End to Examiner deliveries sought

Pikesville man asks for restraining order

November 03, 2006|By Nick Madigan | Nick Madigan,Sun reporter

Saying he cannot get The Examiner to stop throwing unwanted papers in his driveway each morning, a Baltimore lawyer has asked the Baltimore County Circuit Court for a temporary restraining order to force an end to the deliveries.

"They're trespassing, technically," said Joel L. Levin, referring to the carriers who deliver the papers in his Pikesville neighborhood. Almost a month ago, he said, he began calling the paper's circulation department to have them stopped, but they keep coming.

"There's no way to get through to these people," Levin said. "The girl who answers the phone says it'll be taken care of, and it doesn't work. Then they don't call back."

Messages left yesterday with Michael Phelps, The Examiner's publisher, and the paper's circulation office were not returned. A hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday.

The Examiner launched in Baltimore in April with a daily circulation of about 250,000. Unlike most metro daily newspapers, The Examiner distributes its product for free, blanketing homes in selected ZIP codes. The paper is owned by Denver-based billionaire Philip Anschutz, who also owns free daily papers in San Francisco and Washington - where residents have expressed similar complaints about unwanted issues.

The papers are not only litter, Levin said, but when he's out of town, an invitation to burglars. In court documents filed this week, Levin said he wants to go to Florida and that he's afraid of what will happen if The Examiner keeps coming.

"It's not just me," said Levin, who subscribes to The Sun and the business publication Barron's. "A lot of people around me are very frustrated. There's some irritation that we can't control the paper."

In Baltimore's Federal Hill neighborhood, residents have put signs in windows warning carriers to stop leaving The Examiner. "We have enough battles keeping our streets clean," said Keith Losoya, former president of the neighborhood association and a candidate for state Senate in the 46th District. "This periodical gets blown around and just adds to our trash issues."

In a column in the Oct. 26 edition of The Examiner, publisher Phelps appeared to acknowledge the complaints: "If we've failed to stop your delivery quickly, I'm truly sorry. We don't want you to get it if you won't read it."

Nick.Madigan@baltsun.com

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