Ugly ad, but Karen Minnis was responsible for what happened.

By George Karnezis of Portland, Oregon. George describes himself as a "semi-retired teacher, parent, reader, rhetorician trying to cope with infected discourse." Previously, he contributed "Is experience all that counts?"

I am grateful for the Oregonian's recent editorial deploring the low level campaigning on the part of Karen Minnis and Rob Brading. I also applaud the newspaper's recent practice of sorting out the truth from the chaff of political advertising. It's this sort of critical activity that bolsters my faith that the press can buck current practices so bent on infecting political discourse (see Jay Rosen's What Are Journalists For?).

However, while I have some tactical reservations about the Brading campaign's recent hit piece on Karen Minnis, I do not share the Oregonian's belief that these disclosures, about the alleged sexual abuse of one of the Minnis's restaurant employees Minnis's brother-in-law), are irrelevant. Karen Minnis has repeatedly claimed to be a protector of families and children. Her smearing of Rob Brading amounted to accusing him, based on his vote as a member of a library board, of favoring childrens' access to pornography on library computers. Now if Minnis is going to make such a claim, one which she never registered when the library board took its original vote years ago, and if she sets herself up as defender of innocent children, then she'd better not have any history that calls such a virtue into question.

After I checked the public information concerning the Brading campaign's allegations, several points emerged. First, that the sexual harassment incidents were never publicized during Minnis's campaigns. Second, the Minnises did everything they could to recover the $20,000 court settlement paid to the victim of Tuck Minnis's unwanted sexual advances. Third, as co-owner of the restaurant, Karen Minnis was responsible for what occurred there. So this case, a matter of public record, does have relevance because Karen Minnis has fore-grounded the issue of child protection in such a way as to make it relevant in the race. It is simply requiring too much of her opponent to play nice and ignore Karen Minnis's meretricious character assassination.

I should say as a matter of full disclosure that my wife Kristine and I were instrumental in winning support for Rob Brading in 2004, when even the county party and future pac didn't do much for him, and when may "progressive" organizations refused him support because they feared what Minnis would do to them if she found out. In addition to getting some financial support for Rob in 2004, we got a friend to run a book sale fundraiser and spent many hours canvassing. A year ago, we canvassed again to get his name on the ballot. Kristine has organized dozens of fund raisers for Rob, including another book sale. These efforts have raised thousands of dollars. All this time we have continued canvassing and, most recently, phone calling. Finally, we have become good friends with Rob and his wife, Karen who recently endured breast cancer treatment.

Even before Rob announced, and preliminary meetings were held among organizations interested in opposing Minnis, we constantly cautioned folks not to be needlessly anti-Minnis, and to emphasize Rob's strengths. We didn't want to start a campaign that was negative from the start. Though we understood how necessary it was not to appear wimpish, we also insisted that due respect had to be paid to East County voters who, we believed, had had enough after 2004, of cheap shots. Both of us have been outraged by Minnis's "pornographer" hit pieces in both elections, and by Minnis's 'brilliance' at playing the little Mary Sunshine innocent victim and protector of public virtue. That is the hypocrisy of her campaign and her political life that needs to be highlighted continually, and we celebrated the Oregonian's good judgment in endorsing Rob.

As I've indicated, I have my doubts about the value of this latest campaign tactic. I sympathize with the Oregonian editorial's observation that the political process is ultimately what takes the deepest hit from such tactics. While I fully understand Rob's need to defend himself and to avoid occupying a lonely moral high ground, there are times when you need to say that unless someone is on some level of moral ground, too much moral ground lacks defenders. Instead, everyone plays down in the mud.

In spite of such reservations, I will say this: the Brading campaign's allegations are based on matters of public record whereas the Minnis campaign has consistently lowered campaign standards and succeeded in deflecting attention from her record as an obstructionist legislator. If she were confident in her performance, she would let it speak for her. This recent news about what went on in the Minnises' restaurant, and the fact that only now is it news, suggests that for too long the Minnises have been protected from real public scrutiny. And no one's interests but the Minnises' are served by such lack of disclosure.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)

    And no one's interests but the Minnises' are served by such lack of disclosure.

    If this were important it should have been in the Oregonian before this. So it is not in the Oregonian's interest to admit that a story that has been out there and never appeared on the pages of their newspaper is significant. It goes to the heart of their claim to be the arbiters of what information is in the public interest and what isn't - Packwood, Goldschmidt ....

