A Ballot Committee of
Citizens for Limited Taxation & Government
PO Box 408 * Peabody, MA 01960
Phone:(617) 248-0022 /(508) 538-3900 E-Mail:
Visit our web-page at:

*** Promise Update ***
Saturday, December 20, 1997

Greetings activists;
It’s been a busy week preparing for the Massachusetts Teachers Association’s anticipated challenge of our petition signatures before the state Ballot Law Commission, and for our counter-challenge in the Suffolk Superior Court. (They must officially file a challenge by Jan. 2nd and notify each of us "original ten" signers in writing . . . but count on it.)

We have completed copying both sides of all 5,438 petition pages and have counted all 76,319 signatures on them, of which 65,045 were certified as being of registered voters.

That gives us a statewide certification rate of 85 percent, and we are now scrutinizing the petitions for cities or towns that returned an obviously lower rate.

This task is incredibly huge and time-consuming. We can’t *possibly* get it done without a lot of help!
We need *YOU!*

We still need help in the Boston office with this part of the project. We’re working 7 days a week, days and evenings. If you can spare *any* time, please call Loretta Hayden or Chip Faulkner there ASAP at (617) 248-0022.

I’ve finally got the entire Massachusetts voter registration database of all 3.6 million registered voters, and it’s up and working in my computer now. Some of the checking I can do from here—but we *still* need folks out in "the field" who can check signatures against voter registration at the local level. If you can and will take responsibility for your town or area, please call Loretta or Chip Faulkner ASAP in our Boston office at (617) 248-0022.

I know it’s the holiday season and you have other things on your mind; we all do. We didn’t pick this time for a challenge, but we do have to defend all that effort we’ve expended, we do have to defend our petition. We have to find the time, somehow, somewhere—just like we had to find those 644 signatures we were short the night before our deadline. And find them we did!

If you have *any* time you can contribute during this critical phase, please, call Loretta Hayden and Chip Faulkner ASAP at (617) 248-0022.

Thanks for your continued support and potential assistance.

And especially thanks to those of you who’ve already volunteered and have been working in Boston all week!

Chip Ford—

PS. The following holiday message from Barbara appears in today’s (Quincy) Patriot Ledger:

By Barbara Anderson
The Patriot Ledger
Saturday, December 20, 1997

I have a child in Africa.

His name is Allieu, and he lives in Sierra Leone, if he is still alive. He was 14 years old in June.

I wrote to him in January and received his response a few weeks later, telling me the rebel war "is now over since 30th-11-96, when peace agreement papers were signed . . . We are now safe and well and everything about school is fine."

He told me about his stepmom, who is "tall with a broad nose and has a sweet voice. She is fat in size." I should point out here that she just had a baby. Allieu has two other brothers and two sisters, as part of an Islamic family that allows his father to have more than one wife. His own mother died "just after she has delivered me."

He bought a watch with the birthday money I sent in ‘96, so I’d told him about my immigrant grandfather’s watch that is now mine. "It must have been properly handled," he approved. Then he began teaching me words in his native language, and ended the letter with a mention of a recent strike in his country "on the issue of the American Diversity Visa Lottery"!

Of course I wanted to learn more about that, but I never received a response to my next letter. Instead, I heard directly from the Christian Children’s Fund President, who told me about the outbreak of fighting between West African troops and Sierra Leone forces. Margaret McCullough said that my monthly sponsorship would not go directly to Allieu because communication with the individual project children had been cut off, but would be used for emergency services.

Another letter arrived in September. "Due to escalation of fighting throughout the countryside, we’ve had to suspend all CCF sponsorship activity in Sierra Leone . . . Because of the rebel activities, we’ve been forced to evacuate our entire staff . . . we want you to know that we are not abandoning the children. We simply must assist in other ways than sponsorship."

I was given a choice of sponsoring another child elsewhere, or support CCF as it works with other agencies that provide emergency food and medical care to children in Sierra Leone.

I know that there are many children around the world who need sponsorship. But I thought of a favorite book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, in which The Little Prince takes care of the one rose that blooms on his tiny planet. Although he learns that there are millions of roses, "it is she that I have watered . . . that I have sheltered . . . because she is my rose." So I will wait, and hope, that Allieu will survive and that he knows CCF and my support are there for him.

But if you’re looking for a Christmas gift for your family— or for a lonely senior who likes to write letters—or for yourself—let me offer one of those other children. This is not altruism: you will get back much more than you give. You’ll receive a photo for your mantle, geography lessons, the assurance that you are supporting an organization ranked by Money magazine in the top 10 of all U.S. charities—an organization that treats both me and my child as part of its family. Best of all, you’ll get letters, from your child or from a baby’s social worker.

My first child, Saidu, was a baby in 1987. Massachusetts voters had just repealed the Dukakis surtax, and my accountant announced how much I had saved. Just as he asked me how I was going to spend my $250/year, Sally Struthers appeared on my TV set for the Christian Children’s Fund. It was just too delicious an idea—taking my money back from Massachusetts government and sending it to someplace where it would do some good.

Saidu moved from the project six years later, and I was given Allieu, my first African penpal. As some American leaders defended ebonics "so African-American kids can keep in touch with their roots," their roots wrote to me in formal, almost perfect English: "Your letter made our day happy with a spirit of new life."

Your letters made my day, too, Allieu. Be safe, be well, be alive. I can’t save all the children, but I hope I’ve helped save one.


Barbara Anderson is co-director of Citizens for Limited Taxation and Government.

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