Legaliaison February 2, 1993 update
04 Feb 1993 20:22:21

MOST RECENT UPDATE: The following letter, received from NFS on February 2,
1993, indicates 1) the agency still wants to go ahead with the regulation, and
2) public pressure on the new administration (Carol Rasco and Ron Blackley,
addresses in January 30, 1993 Legaliaison letter) is our best bet to influence
the new administration's decisions on pending regulatory matters.


From: United States Forest Service
14th & Independence SW
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, DC 20090-6090
January 28, 1993
To: Thomas
P.O. Box 27217
Washington, DC 20038

Dear Mr. Thomas,

Your letter to (ex-)Secretary Madigan has been referred to me for response.
You are requesting confirmation of the status of the proposed rule to revise
36 CFR Part 251 which governs special uses of the National Forest System.

You are correct that the rule was recently exempted from the regulatory
moratorium imposed by President Bush. The basis for that exemption was the
desire to try to adopt a final rule before the summer field season when use
of the National Forests is heaviest, so that uniform rules governing all group
uses would be in place to guide Forest Service officers.

Subsequently, on January 22, the Director of the Office of Management and
Budget imposed a suspension of regulatory publication to allow the new
Administration opportunity to become familiar with and make their own
decisions on pending regulatory matters. We still hope to publish the
proposed rule soon, so that the public can comment on the proposal and we
can adopt a final rule before the summer.

As you know, you are already on our mailing list to receive a copy of the
proposed rule when it is published. We encourage you to submit your comments
on the record so that they can be considered in adoption of the final rule.

G. Dennis Keaton
Acting Director, Information Systems and Technology


c/o P.O. Box 27217
Washington, D.C. 20038
(202) 265-5389



January 30, 1993

To All Our Relations
Within the legal jurisdiction of the United States
Planet Earth

Brothers and Sisters of the Belly Button,

THE GOOD NEWS: On January 22, 1993 Leon E. Panetta, director of the Office of
Management and Budget (OMB), ordered that most "regulations not yet
published in the Federal Register," be returned for approval of "a person
appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate."

The bad news: those Bush administration regulations -- including a National
Forest Service proposal to regulate public gatherings, long guaranteed under
the First Amendment, on land which has universally been recognized as "public"
since the beginning of this nation -- are now under consideration by the
Clinton administration.

As of January 28th the government was still acting like this regulation is Top
Secret. We've been unable to even determine the official designation of the
regulation. It should be referred to as: THE PROPOSED NATIONAL FOREST SERVICE
you're talking about. They also haven't been willing to tell us exactly
what the regulation says. Our concerns are ANY requirements for PERMITS,

It is strongly suggested that NOW IS THE TIME for a flood of public comment.
If it comes now the comment can be directed toward the new presidential


ONE: Familiarize yourself with the enclosed materials and generate telephone
calls. Lots and lots of them. Organize phone trees. Call your friends,
explain the basics to them. Tell them to make calls. Tell them to tell their
friends to make calls, and to call their friends to have them make calls to
the numbers below. It is our hope that the sisters and brothers laboring in
government don't understand what they are doing. Educate yourself, educate
the administration; ASK (polite) QUESTIONS.


TWO: ALSO write letters to the folks listed below. Tell your friends to write
letters. Tell them to tell their friends to write letters (To insure that your
voice is heard also send a copy of your letter to Legaliaison at the above
Legaliaison considers a Congressional hearing premature and inappropriate, we
specifically suggest an administrative hearing.

White House Secretary of Agriculture
Carol Rasco ATT: Ron Blackley
Domestic Policy Advisor 14th & Independence SW 200-A
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. Washington, D.C. 20250
Washington, D.C. 20500 202-720-3631

We suggest writing & and calling each of the above. Phone calls are important.
Letters make a more lasting impression. If the technology is available, faxes
also seem like a great idea. The more public opposition to RESTRICTING PEACEABLE
ASSEMBLIES ON PUBLIC LANDS these good folks receive, the more seriously they will
consider whether this is what they really want to do.