  • abc (unverified)

    Not using this info in a campaign is why Democrats lose. Yeah, yeah, moral high ground, playing in the mud, I get all that. But if you want to win, you have to realize that campaigning is a dirty game. If you don't have the stomach for it, you should probably not be involved.

    Thank God Democrats have rediscovered our stones this campaign season. We can be nice guys and girls starting Nov. 8, but to get there, we have to play hardball through Nov. 7.

  • Kevin (unverified)

    Not using this info in a campaign is why Democrats lose. Yeah, yeah, moral high ground, playing in the mud, I get all that. But if you want to win, you have to realize that campaigning is a dirty game.

    You're missing a critical point, abc. As George Karnezis has explained in this post, Karen Minnis herself made the issue relevant. Since when is it taking the low road to respond with relevant issues?

    I'm no bigger fan of the Dems than I am of the GOPers. And that largely on moral and ethical grounds. But I gotta say that I completely agree with Karnezis here. Rob Brading did nothing immoral or unethical. He very responsibly responded to an issue that his opponent made relevant. Indeed it would have been irresponsible of him not to, once he had the information. Which goes to Ross Williams' point about the Oregonian.

  • spicey (unverified)

    really, just looking at her record and pointing that out should be muddy enough. but I'm glad the Brading folks fought fire with fire. and, I'm tired of hearing that the people of East County are "tired". They need to know what their representative did to this State. She is directly responsible for the gridlock in Salem and they need to know that it's their representative who's doing that.

  • spicey (unverified)

    And, George, thanks for all your work over the years bringing Brading forward and for this background report. Much appreciated. Here's to Representative Brading!

  • BlueBerry Girl (unverified)

    George, it is people like you who make democracy work. Thank you for what you've done and for your support for Rob and Karen.

  • abc (unverified)

    Kevin, I agree, and I think we're largely talking past each other. My point is that yes, in this instance it is absolutely relevant, but I picked up a significant amount of hand wringing in George's post.

    But relevence doesn't win elections. I offer Harold Ford in TN as an example: he's going down because his family is shady and he cavorts with Playboy bunnies. Relevant? No. Successful? Yes.

    And that's what we Dems need to learn.

  • Kevin (unverified)

    abc, I guess that's where you're losing me. I don't think it's necessary, much less constructive in a democracy, to smear with irrelevant BS as has happened to Ford. In fact I would argue that taking that route lends credence to the arguments of progressive alternatives such as the Green party that there is precious little meaningful difference between the two Big Box parties.

    Where Dems have too often lacked "stones" is in not hitting back on relevant issues. Kerry's passive response to the Swift Boat smears being a case in point.

    On a side note... I recently heard an elections expert on NPR make the argument that negative ads work better than positive ads. Not because they are negative but rather because they tend to contain much more specific info. Whereas positive ads typically contain broad sweeping generalizations that don't really tell voters much that is useful in deciding between two or more candidates.

    Of course dirty tricks smear campaigns are another issue entirely. But it seems to me that the Brading campaign has done precisely what this guy was talking about and introduced a relevant issue that thoughtful voters ought to know about before making a choice.

    Negative? Yes. Dirty? No!

  • Zak J. (unverified)

    Ross & Kevin are totally correct about this--when a self-appointed guardian of public morality shows they are exactly the opposite in their personal life it is completely relevant.

    The Oregonian article was a pathetic ruse to distract from their own lack of investigative reporting.

  • (unverified)

    Well said statement. The truth that hurts, however, is that what Brading is slinging is mud, irrelevent mud, from many years ago. Meanwhile what Minnis is accused of is really coming from a victim of Brading's decision, now, in the future, and likely to occur again and again if Brading takes on real political power. It's not mud. It's a fact that Brading helped to enable the defiance of the United States Supreme Court. Directly. Personally. As a member of a group in a system that provides him political cover. And in political office, he will feel free, in fact empowered, to continue to act in accordance with his radical political agenda that endangers children instead of with the community standards he is supposed to represent. He is planning to be elected as a representative of the people, right? He has already thrown overboard the US Supreme Court's directives. The people of Oregon he will claim to represent don't stand a chance. Children won't stand a chance. This is the truth you have, and are, attempting to hide by slinging the mud at Karen Minnis. People are not fooled anymore. Thank you. I'm not in favor of Karen Minnis and I'm not against Democrats. I'm just against people of any kind who endanger children by ignoring the public and slavishly following the American Library Association's directives that endanger children.

