Dear Friends of the Forest - A CALL TO ACTION
As you have probably learned by now, FEN was successful in gathering over 42,000 signatures on a new citizen initiative, "An Act Regarding Forest Practices". This collection was accomplished on election day by over 500 nonpartisan volunteers from all over the state. Our success is indeed something to be proud of since the collection of all the required signatures on one day has only happened once before in the history of state wide initiatives - the only other time was the Ban Clearcutting Campaign. Bravo to our collective efforts!
The signatures will now be validated by the Secretary of State. Once this has occurred then the legislature will have the option to pass the bill as is or send it out to the people for a vote on Nov. 7, 2000. While we would like to see the legislature pass the bill, in all probability they will send it out to referendum. We need to start organizing immediately for a protracted winning campaign. All the polling data indicates we have massive public support, but without a well thought out campaign strategy our high level of public support can easily be eroded by the paper corporation's big money and PR spin doctors.
In order to start this campaign, we need to raise immediately at least fifty thousand dollars of seed money. The cost of this campaign can not come out of FEN's minimal annual operating expenses. The cost of literature development, printing, polling, media design, and grassroots outreach will need to be raised independently. We need your support for The Forest For the Future Campaign. Early financial contributions will allow this campaign to flourish - without it , the campaign will flounder and our strong public support could be eroded. Unlike the Ban Clearcutting Campaign which was sabotaged by the Compact, it is unlikely that the legislature will pass a competing measure. And as we all know, the Ban Clearcutting Campaign would have succeed had it not been for the industry sponsored Compact.
We have some strengths which we didn't have last time. The public is much more aware and educated about the crisis in the North Woods. We have a well organized grassroots network with a working knowledge of the issue which will be of immeasurable help as we reach out to build support in local communities.
In addition, the two points in the initiative - cut not to
exceed growth and clearcutting by permit only - were supported
by the full environmental community and endorsed by every major
editorial board in the state in 1997. However, we can not necessarily
again count on the same support.
Thank you in advance,
For the Forest,