Theoretically, we will still have the opportunity to comment on whatever
regulation the government might finally publish in the Federal Register. The
point now is to convince the new administration not to publish anything in the
Federal Register, because, practically speaking, if the new administration
goes along with the old administration and publishes this rulemaking in the
Federal Register, that will mean -- almost certainly -- the only recourse left

Some folks might have more confidence in the judicial system than others, and
we hope the optimists are correct. Consider, however, that if forced to a
legal defense against the elimination of free assembly under totalitarian
regulations, the defenders will be opposing not only the new administration,
which will be promulgating the regulation, but also the old administration,
which initiated the regulation in the first place, while arguing before courts
that hold uncompassionate opinions (see, e.g., Herrara v. Collins, decided by
the Supreme Court, January 25, 1993). Tough odds.

Thus, we conclude, it is imperative to ACT NOW!!!

In service to the Spirit of Understanding

D.C. Scribe



Whereas, misunderstanding breeds confusion, and, whereas, confusion breeds
animosity, and, whereas, animosity is antithetical to harmony, and, whereas
we wish to avoid disharmony, be it hereby known to all concerned that the
following is a true and accurate description of our personal understanding
regarding the origination, nature and activities of the Rainbow Legaliaison.

LEGALIAISON IS THE EARS AND EYES (and, pursuant to final approval of the
Family council, representative) OF THE RAINBOW FAMILY with respect to the
federal government's regulatory restriction of the people's right to freely
assemble on public lands. By this Declaration, and the accompanying letter
to the White House, January 26, 1993, all who profess interest in this issue
are hereby notified of all relevant Legaliaison representations to and contacts
with the government.

Since the "United States" began it has been taken for granted that the people
are free to gather on the public lands. For over twenty years the Rainbow
Family has freely, more or less, gathered on public land. Lately elements of
the government have been working to erase that freedom. In Texas, 1988, those
subversive government elements came close to stopping the National Family

After the 1988 Texas Gathering a group of brothers and sisters approached
Thomas, in (Peace) Lafayette Park, Washington, D.C., told him that the Rainbow
Family Council had consensed to the formation of a "Legaliaison," and asked
whether he would be willing to work as a volunteer. The purpose of
Legaliaison was clearly stated:

"(N)o individual is authorized to speak for the Rainbow Council, which
speaks by consensus. (T)he Rainbow Council Legaliaison devised a method
by which to keep the Rainbow Family and friends abreast of developments in
the regulatory process through telephone, mail, and word of mouth." See,
accompanying White House letter, Appendix B, para. 3.

The government's next assault on freedom of assembly occurred during the spring
of 1989 when another regulation was slipped into the process. Due, perhaps
entirely, to a letter writing campaign the government lost that battle. But
the war didn't end. The government returned to the drafting table to fabricate
another regulation.

As government agent Marian Connolly (703-235-1488) drafted them,
Legaliaison/DC Crew tracked the progress of the new regulations. It seems the
federal government has dealt in rumors. What appeared to be true one day
seemed to be false the next. Two days before Thanksgiving Council, Ms.
Connolly said that NFS had a new regulatio ready to go, the only thing holding
it up was ex-President Bush's moratorium on "non-essential" regulations. To
deliver that information to the Thanksgiving Council, Thomas went to Georgia.
He was given a $158.63 Legaliaison hat to keep the Family informed.

On Friday, January 8, 1993, Dina Apple, one of Marian Connolly's assistants,
revealed that ex-Secretary of Agriculture (Madigan) had exempted the
anti-peaceable gathering regulation from the President's moratorium. She said
the rulemaking would go to the Office of Management and Budget for preliminary
approval within "a couple of days." On, Monday, January 11th she said the
regulations had already gone to OMB.