  • LT (unverified)

    ...not mud. It's a fact that Brading helped to enable the defiance of the United States Supreme Court. Directly. Personally. As a member of a group in a system that provides him political cover.

    That is only valid if the mailer had been sent out about all members (something like Rob Brading, Sue Smith, John Jones, Dave Doe, ---listing all the library board members by name, specifying who is chair, and saying they are all at fault)making clear exactly how the library board alone made the decision with no elected officials involved. The case has not been made that if only Rob Brading (no other member, just Rob Brading) had acted differently or not been on the board the action would not have taken place. And what exactly was that action---saying no computer in the library would be filtered, or saying certain computers would not be filtered, or what?

    It is tragic that such a high profile campaign got so nasty. People reap what they sow. Over at the "Ted still could lose" topic by Les AuCoin, there was a restating of the events of a really nasty 1992 campaign which looked a lot different when my friends and I were living through it as volunteers for an AuCoin opponent than as portrayed here. There are those who say one reason he lost the confirmation battle last year (aside from the fact he apparently failed to ASK senators for their votes individually and face to face) is the bad blood from 1992.

    It would have been better if Brading had taken the high road. There could be people still angry about this (on either side) 10 years from now. I have been involved in campaigns where one side got this nasty and the other didn't, and it is easier to push the point home if one side stays above the fray. (In one case, we'd say "OK, I'll tell a strength of character story about my guy, then you tell a strength of character story about your candidate", and this really bothered the people who couldn't come up with a strength of character story.)

    But it is no more Brading's fault that he was attacked than it has been the fault of any target of a nasty ad campaign. It sounds to me like the attack against the Minnises was someone determined to "out Chuck Adams Chuck Adams" or, to use an old fashioned term to "give a taste of their own medicine" to a leader in a party which has been saying for years that Republicans are infallible people with "values" and Democrats are the focus of evil in the modern world.

    Somewhere, someone was going to fight back.

    Some research has shown that the concept of the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) is in all major religions. Too bad it was ignored in this case.

    When the people who sent out the "Brading is evil and he alone was in control of library board actions" mailers made that decision, were they saying they'd be OK with such an attack being leveled at them?

    Did Karen Minnis think it was OK to attack her opponent with charges that, to be polite, might not have been on message with the truth? (That's a great Ed Rollins line.) Did she think as long as she didn't speak out about an attack on her opponent that strikes many as unfair she would never be attacked by something equally unfair?

    The people who were angry at the library board made a conscious decision to send out mailers saying that Rob Brading and only Rob Brading had the power to do what was done by the library board. Then reporting said no, he wasn't even chair, and the library board is only advisory (Do elected officials have no power because that library board has the final authority? I doubt it.)

    There was a news story tonight that Nick News is doing a special news report on raising the level of civil discourse in this country. Apparently the show was inspired by a discussion with an Episcopal priest about how the polarizing tone of politics might be affecting young people.

    Maybe if everyone in this situation had thought about that, rather than who they could attack to gain political advantage, they might have had a better outcome.

  • (unverified)

    LT, you are correct only Rob Brading was named, not all the other members of the Library Advisory Board. But let's be honest here. Rob Brading is the only one of them seeking office. Toni Manning is saying someone seeking office from that Board that agreed to join the ALA/ACLU suit, then, after losing, agreed to circumvent the US Supreme Court's decision and presumably community standards, that may have resulted in the harm to her child, that that person should not be rewarded with public office because he or she may be in a position to harm more children, from her point of view. So Rob Brading is not being targeted alone for political gain, but rather because he is the only one running for office. Clearly Toni Manning does not think he is the right person for that office. I agree with her based precisely on her point -- he helped enable a system that circumvented the law and may have harmed her daughter and may continue to harm others.

    I am so sorry Chuck Adams got involved so that people could use him to claim Karen Minnis is involved. I would have hosted Toni Manning's web site and wrote the code if only I were aware she wanted to do this. I do this for other people already.

    So Toni is after Rob because he's running. She's not after other Board members because they are not running. And it's Toni that's after Rob on this issue, not Karen Minnis. And children may in reality continue to suffer further harm if people like Rob get into positions of power. Indeed, that's why we are where we are now. But people like Toni are finally standing up and saying they've had it, they're not going to take it anymore.

    In Rob's road to victory, does anyone ever care about the child?

  • jrw (unverified)

    Somehow, I have this feeling that one could turn around the last line of 's post and apply it to that lovely person.

