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Posted: 12/23/2005 10:54:23 AM EDT
Columbine memorial plates net little benefit for survivors
The Associated Press
DenverPost.com
12/23/2005

Colorado Springs, Colo. - A license plate approved by lawmakers to memorialize the Columbine High School shooting victims and raise money to help survivors has become the state's most popular specialty plate, but no money has gone to victims.

Drivers have to pay $25 above the usual licensing fees to get the specialty plates, which display an image of a columbine flower and the words “Respect Life.” Columbine victims can benefit only if buyers make a voluntary contribution to a special fund, which can distribute proceeds to victims only after reaching a $25,000 threshold.

Since they were approved in 2001, the state has sold 87,035 plates, raising $2.1 million for the state. But donations to the Columbine Fund have hit about $11,000, not enough for it to begin benefiting victims, said Rebecca Arno, spokeswoman for the Denver Foundation, which oversees the fund.

She said many buyers apparently are unaware that the plate was approved to benefit victims of the April 20, 1999, Columbine shootings, in which two students killed 12 other students and a teacher before killing themselves.

When the Legislature debated whether to offer the plates, many lawmakers and others expressed concerns that the phrase “Respect Life” would be interpreted as an anti-abortion slogan.

“There are a lot of reasons people have that plate that don't have anything to do with Columbine,” Arno said.

The Legislature rejected the plates in 2000, but proponents later received administrative approval from the state Revenue Department. Pauline Jones of Teller County said she bought the plates to convey her “belief in choosing life over abortion,” but she said she also donated $50 to the Columbine Fund.

“You shouldn't be able to get the plates if you don't give to the fund,” Jones said.

Donna Taylor, whose son Mark survived several gunshot wounds, said her son has received $50,000 from various fund-raising efforts. But she said she was frustrated that people were obtaining “Respect Life” license plates without contributing.

“From the beginning, (people) said they were going to help the families with school and everything,” she said. “That never happened.” Denver Foundation President David Miller said the organization might disburse the Columbine Fund's $11,000 next year, likely to victim-advocate organizations, after contacting donors to offer a refund if they disapprove.

“It is quite clear that the original vision for that fund is not going to materialize,” he said.





www.denverpost.com/news/ci_3338278
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 10:59:21 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/23/2005 11:00:58 AM EDT by ArmedAggie]
Big surprise.

Hey, as long as the state can make money off the tragedy...

ETA: Don't forget, even bad publicity is good publicity. Some people who didn't know about the plates already will now want them, too. This freshens it in the minds of the consumers and give sthe revenue stream a new set of "donors".
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 10:59:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/23/2005 11:00:39 AM EDT by thelastgunslinger]
I hate those stupid plates. I am against abortion for the most part, but the "Respect Life" bullshit on those plates is so obviously an anti-abortion message and it just doesn't belong on license plates.

And plenty of people buy that plate just because they like the way that it looks. A friend of mine bought that plate for her car "because I like the pretty flower", she had no idea what it was for.
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 11:02:06 AM EDT
They're popular all right. See the damned things everywhere. I think Colo. must have a "specialty" plate for every damned thing/cause. I do get a real chuckle out of some of these "Respect Life" plates locally. It seems "IUD" is a popular letter combo around here.
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 11:03:23 AM EDT
You gotta love Dem's logic...



When the Legislature debated whether to offer the plates, many lawmakers and others expressed concerns that the phrase “Respect Life” would be interpreted as an anti-abortion slogan.
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 11:04:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Noname:
You gotta love Dem's logic...



When the Legislature debated whether to offer the plates, many lawmakers and others expressed concerns that the phrase “Respect Life” would be interpreted as an anti-abortion slogan.



It is obviously a Pro-Life message.
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