January 28th the Washington Post reported, "About 100 11th hour (regulations)
pushed by the Bush administration will be rescinded by the Clinton
administration." On the 29th phone calls to OMB, the White House, NFS and
Agriculture indicated the anti-gathering regulation was still under
consideration at OMB. But, on the 30th we obtained a memo from the director
of OMB which indicates that the anti-gathering regs are, indeed, under

All principle attendees to the initial Legaliaison/Forest Service meeting are
listed in the White House letter, App. B. We have repeatedly corresponded
with each of those people, as well as all the people (except Don Pen RedDusk,
Swan, and Christian Norris whose addresses, the Post Office claims, are "Not
Known") who signed-up for information at the Thanksgiving council -- in
addition to many other Rainbow Family folks -- to keep them informed of the
present situation. Our letters have prompted little response.

To date postage and copies for informational mailings have been contributed by
the Peace Park Clan. The hat presently contains $188.63. Copies for this
mailing were donated, but the hat will be diminished by the cost of postage.

Surely our brothers & sisters enjoy meeting in the woods at least once a year;
we've also heard them express sincere devotion to the sacred rights of free
expression and assembly; we hope they're doing something to spread the word,
and to encourage ACTION, because, we reason, if the Rainbow Warriors fail to
mobilize for this battle their "right" to stage "gatherings" will become a
"privilege," subject to the whim of Government.

As we see it, like "ShantiSena," everyone is "LegaLiaison." Seems to us that,
like ShantiSena, when few people are willing to assume the responsibility to
BEHAVE (ACT, in the verb tense) like LegaLiaison ... the inevitable result
will be a state of chaotic disunity in which those who did the least to avert
the calamity will complain and place blame for the undesirable state of chaotic
disunity caused, at least in part, by their own inactivity.
Because we are all preoccupied with our own important problems and pleasures,
we don't have a lot of time for other stuff. Yet, this regulation would create
an important problem for everyone, adversely affecting not just our pleasure,
but also the key principles of democracy.

Be it HEREBY DECLARED, all actions taken by Legaliaison/DC Crew are sincerely
intended to foster the best interests of the human race and the Rainbow Family.
Those who dispute any opinion expressed, or action taken by Legaliaison are
encouraged to state their disagreement as soon as possible: Speak soon or
don't expect to be taken seriously six or eight months down the road.

For peace through reason,

Dave Massey Thomas

Legaliaison/D.C. Crew volunteers P.O. Box 27217, Washington, D.C.
(202) 462-0757 (collect calls accepted ONLY from jail)


To : White House
ATT: Carol Rasco, Domestic Policy Advisor
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
January 26, 1993
FROM: Rainbow Family Legaliaison Volunteers
P.O. Box 5604, Takoma Park, Maryland 20913

SUBJECT: Request for clarification of the Agriculture Department's position
with respect to U.S. Forest Service rulemaking proposal, currently
pending Office of Management and Budget approval, which would

restrict the right of peaceable assembly on public lands.

This rulemaking proposal would establish administrative restrictions on the
right of the people to peaceably assemble on the public lands for the purposes
of expression and/or religious exercise.

For the past 20 years the Rainbow Family, among others, has gathered on public
lands. Last year there were over 200 such gatherings, large and small. The
largest being in Colorado during July with many thousands of people attending.
Attached is additional information regarding the history of the Rainbow
Gatherings and the Forest Service. Appendix A

Despite agreements to act with "an attitude of positive cooperation" (Appendix
B), the National Forest Service has consistently assumed a confrontational
posture with respect to these gatherings. This adversarial attitude has
resulted in:

1. Court cases, settled, after considerable time and expense, in favor of the
right of the people to assemble. E.g., United States v. Israel, No.
Cr-86-027-TUC-RMB (May 10, 1986; 53 Fed. Reg. 16548 (May 10, 1988), amending
36 C.F.R. Sec. 251.50 (1987); United States v. The Rainbow Family, 694 F.
Supp. 294, (June 1, 1989, J. Justice, USED Tex. CA No. L-88-68); 55 Fed. Reg.
8498 (March 8, 1990).

