Salvation Army bell ringers banned from Arroyo Grande plaza

December 4, 2013

s armySalvation Army bells will not be ringing in front of the Arroyo Grande Walmart this Christmas season. [Tribune]

The Five Cities Center, a shopping plaza that includes Walmart and Albertsons, has banned fundraising in front of its stores.

“I love to be in front of Walmart,” said Arroyo Grande resident and Salvation Army volunteer, Helen Saulsbury to the Tribune. “I’d sing Christmas carols, and people would joke they’d give me money to stop singing.”

But, the property manager decided to enforce a soliciting ban after tenants complained that solicitors, not associated with the Salvation Army, had aggressively followed shoppers to their vehicles.

The fundraising ban applies to all organizations, including the Girl Scouts.

“If we allow one to do it, we have to allow everybody to do it,” said Ana Latorre of the property owner Investec Management Corp. “We as a landlord are in violation of our own agreements with the tenants.”

Lease agreements at the Five Cities Center have always prohibited solicitation, but no one had ever enforced the policy, a property supervisor said.

The property management firm for Vons grocery store in Paso Robles has also given bell ringers the boot, according to a Salvation Army representative.

About 40 Salvation Army bell-ringing donation sites exist in San Luis Obispo County, and 90 percent of the funds collected go to local residents, the organization representative said.


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I just read this today so am a little late getting in on the remarks. However, it seems when people ask me why I don’t donate to the Salvation Army, I have to remind them that the SA is a religious organization.

Yes, they come to the aid of people in need BUT

like the Vatican, they also like to put their monies elsewhere.

Did you know that the SA is one of the largest real estate holders in the U.S.A.?

If the SA is allowed to solicit in front of businesses, then any other religious organization should also be able to do the same. Any.

I am not a grinch; I donate to many non-religious groups all the time., so can’t be called stingy.

Right on Cassie.

“If we allow one to do it, we have to allow everybody to do it,” said Ana Latorre of the property owner Investec Management Corp.

Not true. It’s private property. They can do what they want within the law.

If I want to donate to an organization, person or cause I will seek them out. Don’t need some

bozo getting in my face when I just want to get a carton of milk.

Salvation Army bell-ringers are not “bozos” nor do they get in peoples’ faces.

They are bozos. They display bright red pots, wear stupid hats and ring loud bells which

should be reserved for historic cathedrals in Rome.

Those “Bozos” you are talking about put great gifts for children under their trees. Gifts that without a community hand, would not be there for them. A Grinch/Scrooge like yourself is a sad person.

It doesn’t take much to think back to the 1936 photo taken by Dorothea Lange of the “Migrant Mother” in your own county to make that point clear.

Shame on you for being bothered by solicitors of goodwill. Best there than being dictated to by government!

The bell ringers are volunteers from service organizations and the local community giving of their personal time for a good cause. They don’t get in your face

They DO get in your face. That is what they do. Government and/or dictatorship has

nothing to do with anything. Obnoxious is as obnoxious does. One can volunteer for

anything. No point made there. Just stay out of my freaking face while I’m trying to

do something else (or just sitting there minding my own business as just happened a

couple of hours ago).

The Salvation Army has agreed to pay for you to enroll in an Anger Management program.

Annoyance would be a better term.

It’s not there aren’t other choices if you really want to donate. I think Salvation Army (a religious organization) is pushing this envelope since their donations are down so fall. There are plenty of opportunities to do good, including Salvation Army, just pick another site. No big deal if your intent is to give.

Salvation Army’s donations are down, as are most other organizations that depend on donations. The reason: Your government has determined that I make too much money and seizes (thru taxes) that amount that they think I should not be allowed to keep. They then pay their union buddies to administer a “feel good” program, keeping the majority of the money for themselves (wages, expenses) and give the remainder to illegal aliens.

If you did not confiscate so much money (taxes) I would have more to give to the needy (not the greedy). I recently looked at my tax deductible donations for years past and noted that they are less now than they were 20 years ago (even without being adjusted for inflation).

Any reason the stores can not allow the Salvation Army inside their stores, the property manager has no control over that do they?, since it is inside their doors. And the store can allow who they want and deny those they don’t, right? We are still in a free country, right? but then again that doesn’t stop some from suing, we are in California after all. The state where when you don’t get your way you sue.

Don’t really have a problem with Salvation Army because it is seasonal but to be hit up week in and week out for Youth soccer, Youth baseball, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Homeless, Red Cross, American Heart Association, Voter registration, people asking for signatures for votes on the next ballot, sheeshhh, let me do my shopping and leave me alone. Vons in Grover Beach is the worst. If you are lucky to make it out the door without being asked for something, the homeless are waiting at the exits.

I agree. That’s why I appreciate that the Salvation Army bell-ringers do not initiate conversation.

Stu Jenkins! Where are you? This looks like a direct violation of the Pruneyard decision which grants “public commons” status to private shopping centers like these, precisely because one’s first amendment rights are to be where the people one needs to reach are, and because these places aren’t really “private” anyway. This nonsense should be easy to overturn in court — maybe even before Christmas.

More to the point, the Investec spokeswoman’s explanation pretty much lays it on the line: we’re only interested in letting our clients solicit for your money, anybody else is just competition for the dollars our greedy clients want from you. To h— with charity and generosity! Since Investec manages/owns so much local commercial property, this is a serious infringement, and needs to be dealt with pronto. Stu?

I agree – Investec could make things right immediately if they wanted to, but corporate profits are clearly all that matters to them. Charities, even ones that have overwhelming public support like the Salvation Army, can go pound sand. Pathetic.

The Salvation Army bell ringers are more of a season tradition and not a part of the ongoing growth in hands out. These bell ringers should be exempt from the ban. Not everything is fare and property owner should be allow to be selective.

I agree. It’s their property, why does he have to let everyone? Why can’t they choice to let who they want work the stores on their property? There is nothing political (group making a statement) that you would have to give equal time and equal time (to non-profit) wouldn’t apply, because this is not any kind of media outlet etc. so I don’t think they would have to be afraid of being sued by another group that gets left out.

Or is the bottom line, the property owner and or store doesn’t want to be boycotted by any other group that gets left out? If so fine but be honest about it.

Actually, the law is very clear. These are public places (though with “private” — i.e., corporate — land ownership), and the courts have been clear that political petitioners above all else are permitted to solicit/petition there. The private owner cannot keep them out. We need to keep clear in our minds the difference between the rights of an “owner” of a public place, like a shopping center, the rights of the owner of a private place, like a home. The rights are different betwixt the two, just as privacy expectations are different. You have every right to chase the Salvation Army away from your doorstep, but Walmart? I think not.

It would only be fair for the “Army” to pay the fare and distribute the booty on the spot.

Oh, and salvation from what exactly? Them and whose army?

The bell ringers aren’t Salvation Army employees idiot. They are volunteers

Who called them employees, idiot? and, what makes religion the bastion of all

things good?.

Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

I am a bell ringer and I know most of the bell ringers and they have good hearts and a compassion for people. They rarely say anything other than “good morning” or some other general salutaion. The bell ringers do not get in anyone’s face. .The next one who gets “in your face” please ask for their name and notify someone at The Salvation Army. I think we will never hear from you. I feel sad for you, ironyman2000 because you don’t not know compassion or have empathy. Seek compassion during this season and soften your hard heart.

and you are too dumb to recognize when a tongue is slightly lodged in

a cheek. May your sadness be assuaged by some good Festivus

toddy cheer.