    In SafeLibraries's world, what's more important--the child or the political issue?

    I submit that it's really more about re-electing Karen Minnis than any genuine concern about any children.

  • (Show?)

    Hey ""... I thought "" was Toni Manning. But you're talking about her in the third person -- so how about you identify yourself?

    After all, I'm pretty sure "" isn't the name your momma gave you.

  • (Show?)

    Incidentally, folks... is registered by Chuck Adams, the Oregon's Karl Rove mini-me - responsible for Karen Minnis's campaign and many others in the state.

    Just so we're clear what this is all about.

  • (unverified)

    JRW: sides with no political party. We side with those of any party or not who ensure community standards that almost always protect children are followed instead of American Library Association standards that almost always endanger children that is even worse now since they do this despite the law and cases like US v. ALA. Only coincidentally, Rob Brading happens to be a Democrat. But not coincidentally, he may be in part be directly responsible for what happened to Heidi Manning and what will happen to others when ALA agenda trumps community standards and the law. You see, I'm not saying do what I say because I'm wonderful, I'm saying communities should do what the people want, and the law backs them up, but the ALA ensures libraries defy the people and the law, and as a possible result, children continue to be victimized nationwide. For example, I now have linked on my web site two videotapes from news reports in different places of men masturbating in public libraries, and the libraries do/did nothing until the reporters brought it to the public's attention. Well I'm just bringing things to the public's attention.

    Kari Chisholm: I am not related to Toni Manning. I was making the same claims I'm making now years before Rob Brading helped sidestep the law that may have resulted in what happened to 10 year old Heidi Manning. My personal identity is irrelevant except to the extent that you can use it to smear me in an attempt to get people not to consider what I am saying. Given your position and past history, I hesitate revealing any personal information to you whatsoever. And if anyone digs up info about me, it is only as a smear on me to reduce the impact of my message. There is someone posting here whom I believe has gone out of her way to smear me even with statements made by others with my same name, anything to make me look bad. I'm not the issue. Karen Mannis is not the issue. Heidi Manning is, and how Rob Brading enabled what happened to her is the issue. Yes, I know Rob Brading is actually protective of children in other circumstances. But it does not excuse his actions in purposefully, knowingly, and intentionally circumventing the case he lost in the Supreme Court of the United States that may have been the reason for Heidi Manning's exposure to inappropriate material and she may not be the last victim.

    How many more victims are needed nationwide before little isolated incidents are tracked back to the source, namely, the American Library Asociation?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Holy disproportionality, Batman!

    Voters are supposed to reject Brading because a kid saw porn on someone else's computer screen. On the other hand, it's fine to keep Karen Minnis in power so she can continue to squeeze funding for education and human services, resulting is thousands of more-ignorant-than-necessary Oregon children and likely several dead Oregon children who could have been saved by properly funded state programs.

    That's the kind of calculus only a screwd up, fundamentalist moralist would come up with or support. Go Read Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" and see thine own self, SafeLibraries.

  • jrw (unverified)


    Sorry. Not convinced. Still think it's about the politics and not what you claim it's all about. "For the children" is just your little tag to attack Rob Brading, and I don't buy it one little bit.

    BTW, you could use a little bit of training in how to diagram sentences...your language is convoluted, deliberately written to obstruct meaning, and just plain unreadable.

  • (unverified)

    Tom Civiletti: I agree with you that it seems disproportionate. It seems like I'm taking this whole thing to far. I agree with you it seems that way. And this blog method of communication doesn't help.

    In fact, in my mind, and in reality, unstated here on this blog so far, making it perfectly understandable how people would think I'm carrying this far, is the complete background to this story. The background of the story was in my mind when I was writing, but not in this blog. The background makes all the difference.

    Rob Brading happens to be on the Library Advisory Board at the epicenter of years and years of litigation by librarians attempting to stop the implementation of the Children's Internet Protection Act from interfering with their efforts to ensure children remain vulnerable to inappropriate material. Unless we all want to argue that exposure of children to inappropriate material, despite the US Supreme Court's statement that "[t]he interest in protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is legitimate, and even compelling, as all Members of the Court appear to agree," is something that just happens and no one is really responsible, then blame needs to be placed somewhere.

    The ALA gets the lion's share of the blame, but Rob Brading is not blameless. He, as a member of the Library Advisory Board, advised the library where Heidi Manning was victimized to join the ALA/ACLU law suit to stop the Children's Internet Protection Act. Imagine, a law suit to STOP the Children's Internet Protection Act. By librarians, no less.

