Welcoming Talk Back Northampton to the Debate

A new blog called Talk Back Northampton has joined the debate. It raises concerns about censorship. The lead post of 9/21 is an open letter from “AC”, and is similar to the comment presented and discussed in our post, “A Response to First Amendment Concerns”.

We observe that Talk Back Northampton presents a petition online. This petition asks the signer to type in a name and email address. We have concerns that “signatures” so collected may not be verifiable, such that even if hundreds of people appear to sign it, we can’t be sure if these are separate individuals, if any reside in Northampton, or even if they are in the pay of Capital Video. For our own petition, we ask people to sign on paper and provide their physical address.

12 thoughts on “Welcoming Talk Back Northampton to the Debate

  1. I would like to take this time to point out a major contradiction here.You seem to be concerned with signatures of non residents of Northampton showing up on the petition that is on Talk Back Northampton.You have stated in the past that you also have many non residents signatures,there for,those non resident signatures on the other side of this issue have as much merit as your non resident signatures.Is this a case of “Do as I say,not as I do?” It has also occured to me that you must have a very poor opinion of people that view adult material if you are making the accusation of,in your own words,astroturfing or are being payed by Capitol video.

  2. HMMMM,just wondering why my post from 2 days ago about your concern of non resident signatures on the Talk Back Northampton petition didn’t get posted? Or my post about the strict health regulations of ALL major adult movie studios? Or my post about by limiting square footage of an adult business is a form of censorship?

  3. What we’re concerned with is misrepresentation. An online petition might claim to show that 500 Northampton residents signed it, but if this is hard or impossible to verify, the reality might be that a dozen people signed it multiple times under different aliases. Similary, people might claim to be from Northampton when they are not.

    The signatures on our petition, signed on paper with addresses, are much easier to verify, and fraud much harder to conceal. We turned in our July 10-August 17 petitions to the mayor at a city council meeting, so the city can verify our signatures if they so choose.

    I only have compassion for people who view pornography. I do have a poor opinion of Capital Video, considering their behavior in Kittery, Maine, the harmful products they sell, their refusal to engage with the people of Northampton about their concerns, and the fact that its owner, Kenneth Guarino, is a convicted criminal and long-time associate of a notorious mobster. It does not seem beyond the range of possibility that Capital Video would conduct an astroturf operation.

  4. Why should you be so concerned about someone else’s petition? If you really want to show how much support you’re getting, why not disclose how many people have made donations to support your campaign? As they say, put your money where your mouth is.

  5. I’m concerned because Talk Back Northampton’s petition “signatures” are being collected in a loose way that’s easy for a few people to manipulate. There is a potential for people to be misled about the number of people who support Talk Back Northampton’s position.

    I have no interest in disclosing information about the number of our donors at this time. If people want to publicly support our position, that’s what our petition is for. We’re not going to require that people contribute money in order to be heard. Not everyone has as much cash to throw around as Kenneth Guarino.

  6. I can certainly understand why you wouldn’t want to disclose the mumber of donors you have, nor who these people are. You are most likely aware, however, that by not doing so, you open yourself up to accusations of misrepresentation; just like you accused someone of “astroturfing” you could be accused of not wanting to disclose your donors because you’re being supported by some entity of the radical right.

  7. I can assure you we are not receiving any significant support from a conservative organization at this time. We’re just two homeowners who happen to live near a proposed porn shop. If that’s not grassroots, I don’t know what is.

    Sources of support may have some interest, but we’d rather stand or fall on the strength of our arguments and facts. If we’re right, and also tiny green aliens from Mars, we’re still right.

    Porn advocates keep trying to look behind our arguments to claim that we’re motivated by personal perversion or some strange ideology. That’s silly. Everything that’s important is up on our blog for the public to see.

  8. Yes, Talk Back Northampton received $10 from David Banas of Leeds last week.

    As of the moment, the majority of our expenses have been paid for personally, by us, out of our own pocket. We see ourselves as defending our home from a multi-million-dollar out-of-state corporation that radiates contempt for women and callousness towards the communities in which they operate. Do you find this objectionable?

  9. We are not forcing. We are attempting to pursuade. The ideal of freedom of speech does not prevent citizens from speaking out to discourage porn
    consumption. This kind of vigorous debate about culture and ideas is
    exactly what the authors of the First Amendment intended.

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