2. Injury, harassment, and arrest of many people.

3. Exorbitant amounts of public funds spent to support a large, but
unnecessary police presence (e.g., Appendix C), and

4. A climate of administrative secrecy so hostile that, notwithstanding
previous assurances of "positive cooperation" (Appendix B), the agency not
only refuses to divulge the substance of its present proposal, but even its
official regulatory designation (from previous experience --see, draft of
the rulemaking proposed submitted by NFS to OMB on February 22, 1990 -- we
suspect it will be designated as an amendment to 36 CFR 2.51).

The Rainbow Family Legaliaison requests a response to the following questions:

* Have the proposed regulations currently under consideration for Office of
Management and Budget (Don Arbuckle j395-7340) approval been (as reported by
the Washington Post, January 24, 1992, page A-18) rescinded by order of Leon

* If that proposal has not been rescinded is the current administration
willing to hold a public hearing in an attempt to resolve this ongoing
conflict in a spirit of peace through reason?

Thank you for your assistance.


D.C. Scribe



The Rainbow Family World Peace Gatherings have occurred without permits
since 1981. OUr chief position has been that we do not need anyone's
permission to gather, and that we sign away our right to peaceably assemble
when we sign permits. We have always sought full cooperation with everyone
impacted by the Gathering. We have always left sites in a condition at least
as good as we found them, usually better; we did have a hard time in North
Carolina because the Forest Service busted our cleanup crew.

As always, no one person is qualified to speak for the Family and there
is a tradition that any contacts with the authorities have at least two
family members present, so that one may act as a "fair witness". We are all
"liaisons" for the council, and anything we say or do for the Family is
subject to the approval of the council.

A common request from the authorities is that we post a performance bond.
This is something we have never done, since it constitutes requiring insurance
to go to church. The Family holds that Rainbow is not a sue-able entity, or
is even a legal entity at all - judges aren't too hot on this idea. A good
model to cite might be the Mennonite community in Pennsylvania, which
conscientiously objects to having auto insurance, which is mandatory in PA.
They have a deal with the government whereby they simply pledge, as a
community, to make good on any liabilities incurred. Rainbow has a spotless
record on making good on liabilities.

