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Lathrop may target aggressive sales
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LATHROP – Will the City of Lathrop soon know exactly who it is that’ll be trying to sell you that vacuum cleaner?

On Monday Lathrop Councilman Sonny Dhaliwal pitched an idea for a future agenda item that will take a closer look at the restrictions and oversight that the city has regarding aggressive door-to-door marketing and sales companies, citing public safety as his motivation.

With a handful of horror stories in his quiver – including one where a 15-minute demonstration stretched out over three hours and the salesperson refused to leave – Dhaliwal said that he wants to stimulate the discussion about whether the people walking through neighborhoods should have to take out permits like every other business owner operating within the city limits.

“It’s one of those things that I wanted to talk about in order to improve the overall safety that our residents enjoy,” Dhaliwal said. “Maybe there is already something on the books that we just need to enforce. That’s why it’s something that I wanted to bring up for discussion at the next meeting.”

He’s also planning to include aggressive panhandling in the discussion as well after getting a complaint from a resident that was hit up outside of a local gas station.

Currently Manteca requires all door-to-door salespeople to take out a license with the city and to display identification when making their rounds through local neighborhoods.

Panhandling at local intersections was also outlawed by the City Council because of both the image that it projects within the community and the safety concerns that come with people cutting across traffic to make it out onto islands or walking between cars at red lights to accept handouts.

Dhaliwal says that he’s sympathetic to people who are down on their luck, but also believes that private business owners have a right to create an atmosphere for their customers that doesn’t include getting hounded for money when they walk into and out of their store.

That’s also different, he said, than local children’s groups that set-up shop several times a year to raise money for their respective organizations. Most of the time those groups, Dhaliwal says, are out there with the permission of either owners or management and most of them are beloved assets to the community.

“There are groups in the community that do fundraisers from time-to-time and we know who they are and that they’re legitimate – that’s not what this is about,” he said. “This is something that a lot of times the business owners don’t want to see there. It drives their customers away. And a lot of the times we don’t know who these people are because they’re not a part of our community.

“I just think that it’s time we talked about things like this.”