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Weekly circulars in Hillcrest are nothing more than “litter” claim locals



In this paperless age of social media, when everyone gets inundated with ads online either in their newsfeeds or inbox, some wonder why plastic-bag flyers are still in existence, especially in San Diego, a city that prides itself on being environmentally progressive.

Each week the San Diego Union-Tribune delivers their “Local Community Values” publication to sidewalks and driveways to neighborhoods around town. Some say these circulars are nothing but litter which is not only unsightly but a safety hazard.

In a recent article written in The San Diego Reader, they point out a movement to rid America’s Finest City of these mini-publications delivered every Friday and Saturday since 1994.

La Mesa and Ocean Beach have taken action in the past to stop the deliveries and now some Hillcrest residents have joined in on trying to also make them a thing of the past in their neighborhood. 

Hillcrest resident Gregory May started a petition to rid the streets of the papers and has garnered 109 signatures out of the 200 he’s asking for.

The online petition states: “Every week, San Diego Union-Tribune’s “Local Community Values” is distributed along San Diego Streets. It is placed in the gutter or sidewalk and driveways of residences. It is an antiquated ‘style’ of advertising that is NOT environmentally friendly and NOT reaching anyone by remaining in the street, decomposing, ending up as litter and clogging up the storm drains. NO ONE WANTS THIS LITTER.

The Union-Tribune addressed the issue back in 2015 according to The Reader, saying “non-profits relied on the circular as an inexpensive way to advertise.”

The Reader then points out that they explored a recent issue delivered to Hillcrest in March which only had “four commercial advertisements, zero non-profit advertisements and a coupon book for one store.”

May’s petition offers instructions on opting out of the delivery and a phone number to complain although he claims that number doesn’t always work.

Some of the comments on the petition page, dated a year ago, agree that the papers are nothing more than garbage.

“Please stop trashing our street with your ‘Local Community Values’ no one picks them up, they stay sitting on our street for weeks until I go clean up the trash. We don’t want it or need it. STOP TRASHING OUR COMMUNITY!!” writes one impassioned supporter. 

Says another, “stop throwing your unsolicited trash on the curb at my house.”

As far as safety Ruth Sterling a former La Mesa Councilmember stated her concerns back in 2014 at a community meeting, saying stockpiles of the publication are “security risks as thieves and burglars realize no one is at home.”

When asked, a spokesperson at the City of San Diego Communications Department said that newspaper debris “is not an outsized problem relative to other litter.” He said homeowners should keep their properties clean and the city has a “comprehensive street cleaning program.” 

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