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.

Advertisements