The fight for boater's rights is ongoing and Standing Watch is still the prime mover in the fight despite a few detractors trying to garner some of the attention without putting in the actual work. Unfortunately, we have a problem concerning membership participation. The need for member participation has been less recently after the barrage of e-mail activity during the legislative session for the Harrington/Posey Bill. However, the last time a request was made for volunteers ( Sarasota Poker Run America event 7/6/02), I received 2 replies out of 258 e-mails, one saying he was leaving town and the other saying he was leaving the country. We cannot win this fight with just the directors of SW doing all of the work and that is what's happening as of this writing. Regardless as to how much money each of you has contributed to this cause, you cannot sit back and let someone else fight your fight and expect your rights to remain intact. The $ave The Manatee Club has millions of dollars and thousands of members and a twenty-five year head start on us yet we are making headway with only a few people (all directors) doing the work. We need all of you to take a bigger part in our operation. Some of the things that need doing aren't a lot of fun like stuffing envelopes ( bulletin being sent to all 40,000 registered Lee Count boaters) or sending out endless e-mail appeals, but had any of you responded to the last request for volunteers, you would have been placed on a high-speed off-shore racing boat at 100 mph from Sarasota to Redfish Pass and back with a couple of stops in between. While some of you may not find that appealing, let me assure you that it was exhilarating to say the least. I was on the biggest and fastest (123 mph) boat, Mel was on a similar boat. The Matlacha July 4th event was well attended by the media and the general public to help get the word out. Standing Watch was not an organizer of the event but was represented by Randy Johnson and myself at Seven Seas Bait Shop (thanks to Jim Frock for all his efforts). Thanks are also due the organizers for a job well done. There is a lot of work being done in the background by Jim Kalvin, Vance Hurd, and John Kinney. These guys are attending meetings with politicians, boating groups, realtor groups, and others all around the state and this is where the progress is being made. It's not always banner headline stuff but it's where we will ultimately win and it costs money. We still have legal bills from the Brevard challenge and expect more when the fight comes to Lee County as it has Charlotte County already. Please renew your memberships when they come due and send a contribution over and above that for the legal defense fund. Check out the website for updates and articles but above all, keep in touch and be a part of this fight. We also ask for your input, ideas, and suggestions. You never know, any one of you may have the idea that no one else has thought of that would solve the whole problem. There will be scheduled SW meetings coming up There are thousands of pre-teen girls all over the U.S. right now begging Mom for money to send to $MC because they think that the water down here is running red with manatee blood and we have to show them that it isn't so and that they are being duped by $MC. This fight is for your rights and it is YOUR fight. We need your money but we also need your help. end of rant......Dusty



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