Goodlettsville leaders to decide on 'Contributor' ordinance
GOODLETTSVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
The Contributor is a fixture on the streets of Nashville. But outside the city's center, The Contributor continues to face some opposition, including now in Goodlettsville.
Goodlettsville commissioners could vote Thursday to limit sidewalk sales.
The city already has rules, but new ones would tighten them. Some suggest it's a way to target those who sell the nonprofit newspaper.
"I hate to hear that happen. The Contributor does a lot of things for many people, and it's helped me," said Contributor saleswoman Perian Walker.
A dollar at a time, a simple newspaper sale makes the difference for Perian Walker.
"I'm a functioning part of society," she said.
Part of the Goodlettsville ordinance reads:
"Such materials shall not be handed to the occupant of any motor vehicle that is on a street, nor shall any action be taken to cause the vehicle occupant to hand anything to the person selling or distributing the materials."
If it passes, those who violate the ordinance would face a $50 fine.
"It's not something I want the city of Goodlettsville to put their name on," said City Commissioner Zach Young.
Young was the only commissioner to vote against the ordinance during its first reading. For him, changing the rules targets the most vulnerable.
"It is something that will have consequences, whether intended or not, that are going to, No. 1, have a direct impact on someone's ability to put food in their mouth," he said.
Many see it simply as an issue of safety.
Vice Mayor Jane Birdwell voted for the ordinance the first time. Now, she may be wavering.
"I'm a little concerned about the structure of the ordinance, and I want to hear from the citizens [Thursday] night before I take a second vote," Birdwell said.
The board will hear public comment before it takes a final vote on a measure that has plenty of people watching.
"I think people just don't understand homelessness and that this paper does help you stay off the streets," Walker said.
The woman in charge of The Contributor declined an interview for this story but said by phone she hopes for a solution to benefit not only the city but also those supportive of efforts to curb homelessness.
The meeting gets underway Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
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