Lorain councilwoman wants to prohibit evening solicitors
Tuesday, April 18, 2000
By KAREN HENDERSON
PLAIN DEALER REPORTER
LORAIN - Door-to-door solicitors in the city of Lorain may be limited to daytime hours.
Legislation proposed by Councilwoman Anne Molnar and sent to a committee last night for further review would prevent solicitors from canvassing residents after sundown. Supporters of a ban on the manufacture of beryllium in the city say the legislation is aimed at them, an accusation Molnar denies.
Molnar said she proposed the legislation because she had received complaints from elderly residents who objected to being disturbed by nighttime solicitors for Ohio Citizen Action, the group seeking support for the ban.
"But Iím not singling out any particular organization," Molnar said. "It would apply to everyone."
Amy Ryder, Cleveland-area director of Ohio Citizen Action, said, "I absolutely do think this is aimed at us."
Ryder said the law was an attempt to keep her group of environmental activists from canvassing during the hours when most residents are at home. Citizen Action has been passing out information, gathering names on a petition and soliciting funds in support of a beryllium ban.
Ryder said the group goes door to door between 4 and 9 p.m. She said it had fought and won similar attempts to limit canvassing hours in Avon Lake, Olmsted Falls and Rocky River. Such a limitation would violate the groupís constitutional rights, she said.
Councilwoman Kathy Tavenner agrees that Molnarís legislation is an attempt to make it more difficult for supporters of the beryllium ban to get the word out.
Tavenner also said limiting the hours for solicitation would present a problem for politicians, who also do most of their campaigning in the evenings.
Tavenner proposed the beryllium ban now pending before City Council because she is afraid that Brush Wellman Inc., the largest manufacturer of beryllium in the country, might decide to manufacture the product at its plant in the Lorain Industrial Park. The ban would be the first of its kind in the country, lawyers for the city have said.
Brush Wellman, with headquarters in Cleveland, manufactures beryllium and beryllium compounds used in a variety of products from nuclear weapons to cell phones and sensors for airbags.
Company officials point out that the company has not manufactured beryllium in Lorain since its old plant burned in 1948, and they say they have no plans to manufacture beryllium here.
But Tavenner wants to make sure the company cannot change its mind.
When beryllium was manufactured in Lorain in the 1940s, workers and residents living near the W. 1st St. plant became ill. Exposure to beryllium dust causes a fatal illness called chronic beryllium disease and lung cancer.
©2000 THE PLAIN DEALER. Used with permission.