Thursday, January 12, 2006


State abstinence director fronting for PR firm?

Thank you, AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland. Without you, apparently no one would know what Cristocrat and State of Ohio's abstinence "manager" Valerie Huber is up to.

We first posted about Huber early last September and described how she got her facts a little screwed up when she tried to assert that an outbreak of teen pregnancies at Timken High School could have been prevented with an abstinence program. Funny thing: It turned out that the school already had an abstinence program in place, a situation that led many knowledgeable educators to conclude that the problem(s) couldn't simply be solved with a "just say no" approach. We also reported that Huber had wanted to pay Maggie Gallagher $5,000 to be a keynote speaker at department's annual abstinence conference. Gallagher was one of the national newspaper columnists who was secretly taking payments from the Bush administration to shill for it's programs.

At the time, we promised to do more digging about Huber but unfortunately we got sidetracked into other projects. Had we kept on top of it, we could have reported that pressure from a number of community groups apparently forced Huber to ditch the contract for Gallagher.

And, although we got distract from following Huber, the same can't be said for the ATGC. Apparently these folks are keeping a close eye on her, a situation we suspect isn't so much based on a personal dislike of Valerie but a dislike for the way AIDS funding has been diverted into funding abstinence programs like hers.

Today, via a ATGC tip to the Plain Dealer, we learn that Huber has got herself stuck in an odd but interesting situation where she is listed as the agent for a Colorado PR firm that is seeking a contract with the state's Department of Health's abstinence program:
Cox Creative Inc. of Denver, which describes itself as a full-service marketing company, filed registration papers with the Ohio secretary of state on Dec. 12 after receiving preliminary approval to develop a media campaign promoting sexual abstinence until marriage. The papers listed state abstinence coordinator Valerie Huber's name and address at the Ohio Department of Health as the contact agent.
In this position, she would receive the business correspondence sent to Cox Creative which is bizarre because, as abstinence manager, she also have a hand in drafting the same correspondence. In other words, she is involved in sending business communications to - herself!

It appears that no contract for Cox has been approved by the state's Controlling Board. But the incident has set off an ethics investigation and this bizarre situation adds one more example of why Huber and her program need to be monitored.


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