ROOTS: The Rainbow Family of Living Light (aka Rainbow Gathering of the
Tribes, etc.) didn't really begin at any specific time, and has never really
existed as a formal organization. In many ways, it is a fundamental human
expression, the tendency of people to gather together in a natural place and
express themselves in ways that come naturally to them, to live and let
live, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
In the U.S. in the late 1960's and early 70's, a kind of critical mass of
consciousness developed. Beyond the media hype of "fading movement", those who
were serious in the hippie and anti-war movements were learning what political
life was really about, and, most importantly, were learning basic economics
and to take care of their own. After some hard lessons at the many mega-events
of the time, many were becoming skilled at coping with the care and feeding of
tens of thousands of people at a time, and organized themselves into tribes
dedicated to that purpose. A diverse and decentralized social fabric began to
weave itself from threads of hippie culture, back-to-the-landers, american
indian spiritual teachings, pacifist-anarchist traditions, eastern mysticism,
and the legacy of depression era hobo street wisdom.
Although this fabric included visionaries, gurus, and people with strong
organizing skills, it has not produced a leader/follower decision-making
process or hierarchy. Instead, all decision making power is held in a main
council, open to all, with all individuals holding equal power, and all
decisions made only by unanimous consensus. Although it is frequently a
difficult process, it has stood the test of time, and has served the whole
quite well. This process makes it essentially impossible for authorities,
power-trippers, or hostile elements to intimidate or manipulate individuals
to the detriment of the group.
LEGAL: This process also presents challenges to the legal system,
especially when it comes to simply defining Rainbow in legal terms. The
authorities are constantly searching for our "leaders", "representatives", or
"organizers" and seem to be conceptually unable (or unwilling) to cope with
the reality that we don't have any. The Gathering uses the term and concept
"liaison" (or "legaliaison") to refer to one who communicates with authorities
but has no power to act on behalf of the Council. in the 1988 Texas case,
Judge Justice stated that he felt the government had a right to choose
representatives from within the family if we refused to appoint them, but this
portion of his opinion may not be binding.
The Gathering seems to consider itself a relatively pure example of
Peaceful Assembly, and therefore the only "permit" required is the guarantee
of the right provided in the First Amendment. A number of times, in more
cooperative years, the USFS has accepted "operating agreements", negotiated by
both parties and revocable by no one, in lieu of permits. Perhaps they could
be convinced to accept this as a permit alternative on a permanent basis -
this would be ideal, and has some precedent.
The Gathering has also consistently refused to pay performance bonds, citing
the spiritual nature of the Gathering and that it would be unconstitutional to
"require insurance to go to church". Judge Justice certified us as a
"defendant class", but lawyers have said that this doesn't necessarily mean we
are a sue-able entity (see enclosure "Why We Don't Sign Permits"). It's
interesting to think that Rainbow simply may not be truly definable in legal
Certainly the Gathering seems to feel that the Government has no right to
regulate it, but here's where they part company with the courts. it seems that
the courts have held that the USFS has the right to regulate Gatherings, but
has so far failed to write regulations that are constitutional. Ideally, we
would undermine their "right" to regulate; otherwise, we must simply fight
them every time they try, on the theory that they will ever be able to write a
regulation constitutional enough to stand up. With the conservative shift in
the courts now, this is a shaky bet. If there is some type of higher recourse,
permanent injunction, congressional intervention, etc., that we can achieve,
perhaps we can stay out of court for good.
FOOTNOTE #1: In recent years, the authorities have tried to suppress the
Gathering on the supposed grounds that the Gathering is a sanitation hazard.
Although our sanitation technology is constantly evolving, the reality is that
our Gatherings generally exceed the U.S. Army Field Standards for large group
camping, we always seek to work harmoniously with local health departments,
and they have certified us as sanitary.
FOOTNOTE #2: There have come to be many spontaneous local and regional
Gatherings calling themselves Rainbow; the 1986 Arizona case was initiated at
a local Gathering. Although there is often autual support and overlap
attendance, all Rainbow Gatherings are entirely autonomous and independent
from one another.

August 16, 1988
Dale Robertson
Chief, USDA-Forest Service
14th St. & Independence Ave. SW
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. Robertson:

The cordial meeting of August 11, 1988 has fueled hopes that any
amendments or additions the Forest Service might make to 36 CFR Section 2.51
will only enhance the traditional spiritual Religious Gatherings which the
Rainbow Family has enjoyed on public lands for the past seventeen years.

Your sensitivity to our concern -- that the fundamental right of citizens
to freely assemble on public land not be abridged or endangered --- and your
agreement to an attitude of positive cooperation were both very encouraging.
We pray you will wisely measure our written Special Operations Agreement
against our verbal representations concerning the desirability of peaceful
law enforcement which respects both the delicate ecological balance of
national forest lands and the sanctity of personal privacy.

As was explained, no individual is authorized to speak for the Rainbow
Council, which speaks by consensus. However, after our meeting, the Rainbow
Council Legaliaison devised a method by which to keep the Rainbow Family and
friends abreast of developments in your regulatory process through telephone,
mail, and word of mouth. Your agreement to provide us with copies of your
proposed rulemaking prior to publication in the Federal Register will, of
course, be instrumental to the success of this planned information network
among members of the class.

Your agency can insure dissemination of information about the rulemaking
among the "class," facilitate balanced participation in the process, thereby
furthering the promulgation of a well-reasoned final rulemaking prior to
publication by addressing copies to:

Rainbow Legaliaison
c/o Jim Johnson
P.O. Box 5722
Takoma Park, Maryland 20912

Rainbow Legaliaison
c/o Peace Ray
c/o 2242 Inwood Rd.
Wilininton, Delaware 19810

Rainbow Legaliaison
c/o William Thomas
1440 N Street N.W. Apt. 410
Washington, D.C. 20005

