Pubdate: Tue, 23 Mar 1999
Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)
Copyright: 1999 St. Petersburg Times.
Author: Michael Palmieri


Re: Zephyrhills chamber did FORML a favor, March 10.

Editor: FORML doesn't require or want any favors or special treatment
from the Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce.

We only want to be treated fairly and given the respect other non-
profit advocacy groups have been given.

We do not want notoriety.

We want acceptance and a chance to let our views be heard without the
rhetoric, propaganda or interference that the city of Zephyrhills and
the chamber exhibited on Founders Day weekend.

Our organization may be small, but our numbers are growing and our
message is being heard -  but not as much as we would like, as our
funding is limited and advertisements are expensive.

Although we were allowed to set up our booth on private property
outside Founders Day festivities, we were only able to collect 40
signatures and $35 in donations. We should have been able to collect
400 signatures (on medical marijuana petitions) and $350 in donations.

We also had to contend with the chilling effect of Zephyrhills Police
Department standing by. Although this dispute did bring us much-needed
media attention, it was not the kind our organization would like to

Maybe if the city of Zephyrhills would donate $10,000 a year with no
strings attached to our organization, we wouldn't have to set up our
booth or hold fund-raisers in Zephyrhills.

Michael Palmieri
Executive Director, FORML
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MAP posted-by: Derek Rea