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Howard Mechanic

Arizona government reform and social justice activists have worked for many years with the help of a fellow we knew as Gary Tredway.

We recently (early February, 2000) learned that he was not Gary Tredway at all. He is Howard Mechanic, who, the day after the Kent State shootings, was involved in a protest at Washington University in St. Louis, where he was a student. The faculty had voted to end the school's ROTC military program, but school administrators refused. A mob of students proceeded over to the old ROTC building, which was pelted with rocks and then set aflame. No one was hurt. When firefighters arrived, Howard Mechanic is accused of hurling a firecracker at them (he denies it). No one was hurt. Mechanic was nevertheless sentenced to five years imprisonment under a new law pushed through by Nixon to quell the antiwar movement.

Mechanic was forced to choose between accepting what seemed (and seems now) like a cruel and unusual punishment for his firecracker toss, or bolting. He bolted. He seems to have joyfully sentenced himself to a life of community service. It will be up to a judge to determine if that has been enough.

Arizona Common Cause does not encourage or condone either bolting from bond, or cruel and unusual punishment. Nor do we condone firecracker hurling or even, in Arizona, sparkler use. We certainly do not condone the use of false identities, most especially in elections or in public office. Our organization stands for open and honest disclosure in elections.

But we owe it to truth itself to frankly give witness to how Mr. Mechanic otherwise spent his years in Arizona. He was not a leader of our organization. But at some point, his lawyer surely will make the argument that he has performed public service that should be counted against his sentence, in which case we have material evidence that should be documented. We hereby establish this bulletin board where a public record can be assembled regarding his community service hours in Arizona. Arizona Common Cause will make the first entry. If your qualified 501 organization, through its executive director or officer, would like to add a listing, please do so at the following e-mail address:

Entry 1: February 11, 2000

Mr. Howard Mechanic, known to us then as Gary Tredway, participated as a community volunteer on the effort to eliminate lobbyist funding from statewide and legislative political campaigns. His efforts helped move the issue onto the 1998 Arizona ballot as the Arizona Clean Elections Initiative. We estimate that he donated approximately ten hours per week from February 1 of 1997 until December 31 of 1998, or approximately 995 hours of community service time. He also provided monetary assistance as it was needed.

Dennis Burke, Executive Director, Arizona Common Cause

Entry 2: February 12, 2000

From early 1995 to January of 2000, Gary Tredway (Howard Mechanic) called our office each month to donate furniture (usually about $500 worth) to formerly homeless and near homeless families served by our organization. He also donated, on a very regular basis, computers, modems and other equipment for our office and the familes we serve.

Dr. Lousia Stark, Executive Director, Community Housing Partnership, Phoenix, Arizona

Entry 3: February 12, 2000

In 1994, I was the president of Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, a four year post graduate college training physicians in natural medicine. The college is currently located in Tempe but was located in Scottsdale at the time and had been in operation only one year. I received a call from Mr. Gary Tredway (Howard Mechanic), who I did not know, asking if our college would be able to use a collection of books on herbal medicine. The college library was quite small and we were in need of books. When I visited Mr. Tredway, I was pleased and astounded at the private collection of books that he had. He stated that he was an "enthusiastic supporter of naturopathic medicine and really wanted the college to do well." Mr. Tredway donated over a thousand books to the library at Southwest College. His contribution was one of the largest contributions the college library received. If I can be of any assistance regarding this matter please call me at 602-840-2251.

Michael J. Cronin N.D.

Entry 4: February 13, 2000

Howard Mechanic served approximately five years as a key person with The Current. He provided critical leadership and resources to a publication that focused on peace, justice and environmental issues and served as a networking tool for over 60 grassroots organizations working for a better community and world. His involvement with The Current involved over 1,500 hours of community service.

Ferd Haverly, founder and former editor-in-chief of The Current

Entry 5: February 19, 2000

As relates to the Arizona Green Party, I have come up with a conservative estimate of 240 hours donated to the community by Howard Mechanic through our organization. This is based on a calculation of an estimated 10 hours per month over a two year period.

Terry Martin, Arizona Green Party

Entry 6: March 10, 2000

In l991 my wife Janet and I established the Arizona Social Change Fund at the Arizona Community Foundation. The Arizona Social Change Fund made its first grant in l995, and a total of 20 grants have been made totalling almost $100,000. Howard Mechanic has been one of the key people in making contributions of money, time and suggestions. I would estimate that he has contributed over 100 hours of time and well over $2,000 in an effort to promote social justice and systemic social change in our community. His voice has also been valuable in our many discussions about which projects to fund. His philosophy regarding the value of community non-profit organizations and their role in bringing about social justice and systemic change has been instrumental in the work of the Arizona Social Change Fund.

Michael Valder, Arizona Social Change Fund

Entry 7: March 17, 2000

Mothers For Clean Water is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of our freshwater resources and the wise management of our water supplies. For the past 10 years we have been in partnership with the Tonto National Forest monitoring the condition of the streams and riparian areas on their forest. This is done by using photo points which were set up on forest streams and are rephotographed each year by our volunteers. Howard Mechanic (known to us as Gary Tredway) has been a volunteer with our organization for three years. Each year he has spent two or three days montioring three streams on the forest. This equals approximately 100 hours of time that he has contributed to our organization.

Kathy Nelson
Mothers for Clean Water

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