Oakland's Push To Ban Donation Boxes Violates Operators' First Amendment Rights

RICHMOND, CA, USA, April 25, 2014 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Oakland’s recent attempt to regulate unattended donation boxes out of business and to temporarily entirely ban any new box in the city infringes upon Campus California’s and other operators First amendment rights.

Oakland’s recent attempt to regulate unattended donation boxes out of business and to temporarily entirely ban any new box in the city infringes upon Campus California’s and other operators' First amendment rights.

The city claims the boxes are a source of uncontained trash/blight, but the city has not provided any documentation of complaints. The Unattended collection boxes being targeted are set on private property to collect clothes, shoes and books with permission from Property and/or business owners.

Oakland and other bay area cities have, for the past several years, been creating such ordinances. Other, more powerful, used clothing collectors who operate through brick and mortar locations, often, heavily promote this effort.

In the most recent Michigan case U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood Stated: “solicitation of charitable donations such as clothing, shoes, and other textiles is a form of speech fully protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
Further more, on a recent Nebraska case, the Court stated that “the public receptacles are not mere collection points for unwanted items, but are rather silent solicitors and advocates for particular charitable causes….They represent far more than an ‘upturned palm’ or a mere ‘proposal of a commercial transaction that says donate goods here.’” The solicitation found on the boxes “is characteristically intertwined with informative and perhaps persuasive speech seeking support for particular causes or for particular views on economic, political or social issues.”

It is difficult to accept that the disturbing relationship between big business and government can crush such an effective and community supported effort to recycle and reuse valuable resources keeping them out of landfills, and making them available to people who can't afford to buy new clothes - 70% of the World's population.

Every pound of textiles diverted from the landfills have a significant environmental benefit; cotton, the raw material for most of clothing produced today is one of the most water, nutrient, labor and pesticide intensive crops grown on industrial scale. It takes over 900 gallons of water just to grow a pound of cotton; the amount of pesticides and fertilizer needed to grow enough cotton to make one T-shirt is almost the same as the final weight of the T-shirt itself.

There are regulations that could be implemented to effectively regulate unattended donation boxes, protect the environment and at the same time preserve the operators rights. To ban them is utterly unacceptable.

About Campus California

Campus California has had an established textile recycling program for over 14 years now. What is great about the program is that it is self-subsidized. It costs the taxpayer nothing and the income generated from the collection of the used clothes and shoes donations funds the collection program in over 11 counties. This program not only keeps textiles out of the landfills providing residents with an easy, accessible and convenient method of recycling, it saves the already resource strapped cities and counties from having to create the infrastructure to develop their own collection program. The icing on the cake is that the program is so successful that the surplus income actually funds grants to three other non-profit organizations with programs aimed at mobilizing and supporting communities to take up the fight against poverty. During 2013 Campus California was able to raise and donate funds to support the training of 128 volunteers, who benefited an estimated 234,150 people in the United States and abroad.

Sophia Duus
Campus California
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