Goodlettsville Ordinance Could Stop Homeless Newspaper Sales - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Goodlettsville Ordinance Could Stop Homeless Newspaper Sales

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by Adam Ghassemi

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. Rob Ponder is a veteran who was homeless, but can now afford a place to live thanks to selling The Contributor.

"Thank you, ma'am. Have a very nice day," he told one customer Monday.

He, like many of his friends, sell copies near Rivergate Mall usually within eyeshot of the Goodlettsville city line, which could soon be off limits.

"Without it I'd be back in the street probably," Ponder said.

Tami McKenzie, who said she sells the paper in Goodlettsville twice a week, may now have to stick to the Madison side of the line. She worries this all comes from people forgetting what the paper is trying to do.

"I take that personally because that's repressing freedom of speech and freedom of the press and that's repressing my income," McKenzie said. "When people buy a paper people are investing in me and they're investing in me having a roof over my head. I think that Brentwood and maybe Goodlettsville have forgotten all that."

The Goodlettsville proposed ordinance looks like the original from Brentwood that has been upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals. It basically stops people from selling anything on public sidewalks, or even distracting drivers to pull over onto private property. No one would be allowed to impede traffic.

The Contributor's Executive Director Tasha French Lemley said by phone she met with Goodlettsville city leaders as well as a group of ministers Monday who hope the city will consider a lighter version of the ordinance like Franklin adopted, which allows vendors to sell to the passenger side of a vehicle without walking into the street.

Goodlettsville Commissioners first considered the idea last December, but it only came up again last month. Its second and final reading before a vote will be during Thursday night's Board of Commissioners meeting.

In September, Zach Young was the only commissioner to vote against it.

"When you look deeper at it. When you look at the circumstances surrounding and the effects it's going to have whether intended or unintended it's not something I want to be a part of," Young said.

School groups, private companies or anyone selling anything on a public sidewalk could also be impacted.

Email: aghassemi@newschannel5.com
Facebook: NC5_AdamGhassemi
Twitter: @NC5_AGhassemi

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