Why are LeLand Yee and the Seattle City Council so anti-small business?
I’ve got to get this off my chest.
We just finished one of the nastiest midterm election campaigns I can recall.
The commentator on NPR (pretty sure it wasn’t Juan Williams) said that over $4 Billion was spent on the campaign.
$4 Billion ! ! !
To put it in perspective, that’s nearly half as much as ALL of the businesses in America spent last year on Yellow Pages advertising COMBINED.
Recently, the Yellow Pages industry has been under assault for being wasteful and for causing undue recycling costs on municipalities.
Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) not pictured here, tried unsuccessfully to pass legislation curtailing the distribution of directories and requiring consumer opt-in to receive directories that were previously mass distributed.
Separately, the city of Seattle passed legislation requiring Yellow Pages publishers to pay advance fees for recycling costs of directories. These costs will add around $1 million to the companies publishing in Seattle. Those fees will be passed on to the small business advertisers.
Their argument is that printed directories are wasteful, unwanted, and are a drain on the garbage system.
The thing that the politicians miss is that directories drive substantial local business activity, and curtailing directories would suppress the local economy.
Follow my hillbilly logic.
1. Local businesses underwrite the entire cost of compiling, editing, proofing, printing, and distributing the Yellow Pages. The only funding for the books comes from local businesses.
Fun Fact: More American businesses advertise in local directories than in all other media, online and traditional, COMBINED.
2. Local businesses are VERY SOPHISTICATED advertisers.
Anyone who claims that local business owners stupidly advertise in directories has never made a living selling ANYTHING to local businesses.
I contend that if you can survive getting local business owners to take money out of their pocket and give it to you year after year, you must deliver a damn good product or service.
3. The business generated by advertising would not otherwise occur.
If advertising isn’t necessary, why did the politicians just spend $4 Billion to get elected?
4. Asking consumers to opt-in to receive a local resource that has been freely distributed since 1878 is like asking residents to begin voluntarily funding the local libraries, police, and fire services (or politician’s salaries and benefits).
People rarely take action, even when it benefits them.
5. Yellow Pages publishers are privately held companies who make no money publishing directories that are not used.
The profit motive alone will do more to reduce waste than any legislation.
6. If directories cease to deliver profitable customers, the businesses will stop advertising.
When the businesses stop advertising, the books disappear naturally.
While the Yellow Pages might be an easy political football to kick, the Seattle City Council’s and Senator Yee’s stances are decidedly anti-small business.
Ask Californians and see if they are more annoyed by the barrage of political campaign ads or by receiving a printed reference directory of businesses serving their neighborhood.
I’d bet that more Californians would prefer to limit campaign advertising than to handcuff the local employers by limiting their affordable advertising choices.
Senator Yee, what have you done to build small businesses in San Francisco?
Where are the new jobs so necessary for economic recovery?
How are you helping displaced workers open up businesses and become good taxpayers?
How does reducing small business advertising spur the local economy?
I’d love to see exactly how Senator Yee spent his campaign funds and what measures he took to ensure that he did not print, mail, or distribute his campaign message to San Francisco residents who were not interested in hearing from him.
Just one man’s opinion.