May 17 2018 10:07 AM

Printed delivery materials

It happens every weekend. The neighborhoods bloom with plastic bags stuffed with some version of the Community News, published by Gannett and the Lansing State Journal. The bags are tossed haphazardly in yards, sidewalks and driveways. And City Councilmembers, the city attorney of Lansing and citizens have had enough.

Lansing City Councilwoman At-Large Carol Wood introduced an ordinance Monday that would allow the city to cite the publishers and distributors of such publications, including the infamous Yellow Pages book, for littering if the delivered product is not placed on a porch, a delivery box or on a poll of some sort designed for the delivery.

“We’ve had a number of complaints about, specifically, the Community Newspapers,” said Wood. “But the city attorney has told me our current littering ordinance can’t be used in this situation.”

City Attorney Jim Smiertka confirmed that was the case. He said this new ordinance would not violate the First Amendment, but it would require distributed items to be placed on porches, or a delivery box or pole of some sort.

Lisa McGraw, the Michigan Press Association’s public affairs manager, said the ordinance may be well meaning, but it raised constitutional concerns.

“Eventually, something like this will impact everyone.”

Gannett officials did not return email inquiries about the ordinance.

“Eyesore of the Week” is our weekly look at some of the seedier properties in Lansing. It rotates each with Eye Candy of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail eye@ or call Berl Schwartz at 999-5061.