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The environmental movement grows increasingly authoritarian in its tendencies and proposals.  Today, in the San Francisco Chronicle, local Green bullies tout a proposal to outlaw the free distribution of the Yellow Pages.  From the column by SF Supervisor David Chiu (and two others):

San Francisco could come closer to winning an environmental victory while also fighting neighborhood blight and helping the economy. Legislation slated for a vote today at the Board of Supervisors meeting would make San Francisco the first city in the nation to prevent the mass over-distribution of unwanted Yellow Pages phone books. More than 1.6 million Yellow Pages directories are piled in doorways, stashed in apartment lobbies and left on sidewalks annually. That’s nearly two Yellow Pages directories for every man, woman and child in San Francisco - and nearly five for each residence.

The legislation, which creates a three-year pilot program, is aimed at getting Yellow Pages into the hands of real users, not imaginary ones. As the Green Chamber of Commerce notes in supporting this legislation, when a business calls and asks for the cost of an ad in the Yellow Pages, the price is justified by the high distribution numbers, which of course ignore the fact that most directories go straight to the recycling bin or the trash can. But the proposal is not a ban - anyone who wants a Yellow Pages directory will still be able to receive one, in part with the help of a robust outreach program designed to make sure that people who want one know how to request it.

What typical authoritarian nonsense from SF’s radical politicians that will materially damage a legitimate business for purely ideological reasons. First, the costs of printing the YP will shoot up if many tens of thousands fewer are printed.  Second, the YP won’t be able to sell ads—or at least, not for a profitable price—if they are barred from distributing the YPs as they see fit.  Third, the Greenies are going to destroy the livelihood of poor people who distribute the YPs.  Fourth, they are also going to deleteriously impact the profitability of the printers and reduce the income of sales persons who sell the ads. Fifth, this proposal again illustrates that the Left isn’t interested in freedom, so much as it is the exercise of raw power.

I know that the Yellow Pages are doomed by technology.  I am sure the managers of the YP do too.  But the free market will handle that transition from paper to online—which is already happening—without undue government intrusion and enterprise stifling bureaucratic regulation.

And it’s not as if there aren’t real problems in SF that desperately need solving—starting with crime, the filth on Market Street, a budget debacle, and the continual harassment of the tourists (The City’s lifeblood) by beggars.  But count on the political leaders of SF to go charging after ideological enemies rather than dealing with the real issues that require proper local governance.

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