Re: Regs council @ NYC Rainbow Picnic

17 May 1993 00:01:19

comments by posted by chicken
> From: chicken@astro.UMD.EDU
> Subject: re:reg
> > Hi guys ... I thought I'd type in this article I just read in the
> > Eugene (OR) Register-Guard "From Register-Guard and news service
> > reports", about the Forest Service regs. The article makes them
> > sound pretty ok. So those in the know please let us know what
> > *ain't* pretty ok about 'em, ok?
> this is exactly what they want you to think. Because if everyone is
> not working together to stop this and prevent it from happening again
> (proactive) then we will never have any more gatherings.
> by the way I will post the letter about the regs from Thomas torrow
> morning sprry it has taken so long.
> >
> > Here goes [please forgive typos]:
> >
> > >From the Eugene, Or., Register-Guard, Saturday, May 8, 1993:
> >
> >
> > The U.S. Forest Service has proposed new rules requiring
> > equal treatment for large groups of people seeking permits to
> > gather in national forests.
Classic Orwellian newspeak. As things have stood from time immemorial,
people have had an "inalienable right" to peaceably assemble. It is
important to distinguish between an "inalienable right," something
inherent which cannot be taken away, or "abridged" as it says in the First
Amendment, and a "privilege," like, for example, driving a motor vehicle,
which requires a "permit," and which, unlike a "right," can be taken away.
So, ever since this country started all people had the equal right to
peaceably assemble on public (i.e. Forest Service) lands. Thus, because
everyone already enjoyed the equal right of peaceable assembly, there was
absolutely no need for any "new rules requiring equal treatment."

> > The new rules change the definition of a "group event" to
> > avoid discrimination against groups such as the Rainbow Family,
> > as well as fringe political or religious organizations.
More doubletalk. The new rules may change the definition of a
'group event,' but, to the extent that this change of definition bears on
discrimination, it merely allows the government the power - previously
prohibited under the First Amendment - to discriminate against any "group
event" which the government might choose to discriminate against. Of course
there are doubtlessly folks out there who choose to believe that the
government would never discriminate against anyone. I sure hope those folks
are correct, but I really believe they are niave. In any event, this
regulation would only "prevent discrimination" to the extent that the
government decides not to discriminate.
> > The rules also govern distribution of leaflets and other printed material.
Right, but why?
> > The Rainbow Family, a looosely knit group formed in 1972,
> > holds annual gatherings of thousands of people on national forest
> > land to celebrate nature and communal living.
> > The group held a 1978 gathering in the Umpqua National
> > Forest that drew 15,000 members, and 1,000 to 2,000 members met
> > for a regional nine-day gathering in June 1991 at an Umpqua
> > forest site about 60 miles east of Roseburg.
Also to pray for peace on earth and to communicate. And, before
this proposed regulation, since the beginning of this nation all of that
has been considered "constitutionally protected behavior." If this
proposed regulation becomes law, that "protected behavior" will become "a
crime," punishable by six months in prison and $500.00 fine. 36 CFR 261.1b.
> > The 1991 meeting was opposed by groups and individuals
> > who complained that the site, in proposed spotted owl habitat,
> > was too sensitive to support such a large gathering.
> > But Forest Service officials allowed the event to be
> > held, noting that the much larger 1978 gathering hadn't damaged
> > the forest.
Before, even though the gatherings were protected by the First
Amendment (which does not permit someone to "falsely yell 'fire' in a
crowded theater," the Forest Service could still prohibit them if the
gatherings posed some real danger. The new proposal will allow the Forest
Service to prohibit gatherings if an official feels the proposed activity
will not meet "the seven criteria" which are laid out in the regulation,
and which also happen to be the same things that officials always "are
concerned" will happen, but never do. Before those official "concerns"
were not sufficient to prohibit free assembly, this regulation will make
those groundless concerns to a "sufficient cause" for a prohibition.
> > Forest Service rules for granting permits had
> > discriminated between "recreational" events such as Boy Scout
> > gatherings and "special events," such as demonstrations, parades
> > "or any activity involving the expression of views."
More bulldinky. "Recreational" events, such as snowmobiling,
and dirt biking, go a long way toward tearing up the public lands, and so
would be legitimate targets of regulations aimed at protecting resources.
On the other hand, "(A)ny activity involving the expression of views," which
does not harm resources, is exempt from regulation by virtue of its status as
an "inalienable right."
> > A federal court in Texas, ruling for the Rainbow Family,
> > in 1988 struck down those rules and the manner in which they were enforced.
Right, but it didn't have anything to do with the Boy Scouts. The
court in Texas held that the government had violated the Administrative
Procedure in implementing the regulations, and expressed a strong opinion that
the regulations were unconstitutional. Sure, if the government keeps writing
similar regulations long enough, eventually it will find a judge who believes
that the First Amendment is an anachronism which was practically superceded
by the advent of television.
> > The new rules would require permits for all
> > "noncommercial" groups of 25 or more, require officials to say in
> > writing why they denied a permit, and provide for quick appeals.
> first off the time that they have to deny a permit is not specifted
> and therefor it is a would/could cause a problem because
> they have to time limit other than "without unreasonable delay"
> Pg 26942, Column 1
> but never talk about what is reasonable. What I think, you think, and the
> USFS may not be the something when it comes to reasonable delay.
> > Forest officials could still require that the activities
> > not interfere with other activities and not endanger health,
> > safety or the environment.
> this is the real problem first we have to apply for a permit which we
> will not do. Then if we did (which we wont) it would in some unknown
> time be denied because we do not satify their concerns about health, etc.
> > The rules won't go into effect until after Aug. 4. The
> > public may comment on the proposals until then.
> the comment ends then but the rule will not go into effect until after
> they read all the comments and rework (maybe/ or maybe not) the reg
> to reflect the comments.
> I urge everyone to read and and decuss it here and in other places.
> In the Light
> chicken
> >
> >

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