Letter to Michael Espy

William Thomas
P.O. Box 27217
Washington, D.C. 20038
(202) 462-0757

January 10, 1993

Michael Espy
Presidential Transition Team
Agriculture Department
1120 Vermont Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

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 nothing more than hollow, meaningless phrases.

A lot of people who voted for President Clinton believe that Reagan/Bush policy promoted the regulatory suppression of free thought and expression, and left this country a greatly diminished First Amendment. They hope this administration will have the wisdom to reverse that trend of regulatory 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 would, in any real terms, eliminate the right of the American people 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).

Now, it appears, NFS has somehow managed to obtain an exemption from President Bush's current moratorium on regulations, and plans to submit (before January 20th) for OMB's approval, yet another regulatory attempt to subvert the First Amendment as it presently applies to peaceable assembly on public lands.

I like to think that the departing administration is just trying to slip another fast one by 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 inclinations of the preceding administration.

If my information proves correct, and NFS actually publishes a rule to restrict public assembly on public lands, please have them rescind the publication as soon as you are able.

Sincerely, in service to the Creator of life,


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