Remembering Subscribers in Mill Valley — By Painting Stripes in Front of Their Houses

By: Jim Rosenberg

Six-inch-wide stripes painted in front of Marin Independent Journal subscribers’ houses on eight roads in Mill Valley Calif., will soon disappear.

“I think the public works department hired a private contractor to remove the paint,” Mill Valley Police Captain Jim Wickham tells E&P.

Reported last month as five to six feet long by the local Mill Valley Herald and two feet long by the IJ a few days later, the stripes appear to have been the work of a new carrier. Needless to say, the memory aid irked subscribers.

The stripes showed up in the early morning and were soon reprinted in part along the roads as vehicles rolled over the fresh paint.

The Herald reported the town’s planning commissioner waking up to the wet stripe and later realizing all subscribers’ homes had been similarly marked. The Independent Journal told him and the city manager that it likely was one of their delivery persons. Soon after, the IJ confirmed the suspicion.

Publisher Matthew Wilson says he supposes “it was a carrier trying to do what he thought was a good job.”

“We did not terminate his contract,” says Wilson, adding that while he is unsure if the person still delivers the paper, the new independent contractor may have decided it is not the job for him.

His paper quoted Wilson saying that “the IJ accepts responsibility for what happened.” Asked if that is an accurate description of its position, given the delivery person’s independent-contractor status, Wilson says it is, because “we had an employee who was partly responsible for it.”

Regardless of such matters, however, Wilson says the IJ wanted to do right by the residents and its readers. So it is paying for the paint removal.

Meanwhile, Wickham – who was once an IJ carrier himself — says the important thing is undoing the damage, and that no criminal charges likely will be filed.

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