Hell hath no fury like a woman who keeps getting the Press-Register’s sack of ads (aka “Gulf Coast Life: The Source of Entertainment, Shopping and Life on the Gulf Coast and Beyond”) thrown in her driveway every Tuesday morning, even though she has ONCE AGAIN taken time out of her day to call their stupid number, only to be placed on hold forever and then FINALLY told by someone who sounds like they are in some call center in a land far, far away that it would be discontinued immediately.

She would even receive an email confirmation of this, she was told. But of course she never did. And of course she once again received this “source of entertainment, shopping, life AND LITTER” the very next week. And this was after this woman’s husband, who was finishing up an early morning run and saw the toss in action, was also able to personally tell the delivery person that the driveway of the home she was throwing said sack of trash into was ALREADY on the “DO NOT DELIVER” list and to please not do it again.

This woman is also furious that these clowns are also mindlessly throwing these garbage bags into the lots of clearly vacant homes near her, so not only does she have to pick up those bags in addition to her own and toss them (and hopefully before a rainstorm carries them into the drain), she has to also try to get in touch with the owners of said vacant homes, so they can call and ask for this to be discontinued as well. Even if she can reach them, their requests, if anything like hers, will not be honored anyway.

All of the time and effort it takes to “opt out” from having a private, for-profit business throw garbage into her yard really makes her mad, especially since she has already gone through this ridiculous, burdensome process once. It is also infuriating that these “sad sacks” are supposed to be thrown into yards, not sidewalks or “driveway aprons,” as dictated by council ordinance, but they are not. Drive around early one morning and look.

Yes, all of this gets her fired up but what gets her really angry is she knows that since her neighborhood is bordered by Three Mile Creek, there is absolutely no question these turquoise bags of crap will end up there soon. She knows this because when she takes walks with her children to Tricentennial Park she still sees them lining the banks in all of their faded, half-decomposed glory.

And this is when she wants to pick up the turquoise bag and puke in it, because she is sickened not only by the trash but also by her city leaders who CLAIM they also hate litter as much as she does, but who continue to allow a private company to distribute this garbage in a city surrounded by water.

This woman, as I am sure you have guessed by now, is me, and I kind of felt bad for myself until I was relating this story in the office and heard the insane process our editorial assistant had to got through to get hers from being delivered at her Midtown home on Hannon Avenue.

It took SEVEN weeks and calls each of those weeks for them to finally stop throwing it into her driveway. She was even told there were “two lists” — one for people who call once and complain and the other for people who call repeatedly. The first list apparently never gets you taken off; you have to make it to the second list. But since she had to call for six more weeks it’s not really clear how long that takes either. In the process of dealing with this she was given a woman’s name to call in New Orleans. Yes, New Orleans. Not here, you know,  where the problem is occurring.

Sigh.

No other type of business would ever be allowed to do this in a million years, but the great big bullies at Newhouse who own al.com and the Press-Register threatened to sue the city if they weren’t allowed to throw these, citing their First Amendment rights, saying it would ban “protected speech.”

Look, I am obviously a huge fan of the First Amendment and believe in its protection, but hiding behind it in this case is a TOTAL misuse and bastardization.

Let’s just examine what “speech” they needed to use their First Amendment right to protect in today’s trash sack, while presumably telling us about life here on the Gulf Coast since we all know it is “The Source of Entertainment, Shopping and Life on the Gulf Coast and Beyond.”

Let’s just say it’s heavy on the “BEYOND,” since this week’s important, free speech-protected, Gulf Coast-centric articles included one on summer movies from the Los Angeles Times, another on the 50th anniversary of “Star Trek” from the Fresno Bee and two recipes — one from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the other from the Chicago Tribune.

So, yes, they have really captured the essence of Gulf Coast life. And I am so glad our brave men and women in uniform can go to battle each day to protect the Press-Register’s right to distribute an article on how summer blockbuster sequels were pretty disappointing this year. Apparently “Suicide Squad’ just didn’t deliver.

Come on. No one is stupid here.  

This is not about the First Amendment. This is about making money. And it’s about making money at the expense of our environment. I am sure there are many chemical companies and plants around here who could make millions more dollars a year if they didn’t have to follow all of those pesky EPA regulations and requirements. I see no difference here, except those companies don’t have the First Amendment to fraudulently hide behind, nor do they have a mayor and City Council who are allowing them to freely pollute our community.

Look, I’m sure this newspaper could make money tossing out ad sacks and hide behind that bogus claim as well, but we don’t because our corporate headquarters are at 1100 Dauphin St. in Mobile, not Four Times Square in New York City. And we would be horrified to see plastic sacks of crap with our logo on it floating down our waterways. But hey, that’s just us. And just about every other business with a conscience.

If the Press-Register wants to keep doing this, it needs to be a total OPT-IN program, as they clearly can’t efficiently run the opt-out program. That “two list” thing they are running clearly demonstrates they do not care about adhering to the city’s ordinance at all. And citizens should not be compelled to have to waste their time and energy on having to try and “opt out” of a company’s money-making venture anyway. This is just ridiculous and enough is enough.

I have been impressed with what Mayor Stimpson and the council have done together for this city during his first term. It’s been amazing to watch. But letting these New York City billionaires destroy OUR environment to make another buck or two is an act of cowardice.

The toothless ordinance you passed last year is CLEARLY not working. It is time to add some venomous fangs to it. If they threaten you on it, then so be it. The city has lawyers, too. Fight them on this for the sake of our waterways, and to preserve our real “Gulf Coast Life.”