    That alone is not so bad, after all this is America and suing is a way of life. But, after losing the case, he then joined the same group in recommending that the library take the action needed to preclude having to comply with the law. So filters CIPA required were dropped by the simple method of refusing $104,000 per year in federal funding. So Heidi Manning saw inappropriate material. So community standards that children should not access inappropriate material was ignored by Rob Brading and his Board. So the US Supreme Court statement quoted above was similarly ignored.

    Someone is responsible for this. Rob Brading just happens to be one of those people, and he just happens to be running for office, and the mother of one of his possible victims just happened to get so steamed that she felt she needed to act to protect other children in addition to her own, and she just happened to create a flyer and send it out before an election for Rob Brading. Karen Minnis is totally irrelevant here.

    Incident after incident occurs nationwide. It's only so long before people start realizing someone is responsible for this. It's only so long before the people who feel this way speak out publicly. Well that what's happening to Rob Brading, to Toni Manning, to Heidi Manning. People are finally speaking up. Perhaps the people responsible for ignoring community standards and the law will see what is happening to Rob Brading and realize they need to protect the public, not the ALA's agenda to sexualize children. I mean the ALA is an organization having a radical leadership that selects books about oral sex as the best book of the year for 12 year olds. And the ALA is supposed to be the trend setter for public libraries, not community standards and not the law and the courts?

    I really am sorry that an otherwise good man like Rob Brading has been caught up in this. But he has not changed since then. He has not apologized. So far as I know, he has not even called Toni Manning to say even one word. So far as I know, he still believes the ALA policy is more important than community standards and even the US Supreme Court case he decided to join then circumvent after he lost. The library still turns down $104,000 dollars a year, right?

    So, as you can see, there is much, much more than this blog can carry. Therefore, it is understandable people may think I'm overreacting. But I urge you to read US v. ALA ( to decide if it's Rob Brading who is overreacting. Read the case. See what Rob Brading wrought, what he thinks is too radical for Multnomeh County. Then consider what happened to Heidi Manning. Be understanding about why Toni Manning sent out a flyer. Think for yourself.

  • (unverified)

    JRW: You said, "BTW, you could use a little bit of training in how to diagram sentences...your language is convoluted, deliberately written to obstruct meaning, and just plain unreadable."

    I agree, except I'm not trying to obstruct meaning, I'm just failing at doing the exact opposite. That's why in the message above I said everyone should read US v. ALA for themselves then think for themselves. Also, I'll admit my post above contains more long, long, convoluted sentences. It's sort of a blog stream of conciousness style instead of a real writing style. Please understand and stick to the issues instead of my personal faults.

  • jrw (unverified)


    Quite frankly, I think your style is a deliberate attempt to cover your true purposes and meaning.

    Among other things, I'm a writer. I become very suspicious when I see someone putting things forth in a public forum who writes in the sort of style you do; especially when it appears to be a crude attempt to appear less articulate than you definitely are capable of being. It's a style which strongly suggests an unreliable narrator.

    I find it very telling that your best writing just happens to be bolded, or colored. I suspect that's your true voice.

  • (Show?)

    how can you take seriously someone who believes that Brading and the rest of the board were working to "ensure children remain vulnerable to pornography?" I mean, really. What a stilted framework you choose to rest your arguments on!

  • LT (unverified)

    But let's be honest here. Rob Brading is the only one of them seeking office.

    AHA! Let that be a warning to all other members of library boards. As long as you stay on such an anonymous board (is it volunteer? are expenses paid?) nothing bad will ever happen. But if you ever decide to run against a powerful Republican incumbent, look out--you will be blamed for all sorts of things!

    But this is not about politics????

  • (Show?)

    "Skirting the law", "taking the action needed to preclude complying with the law", "throwing overboard the Supreme Court's directives", "circumventing the law", "circumventing the Supreme Court's decision" ...

    I am persuaded that the sole purpose of SafeLibraries posts is to repeat that rhetoric as many times as possible in the hope that people who don't know better will come to believe those statements are true--WHICH THEY ARE NOT! His writing style seems weird because all the rest is just filler. The repetition is intended to mislead people into thinking that Rob Brading has done or encouraged something illegal--WHICH HE HAS NOT!

    The Supreme Court said that Congress, if they so choose, has the legal right to refuse federal funding for Internet connections to libraries that don't filter those connections. Not taking the federal money because they are only filtering connections intended for use by children and not those intended for use by adults is COMPLYING with the law and the Supreme Court ruling.

