Well, well the consortium needs more cash for their NBAF PR campaign? I wondered why Capstrat hadn’t visited me recently. No worries however now they are working with a new firm called French West Vaughan. Wow, they blew through that 3 million DHS gave them awfully quick. What is more amazing however is they are paying themselves to write op-eds, “meet with news editors and reporters, taking out advertisements in local and area newspapers and having speakers available to talk to business and civic groups”.

The News & Observer reported on Tuesday that the Golden Leaf Foundation awarded $262,000 (and some change) to the consortium for a “impartial and factual education campaign”. Ain’t special interest grand, now we have a foundation funded by a settlement from a public health nightmare (smoking) funding a public health nightmare. What is wrong with these people?

If the consortium calls what they have been running in the local Butner-Creedmoor News educational, I am scared the see what they call “factual and impartial”. Besides, the consortium has not spent one red dime being impartial to the residents of Butner. If it wasn’t for GNAT, who hosted a forum in January of this year, the citizens of Butner would know very little if anything factual about the NBAF.

Go to nobio.org, sign their petition, donate money and help GNAT help us, STOP THE NBAF!!!!!!!! God knows the Golden Leaf Foundation ain’t giving them any money, GNAT members are the community.

Here’s the latest from the Herald Sun and the Daily Dispatch in Henderson.

Opponents of bio lab befuddled by grant

The [Henderson] Daily Dispatch /The Herald-Sun
Jul 16, 2008

BUTNER — A staunch opponent of the proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility is befuddled by the Golden LEAF Foundation awarding more than $262,000 to the statewide pro-NBAF group seeking to get the germ-fighting laboratory located at Butner.
“I think, unfortunately, Golden LEAF has been a victim of the same snow job that the consortium has been practicing as it went to speak to elected officials at the outset,” Kathryn Spann argued Tuesday.

The consortium maintains the money will be used for an informational campaign, which will include a public relations firm.

Spann, an attorney, is on the steering committee of the Granville Non-Violent Action Team (GNAT), which argues the NBAF would pose environmental and health hazards.

And Spann is disputing state data about the NBAF’s economic impact.

The nonprofit Golden LEAF Foundation is based in Rocky Mount. It was created in 1999 to receive half the funds coming to North Carolina from the tobacco master settlement agreement that resulted from lawsuits against cigarette manufacturers over smoking-related diseases.

The foundation’s purpose is help make the transition from a tobacco-dependent economy through grants and investments that will positively affect the long-term advancement of the Tar Heel State.

Spann said she hopes she and fellow GNAT backers can persuade Golden LEAF to reconsider before dispersing the funds to the pro-NBAF group of private and public experts.

At the same time, Spann said she sees a disconnect between the foundation’s mission and areas of the state adversely impacted by the decline of tobacco farming.

“Why they would seek to bring another public health nightmare to North Carolina with those funds is certainly baffling,” she said.

And Spann, commenting on the consortium’s latest action, added that, “I’m somewhat baffled that it takes them that much money to do what we do with none.”

“Money does not equal merit in the message, which is perhaps why this hasn’t been exactly a slam dunk for them,” she said.

Golden Leaf Foundation President Valeria Lee said in an e-mail that the foundation’s board met via conference call and approved the funding.

Lee attached a copy of the board’s decision, which said $262,248 was approved for the N.C. Biotechnology Center “for the purpose of funding an impartial and factual community education program” relating to the NBAF.

The attachment said the grant is for seven months, but it did not list who made the motion for the grant, who seconded and which way individual board members voted.

Lee was asked in an e-mail if she was aware that the Granville County Commissioners had withdrawn support for the project, that the municipal board majorities in Stem and Creedmoor had declined to provide their support and that Butner’s municipal board is neutral.

The Raleigh City Council has unanimously refused to support having the lab in Granville County.

“Concerns about the project that are raised in your e-mail were discussed on the call,” Lee replied.

Ken Tindall, senior vice president for science and business development at the Biotechnology Center, said later in the day that the money would be used for more of what the consortium had already been doing.

That is, having consortium representatives meet with news editors and reporters, taking out advertisements in local and area newspapers and having speakers available to talk to business and civic groups.

“It’s not about trying to deal with the opposition,” Tindall contended. “It’s about trying to make sure that accurate information and educational information is out there.”

Tindall, when asked whether some may view the latest action as last-gasp and too late in the process, said, “Some may say that.”

Published reports said the majority of the money — more than $107,000 — will go to French West Vaughan, which is based in Raleigh and bills itself the Southeast’s largest independent public relations firm.

Also, according to those reports:

— Just over $70,000 will compensate for time and travel by staff of the non-profit N.C. Association for Biomedical Research.

— At least $48,000 will be spent for newspaper ads, at least $15,000 will be spent for designing the consortium’s Web site and at least $15,000 will be spent on informational postcards.

— At least $4,500 will be paid to a news clipping service, while at least $2,100 will compensate the N.C. Biotechnology Center staff for travel.