14 April, 2007

Expect more of this

I had pushed the bell before I had read the sign fully.

Should I high-tail it before anyone came to the door, or should I stand my ground? Normally I ignore the 'No junk mail' signs, as I'm sure most of us do. I stood my ground. I could hear footsteps. I took a deep breath.

"Hi ya doing, sorry about that, I hadn't read the sign before I pushed your bell."

"Oh, don't mind that sign, that's only the husband, he gets these notions, and printed out the sign."


"I'm from the Green Party, I'm Ciarán Cuffe, one of your TDs, and I'm just calling by with a newsletter.

"Oh, the Greens, come on in, this is a green house here. He put the sign up because of that other fellah that keeps calling by, morning, noon and night.

I broke one of the cardinal rules of canvassing and stepped across the threshold.

"What a nice house"

"It's one of these Coillte Griffner timber houses, isn't it lovely?"

And, indeed it was. Rule two of canvassing. Listen to the voter, don't talk at them. The house WAS beautiful; timber-frame, lots of light, a bright stairwell filling the house with light.

"We built it in the side-garden, and then decided to move into ourselves."

And that's why a fifth of the new homes in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown are being squeezed onto these infill sites, alongside existing homes. It's a great solution to providing a house for the son or daughter, and allows them to live close to their parents in the neighbourhood where they grew up. It also beats being squeezed into one of the shoe-box apartments that seem to be replacing houses all around the County. Some guidelines on infill development wouldn't be any harm, but in general these side-garden homes work out well.

Anyway, after the full tour of the house - ("lovely kitchen, but too many windows, and not enough storage...") I made my excuses and headed away. The rest of the team were two roads on at this stage, and reminded me (again) never to spend more than two minutes at a door. A pleasant encounter, and a nice snapshot of canvassing on a sunny Friday afternoon in April 2007

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do Not Mail Opt-Out Law would be fair to everyone.

The proposed recent "Do not mail" is an Opt-Out law. Only those not desiring advertising mail need opt-out. Anyone desiring advertising mail can do nothing - and continue to receive it. Why deny those wishing to avoid advertising mail the power to do so?

I do not consider handling unwanted advertising placed against my will on my personal property to be a civic obligation!

The US Supreme Court said in the Rowan case in 1970, ““In today's [1970] complex society we are inescapably captive audiences for many purposes, but a sufficient measure of individual autonomy must survive to permit every householder to exercise control over unwanted mail. To make the householder the exclusive and final judge of what will cross his threshold undoubtedly has the effect of impeding the flow of ideas, information, and arguments that, ideally, he should receive and consider. Today's merchandising methods, the plethora of mass mailings subsidized by low postal rates, and the growth of the sale of large mailing lists as an industry in itself have changed the mailman from a carrier of primarily private communications, as he was in a more leisurely day, and have made him an adjunct of the mass mailer who sends unsolicited and often unwanted mail into every home. It places no strain on the doctrine of judicial notice to observe that whether measured by pieces or pounds, Everyman's mail today is made up overwhelmingly of material he did not seek from persons he does not know. And all too often it is matter he finds offensive.”

Furthermore, the Supreme Court said, “the mailer's right to communicate is circumscribed only by an affirmative act of the addressee giving notice that he wishes no further mailings from that mailer.

To hold less would tend to license a form of trespass and would make hardly more sense than to say that a radio or television viewer may not twist the dial to cut off an offensive or boring communication and thus bar its entering his home. Nothing in the Constitution compels us to listen to or view any unwanted communication, whatever its merit; we see no basis for according the printed word or pictures a different or more preferred status because they are sent by mail.”

We need a nationwide “Do Not Mail” law to create a one-stop, convenient place for homeowners to give senders the aforementioned affirmative notice that we do not want certain kinds of mail sent to our homes.


Ramsey A Fahel