  • (Show?)

    I'll try it this way, SafeLibraries. What has SafeLibraries done to make libraries safer for children -- unrelated to Rob Brading, Karen Minnis, or the 2006 election?

  • (unverified)

    JRW, Kari Chisholm: You are both doing the attack-the-messenger thing. That's irrelevant.

    Kari Chisholm: What I have done to make libraries safer for children is irrelevant to this Rob Brading issue. However, just so you and others can see my involvement with Toni Manning is not related to Rob Brading but rather to the issue of what the ALA is doing to children, I will attempt to answer your concerns.

    First, I started what I'm doing about six years ago when my child was given an inappropriate book on the fourth day of public school kindergarten. The principal apologized and explained the school librarian gave it to her because she was an ALA member and used an ALA list of books for kindergartners. The principal said the book was twice as bad as what I reported and that she had it removed from the library.

    On that very day I decided to protect my child from further ALA assault. I quickly found I could not protect a single child without protecting them all. I further found the public library was similarly infected by the ALA. For example, the public library's web page for "kids and teens" pointing to a web site that teaches about autoerotic asphyxiation, bestiality, anal fisting, etc. I told the head librarian and she agreed to remove it. But in over a year she never did, so I started a group in town. It became Plan2Succeed Citizen's Group. That resulted in placing Internet filters on the children's computers in the public library, a partial victory at best, but it would not have occurred at all without me.

    Now before you personally attack me for having such an ugly web site, I admit to you it's ugly. But it's filled with useful information about the specifics of the ALA sexualizing children. I began to be contacted from around the world.

    One of those contacts led to Plan2Succeed's next important success, only this had much more impact. I got a call from a man who wanted to stop his public library from allowing children access to Playboy magazine on the public's nickel. That became, a much prettier web site, just as much information, but better organized. Indeed SL gets about 10 times the traffic of P2S, reaching as much as over 6000 hits per day. And SL means 1) I am being contacted by more and more people, and 2) I now have a co-member who is actively assisting me on a national level.

    Then I got help from an unexpected source. You see I thought it was wrong to sexualize children. But what I think anymore is no longer relevant. I have a much higher authority now, shall we say. In June 2003, the Supreme Court of the United States decided US v. ALA. What a prescient title, for it really is the United States versus the American Library Association. I urge you, please read the case. You will see then how the Court guided the ALA. Then, when you read how the ALA refuses to be guided by the Court, you will begin to understand on your own how truly sad it is that children continue to be raped and molested in public libraries despite the law likely because of the ALA's actions to maintain its agenda regarding children.

    I got help from another source. The ALA itself. It continues to take every step possible to sexualize children. Like making a book with oral sex and porn movies and vulgar language throughout the top awarded book of the year for children as young as twelve. They did that, not me. I just reported on in. And that's just one example of the range of things the ALA does along these lines. And, in another of my successes, I got the award-winning author to admit he would never give the book to his own child if he had one!

    There are many more successes I have had since then, thanks directly to my reliance on US v. ALA and thanks to the egregious nature of the ALA's actions and statements. But my most significant success is when the legislators of the Iowa attempted to pass a state CIPA law to protect children in all Iowa libraries. They did this because of the outrageous case of a toddler raped in a public library bathroom by a man who frequently used the unfiltered computers to view porn. When the story first hit the press, the fact of the man perseveratively viewed porn on the computer near the bathroom was not in the news. It was nowhere. Unknown. The story was just a sad one about the girl. But I called the reporters. I said this looks like computers may have been involved, like, e.g., the library attack in Philadelphia [which, by the way, is another thing I have accomplished -- helping a library victim to raise money for herself and her family]. Looks like the ALA may have advised the library not to used filters. I suggested the reporters look further into the story. A month later, one called me back. I was right! Bingo! Then a new flurry of stories came out, this time including the computer porn angle, and the Iowa legislature decided to act. That would not have happened without my direct intervention.

    Even in the case of Toni Manning, I was in contact with here about two years ago when this story first came out and when it had nothing to do with Rob Brading. It's on a blog somewhere.

    Rob Brading is simply not my target. How the ALA sexualizes children and exposing, if you will, that to public scrutiny is what I'm doing.

    I hope this helps you to understand that I have been acting to make libraries safer for children for about six years now. There is, however, another point of view: "I [the de facto leader of the ALA] get very concerned when we start hearing people who want to convert this country into a safe place for children. I am adult. I want available what I need to see."