Rainbow Legaliaison
c/o Mary Huddle
P.O. Box 27217
Washington, D.C. 20038

Rainbow Legaliaison
c/o David Massey
415 Butternut St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20012

Rainbow Legaliaison
c/o C.L. Winslow
P.O. Box 100
Del Rio, Tennessee 37737

Rainbow Legaliaison
c/o Montana Clan
P.O. Box 8574
Missoula, Montana 59807

Rainbow Legaliaison
New York Rainbow Family
P.O. Box 15577
New York, New York 10009

We reckon that with a minimum of three weeks advance notice the people will
be in a position to iron out any rough edges that may surface in the wake of
your preliminary rulemaking, thus enabling you to prepare a smooth regulatory

The professional and friendly demeanor of your entire staff make our
meeting both pleasant and constructive.

Eager to assist you in constructing a world of peace and respect for the
environment, we remain your friends in peaceful construction,

Acting scribe for the Rainbow Council Legaliaison
for the Rainbow Family Tribal Council.


George Leonard, Associate Chief, USDA-Forest Service
Steve Mealey, Assistant Chief, USDA-Forest Service
William Rice, Deputy Chief, USDA-Forest Service


P.O. Box 27217
Washington, D.C. 20038
(202) 462-0757
February 5, 1991
Marian Connolly
USDA, Forest Service
12th and Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20090-6090

Dear Ms. Connolly,

Having reviewed a copy of the NFS report on the 1991 Vermont National Rainbow
Gathering, I was reminded of our telephone conversation of January 18, 1992,
regarding the anti-gathering regulations you are currently working on.

I recalled asking whether you really believed in what you were doing with
relation to these to-be-proposed-regulations, and your reply to the effect
that you believed them to be necessary.

Notwithstanding your sincere beliefs on this issue, I still have serious
reservations as to the necessity of additional regulations which would have
the direct and proximate effect of further limiting traditional concepts of
individual liberty.

Hopefully the accompanying summary will give you food for second thought on
your present position.

On the other hand, if you could take the time to bring to my attention any
substantial issues that have escaped mention in my summary, it would be very
helpful to my personal quest for an accurate understanding of reality.

In service to a loving Creator,



The National Forest Service recently completed a report, prepared by NFS Public
Relations Officer Susan Denoncour, about the 1991 National Rainbow Family
Gathering in Vermont. If this report is credible, I believe, it shows that the
government anticipated the worst, feverishly prepared for the worst, yet
carefully documents the fact that virtually nothing undesirable happened.

Essentially the NFS knew the Rainbow Family "insist(ed) that their promise to
'live in harmony with the land' was enough to guarantee health, safety and
environmental protection." In fact, the report indicates that the Family
fulfilled that promise.

Even though NFS"s worst fears proved to be nothing more than silly worries,
the report still concludes with recommendations which are totally inconsistent
with the facts it records. Rather than simply admit their fears were
groundless it appears that the NFS opts to pretend the worst case scenario
actually materialized.

The twenty-nine page report is summarized in six pages, and accompanied by
approximately 150 pages of appendices. The following is my summary of the
official 29 page summarization.


"Each year the Rainbow Family of Living Light congregates on a national forest
of its choosing to celebrate their bond with the Earth and to pray for world
peace and healing."

"There is no apparent leader or formal leadership structure. They believe in
human equality and all members have an equal say in decision-making and an
equal share of power. They govern themselves by consensus. They advocate
tolerance and acceptance of all beings and beliefs which results in a group
with diverse, and often divergent values."

"As American citizens, Rainbow Family members defend their first amendment
rights to free speech and peaceful assembly on public land..... In 1988 the
Rainbow Family's constitutional right to gather on public land was upheld by a
federal district court in Texas."

"In last minute Rainbow style, the Family announced its selection of the Rob
Ford Meadows within the Green Mountain National Forest. A seed camp of 200-300
Family members arrived to prepare the site for the event. Much of the work
was slow, but they were basically ready when the masses arrived at the end of

"July 4th was the culmination of the gathering, with traditional rituals
observed. Thousands of Family members met at main meadow for the silent peace
vigil from sun-up until noon with boisterous celebrations following."

