door before dropping a paper, they cannot simply idle down the road on the wrong side of the road tossing papers over the roof of their vehicle. I can’t hold a cell phone and drive, but Torstar drivers can drive one handed, reading a “do not deliver” list on their lap, grab papers into a bag, and toss papers over the roof to the right side of the vehicle.. go figure.
- Every issue dropped MUST contain, ON THE FRONT PAGE at the bottom, instructions on HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE. ” To UNSUBSCRIBE, a) simply leave the paper in the driveway for next week, or b) call 905-789-9876 for immediate processing directly to the delivery driver that same day.”
- A bylaws fine will be charged in the amount of $100 for each occurrence of a) an unwanted delivery, or b) a wet delivery. A simple photograph of TWO issues for 2 successive weeks, or one wet paper residing in the driveway is all the proof required. The $100 gets split $75 to the homeowner, $25 to the Town so they have proof of how successful the new bylaw is. The more money they get, the less successful is the program. The fine doubles for that homeowner for each successive failure. So the second failure to the same house costs $200, the 3rd $400, the 4th $800, etc. The homeowner gets 75%, the Town 25%.
Why will this work?
Money! Follow the money. Torstar makes BIG revenues, big enough to run the Banner and pay reporters and pay printers and delivery people and make a profit on their investment better than they can get from the bank for a term deposit. All the while they will whine they are providing an essential service. Maybe they did BEFORE the Internet. Not now.
When Torstar starts paying weight-based fees to distribute “free” paid advertising, and then pays $100 and more for each failure to maintain valid subscription records, they will smarten up. They already have a paid subscription computer system, all they need do is establish the free papers at zero costs and register people the same way. They do not take on any more expense than for a paid subscriber.
I give up… How can I help, Bob?
Copy/Paste this article to your politicians, your town staff, your police department, take one to the manager at your grocery or shoe store. Yes, police should be forced (pun intended) to address why they allow drivers of delivery vehicles to behave so recklessly.
Send me an email at email@example.com telling me of any success you have.
I know this is a very timely idea MANY people will love to see in place.
I also know how difficult it is to get action from that same group of people. We then tend to assume “someone else will get it done!”
But, with no action coming from YOU, it will never get done. YOU are the key.
Care! Do something to get this idea adopted.
The environment will thank you.
I will thank you.
Your OTHER neighbours will thank you.
Use THIS LINK to search all flyers by product code or brand... so much easier than reading a bundle of flyers.