  • (unverified)

    Doretta: I never said anyone is not complying with the law. To be clear, Rob Brading and the ALA are in full compliance with the law. But they are NOT in compliance with community standards, and as a possible result Heidi Manning was exposed to inappropriate material that CIPA would likely have prevented, but for Rob Brading et al.'s actions in circumventing the need to comply with CIPA. This whole this would not be happening but for skirting CIPA.

  • jrw (unverified)

    Meanwhile, SafeLibraries has conveniently managed to hijack this discussion from Karen Minnis's hypocrisy to his/her own hobby-horse attacking Rob Brading, and promoting their own message.

    Does anyone still have any doubt about what the real motivation is here? Especially when those who bring up observations about the contradictions in SafeLibraries own writing style are attacked as "attacking the messenger?"

    SafeLibraries is a stalking horse for the Karen Minnis campaign. Case closed.

  • george k (unverified)

    Dear readers:

    First, a correction: I erred in saying that the Multnomah County Democrats were unsupportive of Rob in 2004; my wife Kristine, who was county campaign chair, persuaded them to contribute to Rob's campaign, both financially and with 'feet on the street.' I apologize for the miscue. Please also be aware that we very much need an active democrat presence in East County, so join Mel and others as a leader in your precinct.

    Second, while I'm glad for so much response, I do regret any excessive focus on the library question. I understand how just mentioning it was risky and loosed perhaps more heat than light.

    THIRD, as a matter of record, after the TEDDY BEAR parade, my my wife and I were walking with Rob by the Gresham Library where Toni sat at an anti-Brading table. I pointed her out to Rob and he went over to talk with her. I was not party to the conversation, but afterwards Rob told me that it was clear they were unable to have a reasonable discussion on this matter, and he regreted that.

    If we lived in a better democracy where campaigns could be pitched at a higher level, perhaps Karen Minnis would have consented to an open forum to have a dialogue with Rob on this and other issues, and to be questioned by the public. Karen Minnis avoids such occasions, and that speaks volumes about her, as does the fact that no one howled when the library board originally decided what it did.

  • (unverified)

    George K: You said, "as does the fact that no one howled when the library board originally decided what it did."

    No one howls when library boards do this because the significance of such actions is hidden from the public or the public is just plain misled by the boards or by the media. Here's an example. You are implying people were in favor of that when in reality that is likely not the case. Survey are survey shows people do not want children exposed to inappropriate material, and neither does CIPA or the US Supreme Court. I have no doubt you are well-intentioned, but saying people approve of this because no one objects would like saying people approve of the Solomonic method of splitting babies because no one objects.

  • (Show?)

    And, in another of my successes, I got the award-winning author to admit he would never give the book to his own child if he had one!

    This is a serious mischaracterization on your part. What the author said was that his book was written for high schoolers age 14+ and that he might not give his book to his 12-year-old if he had one.

    Star Trek novels are not written for 12-year-olds either, by the way.

    It seems you object to the very concept of age-appropriateness when it comes to books. Does that apply to everything?

    It's not safe for kids to drink or drive, does that mean we should reinstate prohibition and outlaw cars?

    "I [the de facto leader of the ALA] get very concerned when we start hearing people who want to convert this country into a safe place for children. I am adult. I want available what I need to see."

    You seem to think that's a very damning quote but all it says is that we should not try to child-proof the whole world.

    Adults need access to things children should not have access to. That's really not very controversial in most circles.

    Many children are raped and even killed every year, the number of attacks that happen in libraries is vanishingly small. Children left unsupervised are surely a far greater attraction to predatory pedophiles than computers with unfiltered internet access. How did a man get access to a toddler in a library bathroom? You act as though filtering software would magically make such problems go away. That's ridiculous. I'd venture to say that most attacks on children happen nowhere near a computer.

    Libraries are public places like banks or stores or streets. If you wouldn't leave your kids alone on the street, you shouldn't leave them alone in the library. If you were on a crusade to get people to stop thinking of libraries as free babysitters I'd be right there with you and you'd be doing a lot more good.

    There are several problems with software filters. One is that a lot of filter software is not very smart. Medical textbooks and pornography look a lot alike to dumb filters.

    Another problem is that one person's political website becomes another person's "pornography". If you were setting the filters would the Basic Rights Oregon website get through?

