Letter from William Thomas 1/25/93

William Thomas
P.O. Box 27217
Washington, D.C. 20038
(202) 265-5389

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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