Letter from Rainbow Legaliaison 3/29/93

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

March 29, 1993

Larry Hill
Forest Service
2250 Highway 50
Delta, Colorado 81416

Reply To: 2700

Dear Mr. Hill,

Thanks for sending a copy of the Forest Service's Rainbow Gathering 1992 report in response to my request. Hopefully it will promote some common understanding. Immediately, there are two points which I find difficult to understand.

First, the report appears to be inherently dichotomous. On the one hand it claims, "managers need to remember they are dealing with PEOPLE. They need to find common ground and work from there.... Work with them versus against them." Pg. 43. On the contrary there is also strong emphasis on "proactive management," maintaining "a strong law enforcement presence" (pg. 5), for "proactive response" (pg. 7, emphasis in original), "(l)aw enforcement ... proactive, not reactive management needs to be emphasized." Because "proactive" could serve as a convenient euphemism for "first strike," or "harassment," the dichotomy arises in trying to understand how a "proactive response" is other than an "us versus them" management approach.

Forest Service expenses are also a little tough to understand. For example on pg. 7 the total sum is given as $396,208. Simultaneously on pg. 34 the figure is put at $483,000. In either event, the money seems to have gone largely to "proactive" law enforcement. If economy is to be a Forest Service concern, it would certainly seem that a considerable savings could be accomplished by scaling "law enforcement" more realistically.

"For comparison, arrests made in Delta County in 1991 for the period of June 15 through July 15 totaled 81. In 1992 the total number of arrests for the same period is 125." Pg. 32. "The Rainbow Family gathering represented a doubling of Delta County's population." Pg. 33. Apparently this "doubling" of population resulted in only a 50% increase in crime. These figures seem to indicate that 1) the average "Rainbow Family member" is at least twice as law-abiding -- particularly considering the strong, proactive law enforcement task force arrayed against them -- as the average Delta County resident, and 2) the wisdom of spending small fortunes on "proactive law enforcement" is questionable.

NOTE: "Proactive" is a new word. It has only begun appearing in dictionaries within the past few years. I do not understand why "proactive" is necessarily a "good" idea.

Second, I was personally troubled by the report's speculative finale: "Recognize that Rainbow legal activity may have alternative motives." Pg. 43.

My association with the Rainbow Family is almost exclusively limited to "legal activity;" which has been directed at developing strategies to AVOID going to court. Recognize that there wouldn't be any "legal activity" on my part except for the Forest Service's ongoing attempt to "violate the 'freedom of religious expression' clause of the First Amendment" (pg. 2), by amending 36 CFR 251 and 261.

Please also recognize my personal legal activity is motivated solely by a sincere impression that certain elements influencing Forest Service policy have been -- for whatever well-intentioned purposes -- attempting to stifle the constitutional right of peaceable assembly on public lands under the guise of "proactive" law enforcement; which, I believe, is not a "good" idea.

Because the success of my legal activities on behalf of the Rainbow Family will depend on my ability to achieve some degree of understanding with the government officials with to I am communicating, an official government report purporting "that Rainbow legal activity may have alternative motives," is pejorative, and, at least in my own case, untrue.

Specifically, I would appreciate it if you could help me understand 1) how "proactive" law enforcement contributes to management which is not "us versus them," and 2) why the Forest Service's official report appears to conclude with a gratuitous swipe at "Rainbow legal activity."

Thanks for your prompt attention.

In service to peace through understanding,

cc: Secretary Michael Espy, DOA
Lamar Beasley, USFS
Marian Connolley, USFS
Cathy Way, White House, Domestic Policy
Don Arbuckle, OMB, Forest Service Desk
David Sentielle, D.C. Circuit Court
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