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[FYI] (Fwd) Money

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Importance:    Normal
Date:          Sat, 12 Feb 2000 13:45:54 -0500
Reply-to:      Law & Policy of Computer Communications
From:          "Eric C. Grimm" <ericgrimm@MEDIAONE.NET>
Subject:       Library Censorship: How the American Family Association Does

Interesting juxtaposition of national vs. local money:


Pro-filter group takes big money lead

Saturday, February 12, 2000

By Shandra Martinez and John Tunison
The Grand Rapids Press

------ ----

HOLLAND -- As campaign finances go, the battle over Internet filters
at Herrick District Library offers the proverbial David-and-Goliath

Those pushing a ballot to require the library to install filters have
more than $40,000 behind them, while those opposing filters have
$2,200, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Ottawa
County Clerk's office Friday.

As expected, the American Family Association is playing a major role,
giving $35,708 to a pro-filter campaign.

The money will pay for radio and cable TV spots, newspaper ads,
mailings and possibly a second phone poll.

"It's all about getting people educated, and that takes money," said
Diane VanDer Werff, treasurer for the pro-filter Holland Area Citizens
Voting Yes to Protect Our Children.

Holland voters go to the polls Feb. 22 to decide whether to require
the library to install filters on all but one of its Internet
computers, or face a $1.2 million cut in funding.

Opponents say they are not daunted by the funding imbalance.

A grassroots group, Families for Internet Access, has accepted
donations only from local residents. The 26 donators so far include
some retired residents, Herrick library trustee Eileen Talamantez and
William Baldridge, manager for information and support services with
the Grand Rapids Public Library.

"They have all the national groups backing them. But we still have all
the people on our side," said Shannon Garrett, one of the group's

"We are finding neighbors are talking to neighbors," she said. "Once
they find out the facts of the issue, more people are opposed to the
ballot measure."

Families for Internet Access is relying on a low-cost informational
campaign consisting of yard signs, door-to-door visits and phone

Spokesman Michael Noordijk said he is disappointed that filter
supporters are spending so much.

"For a tenth of the money, they could set up five or six kids'
Internet computers separate from those without filters," he said.
"It's a shame all these resources are being thrown around on a
divisive issue."

Meanwhile, radio spots for by the pro-filter group begin on Tuesday on
stations WHTC and WJQ. The commercials feature two working mothers
discussing their concerns about their children accessing pornography
on library computers.

TV ads will key on the support state legislators are giving to the
filter movement.

"They are very straightforward," said LoriJo Schepers, chairwoman of
the pro-filter group.

On Friday, Holland residents were to receive a letter from the
committee asking for their support and financial contributions.

The 6,000 letters, mailed to all registered voters within city limits,
were the first of three scheduled mailings. The next one will go to
about 2,500 residents who have a record of voting in primary

The campaign finance reports obtained Friday must be filed with the
county clerk at least 11 days before an election and include all
campaign committee contributions and expenditures. All AFA funding was
funneled through national headquarters in Tupelo, Miss.

"All of America is watching Holland, Mich., and the message sent from
Holland on Feb. 22 will be heard all across the nation," state chapter
president Gary Glenn said.

Part of the money was used for a $5,400 phone poll by a Florida
marketing firm. Another $1,100 has been spent on 105 black-and-yellow
yard signs to be distributed this weekend. But most funds remain
unspent so far.

Glenn said he is confident many residents will contribute to the
pro-filter effort.

The Family Research Council donated $7,146 in labor, $1,369 for a
full-page newspaper ad and almost $200 in other supplies to the
pro-filter cause.

Kimberley Fraser, the Research Council's vice president of constituent
and information services, said the group has no plans to spend more
money on ads or mailings. She said the staff will continue to
demonstrate filters.

Meanwhile, donors to filter opponents say the issue is important to

"I'm very much concerned about our constitutional rights being denied,
little by little," said Bea Westrate, a former city councilwoman who
donated $100.

John Greenhalgh, a retired resident at Freedom Village, also donated

"Filters are unnecessary and could be costly to the community for no
purpose," he said.

The anti-filter group has spent only $226 so far, mostly on handouts
and informational leaflets.