"On August 5, Forest Service officials conducted a final inspection of the area
and declared the clean-up and rehabilitation work complete and acceptable."


"Attendance peaked on July 4 with an estimated 16,000 people on site....
Despite the masses of people, the event concluded with relatively few serious
reportable incidents."


"From the start three (sic) issues concerned the Rainbow Family and Forest
Service officials alike (:)"

"WATER - The Rainbow Family was determined to provide adequate water from
natural sources.... despite abnormally dry weather, the system surprisingly
kept up with demand during the entire gathering."

"PARKING - The Rainbow Family ignored Forest Service advise to arrange fee
parking on nearby private land.... This required the Family to shuttle
thousands of people from parking areas to gathering access points."

"'A' CAMP - Those who consume alcohol were encouraged to do so in the confines
of "A" Camp which was located at the back entrance to the gathering. Hundreds
of people came in contact with intoxicated and often belligerent and abusive
"A" Camp residents daily. The confrontational atmosphere around the camp is a
perennial problem at Rainbow gatherings."

"FORMAL AGREEMENTS - The Rainbow Family would not approve or sign any
operational agreements, insisting that their promise to 'live in harmony with
the land' was enough to guarantee health, safety and environmental protection."


"ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS - Following the gathering, the Family did a thorough and
acceptable job of site rehabilitation."

"SOCIAL IMPACTS - When the Rainbows left, the communities resumed their normal
routine with no scars, only a few new memories."

"ECONOMIC IMPACTS - The gathering brought a brief economic boost to local


"There were no major health or safety problems and no permanent or significant
impacts to local communities or the natural resources."

"The Rainbow Family has gathered in national forests for two decades.... No
one plans for it, no one budgets for it. And although the Forest Service has
been successful at rallying around the incident once it materializes, it needs
to take a more proactive approach. The Washington Office should identify the
event in its annual program of work and budget adequate funds."

"Secondly ... the Forest Service needs to finalize procedures for requiring a
special use permit and performance bond for all large group gatherings on
National Forest System land."

"Lastly, during the 1991 Rainbow Gathering, it became apparent that the
American public has not reached consensus on the appropriateness of large
groups gathering in their national forests."

Needless to say the American public has never reached consensus on anything.
However, what is apparent (as evidenced both by the Texas district court
decision mentioned in the report, and the fact that the Rainbow Family has
been gathering on public lands for twenty years) is that the fundamental law
of this country has long recognized the appropriateness of such gatherings.
Assuming -- although the report provides no basis for this assumption -- that
the question of the "appropriateness" of such gatherings does indeed extend
beyond the personal opinions of those involved in the preparation of this
report, and has indeed begun to infect a considerable segment of the American
public; that hypothetical situation would only illustrate how sadly the
collective American mind has degenerated since the days when freedom of speech,

religion, and assembly were widely considered to be immune from totalitarian
government meddling.

The bottom line on "Social and Economic Impacts," as summed up by the NFS,
"There were no life threatening incidents, no personal injuries, no property
damage and no perceivable changes in the area's social structure or values."
Moreover, "There were no known unpaid bills following the gathering in
Vermont." Page 24.


"The Addison County Sheriff's Department and the USDA Forest Service were lead
agencies in the cooperative law enforcement effort that also involved the
Caledonia, Orange, Rutland, Washington, Windham and Windsor County Sheriff's
departments; the US Border Patrol; US Marshal Services and the Vermont State

Despite the fact that the Rainbow Family neither requested nor desired it, and
although it complains about financial burdens, the NFS report leaves the
distinct impression that far and away the greatest government expense was for
"law enforcement." In this area the report leaves the reader with a rather
fuzzy view:

"A full report of the law enforcement operations connected with the 1991
Rainbow Family Gathering has been prepared under a separate cover."

Still fairly clear inferences may be drawn.

