Mail call

Published 8:11 pm Saturday, June 22, 2013

It’s not unusual for residents of Suffolk to receive mail from the city. In addition to the real estate and property tax bills that many citizens receive, Suffolk officials send a variety of other notices, updates and flyers throughout the year. From notices about water quality to a recent “Citizen-centric” brochure that touted various economic and fiscal achievements by Suffolk’s government, the city’s administration seems unafraid to use the U.S. Postal Service to promote whatever message it finds relevant at a particular time.

There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that. In fact, Suffolk advertises in a variety of media (including this newspaper) to make sure that its citizens know what’s going on in their city. As with any good advertising campaign, part of the effectiveness of Suffolk’s approach lies in the wide net that it casts. The broader the reach of the message, the more chance there is that everybody who needs to know its content will actually come into contact with it.

As Suffolk prepares to begin enforcing its new anti-tethering ordinance, the city is going back to the tried-and-true method of mass mailing a notice to make sure that everybody in the city has had ample warning of the change. City Council voted on Wednesday to mail notices about the new law to each of Suffolk’s 30,000-plus households, just so there would be no question about it when it goes into effect Sept. 1.


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Of course, even blanketing an entire city with a mailed notice will not ensure every single person who might consider tying his dog outside knows it will be illegal to do so after Sept 1. Many people will see the flyer as junk mail and throw it away without reading it. Some are likely to be overlooked. And there will continue to be people who move into the city after the mailing and have no way of knowing about the ordinance, unless a neighbor or some other citizen tells them about it.

Still, the new law represents a big enough change that a broad approach like a mass mailing is one appropriate way to ensure that it’s widely publicized. Considering that such mailings have some clear precedent in Suffolk — and about topics that are arguably far less important — council members chose well to make such a mailing part of their strategy for implementing the new law.