Town Square

Hand outs to the Public?

Original post made by Fireman, another community, on Nov 2, 2007

Does a person need a permit to hand out written material to the public?
I have a hand out that inclueds,my writings,copies of Emails,newspaper stories,photo's and other written material.
Would I need a permit to hand these out on the street?
What about going door to door?


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Posted by qq
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 2, 2007 at 9:54 am

Web Link

You need a solicitors permit in Palo Alto.

I have the sample printed out and hanging on the back of my front door. I flash it to all solicitors and call PAPD when they don't have one.

It is great fun.


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Posted by Fireman
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2007 at 10:37 am

Thanks very much.

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Posted by Carly
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Nov 2, 2007 at 10:46 am

Fireman should get a permit if he just wants no hassle. But there is a clear First Amendment issue that he could pursuem since the law is unclar on whether he can be required to get a permit to hand out information. Fireman wants to hand out information - not collect contributions.

The Supreme Court has limited the ability of local governments to place restrictions on his right to dispense information. Should Palo Alto attempt to sanction him for not having a door-to-door permit, he could challenge them. I don't know how the case would come out, but he might win. Would be expensive, but maybe the ACLU could help him out.

You may have noted that during this election season, candidates and their supporters have been going door-to-door handing out literature. I don't think they have permits...and I don't think they are required to. (Does anyone know whether candidates have permits in PA?) Fireman should be treated no differently.

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Posted by Fireman
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2007 at 11:36 am

Thank you also..

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 2, 2007 at 2:29 pm

Virtually all the PAUSD and city council campaigns have volunteers placing brochures and fliers underneath our doormats repeatedly(not using mailboxes) so I assume this is legal without a "permit?"

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Posted by Free speech
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2007 at 3:48 pm

You do NOT need a permit to distribute literature.
BUT, Do not put anything into mailboxes, they are reserved for the Post Office.
You can stand anywhere and hand out literature or leave papers
on people's doorsteps or near the front door.
A permit is for SOLICITING and if you are not doing that, you don't need one.
Assuming you are not causing any trouble, no one will bother you.
Why are some of you giving him a bad time?

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Posted by Fireman
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2007 at 4:30 pm

Thank you Free Speech..
It is ok. Human nature I guess? I think I know what is right and what is wrong.
I do not think it takes someone very smart to know that the people running this City are not the kind/type of people who should be allowed to hold any public office or any position of power.
I truely feel that if this was a private corp, people would be doing time.
I spent most of my life helping people. Enjoyed it very much.
Until it started to take its toll. The work was hard,hours long.
I saw and did things that I wish I could forget. Human life is so fragile and the things that people do to each other so very cruel and upsetting. To see a young child lose his parent in a accident,See a family lose a loved one far before there time in a painful manner. Hurts very deeply.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Most people want to talk,sit at there computer and hide. Someone must stand up. Funny how if the shoe was on the other foot, wonder what they would be thinking and feeling.
I would bet that some of these people who find it so easy to criticise and pass judgement with out even knowing a small part of, let alone the whole story. Would be singing a differant tune.
I would bet that these people who throw stones and do not want to hear the truth, I have helped them or someone that they know while I worked for the City of Palo Alto.

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Posted by Fireman
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2007 at 4:32 pm

Thanks for the ACLU advise.. I think i will send them a copy.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 3, 2007 at 1:58 pm

As a courtesy, if you are handing out tracts and the majority of recipients are discarding them carelessly you should feel obligated to police the area, but non-commercial speach cannot be limited. It is a pity a union member seems not to be represented by his union.

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Posted by Fireman
a resident of another community
on Nov 3, 2007 at 3:21 pm

Walter; Unions are only as good as the people who run them and the people who are in them.
It is part the members fault that this has gone on.
Most members do not want to upset the City. You will pay for it if you do next contract time.
They also do not want to make waves. It is go to work do as little as you have to, get your pay check.
There is so much information out there on what has been going on. Most people are afraid to look, or do not want to do anything about it. So they do not want to know or do not think they can make a change so they look the other way.
This is what will make America not so great.
One big part of the story here is that the Union leader and select union members got benifits from playing a long with the City.
Look at the Sandbag scam..

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 4, 2007 at 1:50 am

Unions would be more representative of the membership if they could not compel membership. With compulsory union membership the union is just one more boss.