Archive for July 17, 2008


I have received several emails concerning the Golden Leaf decision to fund the consortium’s PR campaign. The following letters were written to the Golden Leaf Foundation prior to their decision. I am sure there are many more out there but these are a couple I have recevied. I withheld personal information from the emails.

Dear Golden Leaf Board of Directors,

I am writing today to encourage your organization to consider denying any request for funding or grants in support of the NC Consortium’s campaign supporting their lobbying effort to bring the National Bio-Agro Defense Facility (NBAF)to our state and Butner, NC.  The time for promoting public support for the NBAF has passed specifically with only 42 days left for public comment from the community it is very disingenuous for the consortium to be seeking funding and aid to educate the public.  The NC Consortium has had the better part of 2 years to carry out these activities and provide a unbiased factual campaign in support of this BAD IDEA and they have chosen to sculk around our community holding veiled public meetings with special interest groups which were often designed to limit public involvement.  In their efforts they have invested primarily in ensuring that only a scripted message is conveyed to the public which at best has been long refruted as half truths and analogies that are not comparable to the actualities of the intended mission of the lab. 

I ask that you educate yourselves prior to making this type of granting request and stand by your charter; to fund projects that promote sustainable jobs and economic growth in the counties that have been disenfranchised by the loss of the tobacco industry.  Neither of which is promised by the DHS’s DEIS report.  Citing of this lab in Butner will only, bring transient temporary jobs fielded by contracted construction companies and will only create a bubble of laborers at the end of the construction phases.  As stated in the DEIS the actual jobs projection is reduced to a mere 63 jobs for highly trained and vetted persons whom more than likely will be recruited from other facilities of similar mission from around the country not North Carolina. 

I ask that you take serious consideration of the Government Accountability Office’s reports and the US House Commerce and Energy Committee’s investigation of DHS’s scoping process and risk analysis before you decide to throw good money  that should only be allocated for use as originally intended; to support NC communities NOT the non-taxpaying US DHS.  Also, consider the line of applicants that have applied to your foundation who are truly deserving of your support who are looking for innovative ways to contribute to the quality of life in NC and to Granville county and ultimately adding to the tax base and sustainable jobs market.

Respectfully, PLEASE DO NOT SUPPORT this request.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

**** ********

*** * East C St.

Butner, NC 27509

Letter Number Two

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To be sure by now the Golden Leaf Foundation maybe rethinking funding the NBAF PR campaign if they are not they should be. This lab issue from the start has been “David versus Goliath” and the Golden Leaf/NBAF backers just gave David a reason to stand a little taller.

From the very beginning of this debate the odds have been stacked against GNAT, who let me reiterate is the community. The consortium made their biggest mistake when they didn’t hold public meetings allowing the citizens to decide if they wanted to live in a “sacrifice zone“, instead they shoved this idea down the throats of the residents and some of us said HELL NO. Make no mistake, from someone who lives in Butner this process has been anything but impartial.

I find it amusing that the cortsortium can’t find the cash between its supporters to fund their own website. No, they are too busy getting paid for their time. GNAT is completely grass-roots and they have a factually complete website that consist of Government reports, white papers and NBAF coverage that is not fear-mongering unless you fear the facts as it relates to the recent boom in bio-containment facilities.

I have said from day one if NC state and NC Bio Tech think the NBAF is such a great idea they already own more than 900 plus acres on the state campus and RTP put it there. But I know all of you reading this understand why that idea didn’t fly don’t you? In Raleigh they would have had to hold public meetings and we both know that would have put the brakes on this project. Debate over, period.

The N&O ran an editorial today that, well in a nut shell tells it like it is here are a few excerpts. Go to the N&O to read the complete editorial.

To be sure, “overcome resistance” isn’t how lab backers would put it. They say they need to counter scare tactics and misinformation from the other side. And they have a point — some lab opponents have indeed engaged in fear-mongering, if that means emphasizing costly but unlikely worst-case scenarios in case of accidents at the proposed lab.

But exploring the cons as well as the pros is entirely justified for a facility that will specialize in exotic large-animal diseases. The arguments must remain rational, but the burden of proof lies with the lab’s proponents.

A glance at sample announcements from the N.C. Consortium for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, submitted to Golden LEAF in support of the grant application, suggests the proponents’ approach. It is hardly impartial. After intoning that “citizens deserve accurate information” the announcements clearly accentuate the positive. They mention no negatives.

That may be factual in a sense, but it’s also classic PR spin. The implicit message is that if only folks knew the facts, they’d be on our side. The opponents, however, have their own arguments and points of emphasis. They just won’t be getting $262,000 in public funds to make them.

Adding insult to injury, the side Golden LEAF has chosen — that of institutional backers of the lab, many of them in Raleigh and RTP — seems to be widely opposed by ordinary Granville residents. Helping residents of tobacco-growing counties such as Granville was why the foundation was formed, with money from the national tobacco settlement.

No doubt Golden LEAF has done good work in places such as Granville and will do more in the future. Right now, however, it shouldn’t be taking sides. If for some reason the foundation felt a burning need to disseminate fact-based information, pro and con, it might have done so itself.

If, in the end, Granville County wants the lab and wins it, Golden LEAF could appropriately step in to help make sure the community benefits. Until then, it should have butted out.

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