San Bruno plans action against solicitors

Hurling bags stuffed with rocks at homes, the city says, is not a very polite way to advertise.

City Attorney Pamela Thompson has drafted a plan, which will likely be presented at a City Council meeting next month, prohibiting a particularly violent manner of distributing fliers. Some local businesses, mostly in the landscaping industry, have taken to stuffing handbills in plastic bags weighted with rocks, then throwing them on residential properties.

“My theory is that we all learned not to throw rocks in kindergarten, so the reason for prohibiting this manner of distribution speaks for itself,” Thompson said.

Tom Ho, owner of Professional Landscaping Services, said Thompson contacted him recently to discuss the issue. Ho said he already has many customers from working in San Bruno and other parts of the Bay Area for more than 15 years, and that word-of-mouth has been a good way to get the word out, anyway.

A number of complaints have filtered in to City Hall about this issue, along with complaints of overly aggressive door-to-door solicitors and sidewalk vendors sellingice cream in carts or strawberries in stands.

One resident, Scott Buschmann, told the City Council last month that these pushcart vendors should have proper permits and background checks.

While the city does require each pushcart vendor to be properly permitted, the general issue of solicitation was worth a revisit, Thompson said.

In addition to banning the so-called rock method of advertising, Thompson will also be presenting a draft ordinance that prohibits any solicitation, commercial or otherwise, at homes and properties that have a “no soliciting” sign up.

While existing ordinances require permits for commercial and sidewalk vendors, Thompson said the City Council may want to add additional permits to address safety concerns.

“These pushcart vendors are around a lot of children. It just makes sense to address that,” Thompson said.

tramroop@examiner.com

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