Oct. 28, 2014 – “Oregon’s First Community Rights Ordinance: Josephine County Voters Decide on a Corporate Pesticides Ban”

Paul Cienfuegos’ October 28, 2014 Commentary on KBOO Evening News

(His weekly commentaries are broadcast every Tuesday evening. You can view or listen to them all at PaulCienfuegos.com, CommunityRightsPDX.org, or subscribe via ITunes.)

Greetings! You are listening to the new weekly commentary by yours truly, Paul Cienfuegos.

For the past few months on my weekly commentaries, I’ve been sharing stories about the Community Rights movement, as it spreads across this country. There are now almost 200 Community Rights ordinances in eight states, each of them establishing and enforcing a new Bill of Rights for local communities and counties.

Just one week from today, on Tuesday, November 4th – the state of Oregon may very well become the ninth state where one of these extraordinary new laws have been passed. The residents of Grants Pass and Cave Junction – and the other small towns that make up Josephine County – will be voting on a Freedom From Pesticides Bill of Rights, that if passed would ban all corporate and government spraying of pesticides anywhere in Josephine County.

As the campaign website explains:

After years of working with official investigations and regulatory agencies in attempts to limit the spraying of dangerous and toxic pesticides, local residents within Josephine County came to learn that not only does the current structure of Oregon law permit the application of these poisonous and often untested chemicals within our neighborhoods and communities, it actually denies the right of local communities to say “no” to pesticides. It was this revelation that motivated the crafting of the Freedom from Pesticides Bill of Rights.

Here are some excerpts from the proposed ordinance:

Section 1:

* We the people of Josephine County declare that we possess a fundamental and inherent right to govern our own communities.

* We the people of Josephine County assert our right to self-government to adopt this ordinance, which creates a freedom from pesticides bill of rights for the people of Josephine County, which protects the ecosystems, surrounding lands, and public health of the citizens of Josephine County from pesticide use.

* We the people of Josephine County recognize that current laws and regulations permit and protect the use of pesticides, threaten our public health, and interfere with our right to community self-government. A large number of pesticides, such as DDT and atrazine, have been proven harmful to both humans and the environment. Knowing over 88,000 chemicals are in use in the United States, the risks from trespass, due to the failure of our federal, state and local governments to protect us, are no longer acceptable.

* We the people of Josephine County, in order to protect the rights enumerated within this ordinance, declare that all pesticide use by corporate and government entities (the largest users of pesticides) on all lands within Josephine County except for private residential properties must be prohibited.

Section 2. Freedom from Pesticides Bill of Rights

Right to be Free from Chemical Trespass: The people of Josephine County, the natural community, and ecosystems within the County, possess the right to be free from trespass of chemicals associated with pesticide use.

Right to Pesticide-Free Air, Water, and Soil: The people, natural communities, and ecosystems of Josephine County possess the right to air, water, and soil free of pesticides.

Right to Self-Government: All residents of Josephine County possess the right to a form of governance which recognizes that all power is inherent in the people and that all free governments are founded on the people’s consent…

The ordinance defines “Chemical Trespass” as “the involuntary introduction of toxic chemicals into the human body, the air, water, soil, natural community and/or ecosystem.”

I’ll bet you’ve never heard of a local law that sounded quite like this one, have you!

Josephine County’s ordinance was the first one to come to a vote in Oregon, but it certainly won’t be the only one. There are now active Community Rights campaigns in Lane, Benton, Columbia, Multnomah, and other Oregon counties. The aim of our movement is nothing less than restoring the inherent right of a local community majority to pass laws to protect the health and welfare of that place, and to start to dismantle the structures of law that have been guaranteeing constitutional rights for corporations for 195 years and counting. We would love YOU to join us in the county where YOU live.

You’ve been listening to the new weekly commentary by yours truly, Paul Cienfuegos. You can hear future commentaries every Tuesday on the KBOO Evening News. I welcome your feedback.

You can subscribe to my new weekly podcast via I-Tunes or at CommunityRightsPDX.org. You can sign up for my newsletter at PaulCienfuegos.com. THANKS FOR LISTENING! And remember: WE are the people we’ve been WAITING for!

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