According to the Financial Summary NFS spent $297,171 (page 12, alternatively,
on page 28, the figure is $301,100) to "administer" the gathering. The report
reflects that $277,190 was spent outright on "law enforcement." The remainder
of the money appears to have gone for law enforcement support (radios,
telephones, video equipment -- some of which was apparently stolen,
possibly by law enforcement personal -- etc.), NFS "public relations," and a
small, indeterminable sum which went for "surveying stakes, and gravel for
road restoration."

Compared to the price of a B-2 bomber, for example, $297,171 dollars is a
pittance. Just the same the taxpayers didn't get a great deal in return for
their pittance. NFS flooded rural Vermont with law enforcement agents. Over
the period from June 1, 1991 to August 5, 1991 this deluge of police resulted
in only 9 arrests and 69 traffic citations issued to residents of 22 different
states. Vermont, with 15 citations, had far and away the greatest number of
citations to citizens of a single state.


NFS admits, "Some local citizens were irritated by the increased law
enforcement presence on the State highways and in towns. Some felt it was an
unnecessary show of authority that turned their community into a police state."

Appendix H-19 to the report, a Vermont Human Services Agency document, might
easily be used to support a charge that the government's obvious preoccupation
with "security," was, in reality, totally unnecessary:

"The Department of Corrections expended very little in costs and
man-power.... the majority of our expense was in preparation by Central Office
staff in the event of a mass-arrest.
"Rutland Superintendent Michael O'Malley, who was closest to the situation,
advised that the gathering had extremely minimal impact on his institution.
As comparison, he used 'fair week,' which he indicated on its first night
alone generates more problems for his facility than what was experienced with
the Rainbow Gathering."


Instinctually, perhaps, humans fear what they do not understand. It is quite
conceivable that the USDA, NFS, et. al. do not understand "praying for world
peace," or striving to "live in harmony with the land." But, it seems, a lack
of understanding cannot justify a needless regulation which would stifle



John Q Public
Any Street
Anytown, USA 77777
January 25, 1993
Michael Espy
Secretary of Agriculture
14th and Independence S.W. Rm. 200-A
Washington, D.C. 20250
ATT: Ron Blackley

Dear Mr. Espy,

Congratulations on your new position. I am praying that you will use your
increased power with wisdom, because only wisdom will contribute to a more
perfect union.

You will probably agree that without freedom to assemble, "freedom of thought"
and "freedom of speech" -- the true keystones of any democracy -- become
hollow phrases.

Many who voted for President Clinton believe that Reagan/Bush policy promoted
the regulatory suppression of free thought and expression, and greatly
diminished the First Amendment. They hope this administration will reverse
that trend of abuse.

For much of the past seven years the National Forest Service, one of the
agencies within Agriculture, has repeatedly (albeit, thank God, unsuccessfully)
attempted to implement a regulatory scheme which. in any real terms, would
eliminate the right of Americans to freely assemble on "public lands."
United States v. Israel, No. Cr-86-027- TUC-RMB (May 10, 1986; 53 Fed. Reg
16548 (May 10, 1988), amending 36 C.F.R. Sec. 251.50 et seq, (1987); United
States v. The Rainbow Family, 694 F. Supp. 294, (June 1, 1989, J. Justice,
USED Tex. CA No. L-88-68); 55 Fed. Reg. 8498 (March 8, 1990), and related
draft of proposed amendment to 36 CFR 251 submitted to OMB (February 22, 1990).

Somehow NFS has managed to obtain an exemption from ex-President Bush's
moratorium non-essential regulations, and Don Arbuckle (395-7340) at OMB is
currently considering the Bush administration's last gasp effort to subvert
the First Amendment and restrict peaceable assemblies on public lands.

I"d like to think that the defunct administration has tried to slide one last
fast one past the American public before the new administration even knows
what's going on.

You have an opportunity to nip this affront to democracy in the bud, and
reverse the authoritarian bent of your predecessors.

Please rescind this rulemaking proposal as soon as you are able.

In service to the Spirit of Understanding,

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