City Government

Stop The Press! Time For Paperless Legal Ads?

Banks, stock brokers and every service provider from cell phones to cable TV urge us to “go paperless.” Even news providers encourage us to “visit our website.”

All this got us to thinking about saving public money on legal ads–those notices about foreclosure of property, public auction sales, bankruptcies, and myriad other official notices full of small print posted in the local newspapers across the state and the nation.

The solution is obvious: Stop the press! Establish a central repository for legal ads, logically within the office of the Idaho Secretary of State. We are told Ada County Commish Rick Visser brought the idea before the Idaho Association of Counties, but the politicos were fearful of killing local newspapers which depend upon legal ad revenue. Ada County spent $42,000 during the 2017 fiscal year.

It makes no sense for local governments to prepare notices, upload them via a website to a newspaper that prints the notice. Far more people have internet access than subscribe to a newspaper.

Legal notices have to be published in the “newspaper of record.” To qualify for that official status, a paper must have a second class mailing permit and at least 25% editorial content. To get the permit the paper must have been published for at least a year. This rule has its roots with the beginning of the postal service. A printer named Ben Franklin needed a way to deliver his newspapers and the U.S. Postal service which he founded was the answer.

Its probably time to curtail the newspaper subsidy.

Airlines also were once subsidized by the Post Office. In fact, United Airlines can trace its roots to Boise and the first commercial airline license in 1926. Air mail carriers evolved into passenger carriers, thanks to postal subsidies. Today Fed-X carries most of the nation’s air mail rather than the airlines.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. No no, they want it hidden
    Dec 13, 2017, 7:02 pm

    The idea of people actually having easy electronic access to such notifications is undesirable for circumstances where they just want to sneak something through.

    Similarly, I’ve long been an advocated of eliminating several layers of representative bodies in favor of direct involvement by the people electronically. Amazon will soon be going to the Moon yet we still elect these dopes to represent us as if the Pony Express was or fastest communication.

    I do wish all criminal convictions as well as bankruptcy filings be posted and easy to find electronically. On the other hand, arrests should be held private until a crime is proven in courts.

  2. Bieter Begone
    Dec 14, 2017, 7:12 am

    Geez Dave, are you trying to put your former employer out of business? Without those legal ads, they couldn’t keep the two reporters they currently have.

    OTOH, if you don’t get the paper, you don’t see the legal ads. Win win for everyone!

  3. People of all income levels can find a newspaper (perhaps a little read, a few days old) but not everyone has easy access to computer/internet. And with the loss of Net Neutrality who knows what we will be able to access…. but it will be out there! You may not be able to find it, but it’s out there.

  4. Go Doug Jones
    Dec 18, 2017, 6:19 pm

    It is a bigger issue than paper or electronic. First you must know how to read.

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