Re: Legaliaison February 2, 1993 update
04 Feb 1993 22:20:11

This is the lastest update from Thomas!!!! It is realy long and it does
repleat a small section of the Feb 2 update but not much. If you have comment
please send them to or I can be contacted at (formerly
> 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
> administration.
> 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
> 202-456-2216
> 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
> gathering.
> 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
> reconsideration.
> 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
> Panetta?
> * 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.
> Sincerely,
> 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
> terms.
> 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.
> 20013
> 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
> proposal.
> 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.
> copies:
> George Leonard, Associate Chief, USDA-Forest Service
> Steve Mealey, Assistant Chief, USDA-Forest Service
> William Rice, Deputy Chief, USDA-Forest Service
> Thomas
> 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,
> Thomas
> 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
> June."
> "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
> businesses."
> "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
> Police."
> 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
> freedom.
> ***************************
> 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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