    I suspect your idea of "community standards" may differ considerably from that of many other people in the community. Would you like to share with us what was in that book that you found inappropriate for your kindergartener?

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    Darn, sorry about the italics. I should not have gotten lazy and skipped preview.

  • (unverified)

    Doreta: I see you read some of the links I provided. Oops, I have to go--no long answers this time. But here's homework for you. I know you are not a good person and did not mean to, but your article is perfused this ALA propaganda. Before I write again, can you spot it on your own? Think clearly, not politicly. Thanks.

  • (unverified)

    I meant you ARE a good person. Sorry!!!!

  • (Show?)

    your article is perfused this ALA propaganda

    I learned to think critically for myself a long time ago. I have no connection with the ALA and have read almost nothing of theirs. Don't make the mistake of thinking that everyone who disagrees with you has been duped by those you have chosen as your enemies.

  • (unverified)

    The ALA is not my enemy--I'm not a child anymore. The ALA propaganda is indeed in your article, but I did not say you read the ALA stuff and believed it. Some propaganda could just be believed or repeated independently because it just plain seems to make sense to anybody.

    Look at your argument, "Many children are raped and even killed every year, the number of attacks that happen in libraries is vanishingly small." This is actually ALA propaganda. I just can't place the quotes right now. Essentially the ALA argues, like you, that the few library rapes and molestations and the like that do happen are so few and few between that there is no reason to take action to protect the children in libraries. The ALA argues instead that crimes against children are more prevalent in other settings, so attention should be turned there.

    True, yes? Sounds good, right? Who needs filters when it's only a few children getting hurt right? Really, it sounds like a fantastic argument, and, like you, anyone can come to this conclusion without the ALA. However, the ALA perpetuates this. And the truth is 1) even one child rape made in a library that refuses to be guided by CIPA is too much if it could have been prevented in the first place with a constitutionally valid law, 2) the incidences of criminal activity against children is far greater than the ALA lets on [FN 1], and 3) single instances of crimes against children have triggered major responses such as the Beslan, Russia killings resulting in American schools and worldwide schools battening down the hatches.

    FN1: "Library Confidential: Crimes Kept Secret; Indecent Acts, Violent Attacks And Sex Crimes Not Reported To Police," WBBM-TV, 2 Nov 2006 ("He visibly had his hand down his pants," McNichols said. And for a second time they say library officials did nothing. .... "It is atrocious what is going on in some of these libraries throughout the metropolitan area," said Naperville Police Chief David Dial.)

    You have presented more arguments that are aligned, knowingly or not, with ALA propaganda. Given my explanation of one example here, I'll allow others another chance to review your writing to see if they can spot more examples.


  • (unverified)

    Another, more recent incident, just as I predicted; just as Toni Manning predicted. Will it take a rape before people follow the US Supreme Court instead of the ALA? Can you see the propapaganda in the librarian's intentionally misleading statement? Is she saying compliance with CIPA and the US Supreme Court is "punishing people"? Does anyone here think that librarian cares one whit about the children involved?

    Felon arrested for downloading pornography Randy [xxx] is in custody, facing charges of encouraging child sex abuse.

    A convicted felon is busted looking at child pornography in a public library.

    Police say Randy [xxx] was downloading the material onto a flash drive at the Multnomah County Library on SW 10th. [xxx] is in custody, facing charges of encouraging child sex abuse.

    Many people assume that library computers have filters to keep people from looking at that kind of material, but officials say the filters block too much content and prevent visitors from accessing important sites.

    "We don't feel we should punish everyone just because this individual breaks the law and breaks the rules," said Cindy Gibbon, with the Multnomah County Library.

    With that said, some library users would like to see more safety measures in place. "It would make me lean toward filters. It makes me sad that we'd have to do that because someone is so irresponsible."

  • LT (unverified)

    OK, Safe Libraries--exactly what is your issue? That the ALA is not a professional organization and just a pro-porn group?

    Exactly what filters should have been put on all Mult. Library computers--in detail, by brand name? What technical (and I do mean people that Internet experts like Esther Dyson would consider credible) reviews can you provide that those filters and no others should go on all Mult. Co. library computers because you say so?

    Some filters, for instance, can block research into breast cancer because words like "breast" are filtered. But that is OK because otherwise someone might be looking at porn on a public computer?

    Why haven't you tried to become a member of the Library Board?

    Are you willing to pay more in taxes to beef up staffing so that computers can be more closely supervised?

    <h2>Do you really think posting on a blog will address all those questions?</h2>
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