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Medium Is the Message as Lobbyists Fax to the Max

Dozens of businesses opposed to a Connecticut bill that would ban unsolicited facsimile advertising decided to lobby Gov. William A. O’Neill by fax, thus jamming his machine for hours. The governor’s office turned off its fax machine after the lobbyists, apparently organized by the National Fax Users Committee, stuffed the machine with more than 40 messages before 10 a.m. one day last week. When the machine was restarted the next morning, the messages were still pouring in. “You could not have done a better job of bringing home the problem addressed in the bill that you oppose,” O’Neill aide Charles Monagan said in a letter--which he faxed to the fax users committee. The bill awaiting O’Neill’s signature would prohibit advertisers from faxing their messages without first getting the recipient’s permission, and violators could be fined $200. The opponents argue that it would cost companies an average of $6,000 a year to comply. Press Secretary Jon L. Sandberg said the governor’s decision whether to sign the bill had not been issued, but aides said the lobbyists had proved how annoying unsolicited messages can be. They said the office was unable to receive faxed information about spring flooding in the state while the lobby messages were transmitted. A message faxed to the users committee by Associated Press received no immediate response.

--Tiny Chittenango, N.Y., staged its 11th annual Ozfest, which this year marked the 50th anniversary of the movie “The Wizard of Oz.” The town where Oz books author L. Frank Baum was born on May 15, 1856, celebrated with a parade, people dressed as Oz characters and an appearance by actor Meinhardt Raabe, 73. Raabe portrayed the Munchkin coroner who pronounced the Wicked Witch of the East “most sincerely dead” in the movie, which starred Judy Garland as Dorothy. The village of 3,600 has a yellow brick sidewalk in the business district, and some business names embrace the theme: Aunt Em’s Kitchen, which sells Oz cream; Over the Rainbow Crafts; Tin Man Construction Co., and Emerald City Bowling.

--Nicholas Daniloff will become a visiting professor at Northeastern University School of Journalism, a university spokesman said. On Aug. 30, 1986, when he was Moscow bureau chief for U.S. News & World Report, Daniloff was arrested by the Soviets and accused of spying. He and the Ronald Reagan Administration said he was framed because the FBI had arrested a Soviet physicist on espionage charges a week earlier. Two weeks after his arrest, Daniloff was exchanged for the physicist, Gennadi Zakharov.


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