Kboo Radio Story around the Court Hearing on OCT. 9th
Lincoln County will have to wait for a decision on the legality of Measure 21-177
October 11, 2017
Maria Sause Rio Davidson
541 574 2961; cell 541 961 6385 cell 541 961 5606
Newport, Oregon: On Monday, October 9th, Judge Sheryl Bachart heard from the parties in the lawsuit Rex Capri and Wakefield Farms, LLC vs. Dana W. Jenkins and Lincoln County, and intervenor-defendants Lincoln County Community Rights. The lawsuit was filed in response to the ban on aerial pesticide spraying imposed by the vote of the people on May 16, 2017. During yesterday’s hearing, and after delivering their arguments, the parties asked for a Summary Judgment from Judge Backart in a courtroom packed by attending public.
Lincoln County Community Rights, Intervenor-defendants, held a rally at the intersection of Highway 101 and Highway 20. LCCR was supported by a crowd of over 30 people, who waved signs at passing vehicles calling out the issues that motivated Measure 21-177, among them the harm done by aerial pesticide spraying to people and ecosystems, the injustice of laws drafted by corporations for approval by our legislature which make it illegal for the people to protect their health and safety more stringently than the state’s regulations allow. This is known as State preemption. “Preemption laws are emblematic of the “top-down” hierarchical, authoritarian control preferred by corporations. Rather than have to contend with thousands of town and counties, the corporations need only seduce state and federal legislators who are always on the prowl for campaign cash,” said LCCR member John Colman-Pinning. LCCR members also called for better protection of our ecosystems and for recognition of the Rights of Nature. Honking horns saluted the sign waivers.
Attorney for Plaintiffs, Gregory A. Chaimov, argued for full annulment of Measure 21-177, on the grounds that it is preempted by state legislation, which declares that pesticide regulation is the exclusive province of the state and are more powerful than the right of the people to make law that advances greater protections for health and safety.
Lincoln County, represented by County Counsel Wayne Belmont, although defending only a small portion of the ban on aerial pesticide spraying as applying to county property and to land located within urban growth boundaries, did say that the people’s right to bring new law forward through the initiative process needs to be protected. In his argument, Wayne Belmont favored salvaging portions of Measure 21-177 and asked for advice from the judge in doing that. The judge can comment on the ordinance, but cannot add language to it or subtract language from it.
Attorney for Intervenor-Defendants Lincoln County Community Rights, Ann Kneeland, raised the argument to the high moral ground where it belongs by bringing in the language of the Declaration of Independence (recognized as an organic law of the United States and part of the United States Code), and of Section 1, Article 1 of the Constitution of the State of Oregon. Both documents refer to the people’s inherent right to local community self-government in matters that pertain to their fundamental rights, listed in each. They also refer to the government power that is inherent to the people, and to their right to change that government when it fails to protect their fundamental rights. She also referred to the power to influence legislation which corporations have acquired through the Supreme Court ruling that “money is speech”, exposing where our government is failing us by allowing our legislatures to be influenced by the profit interests of corporations, although there is no law that states that they can do this.
Judge Bachart did not issue a final ruling on the lawsuit questioning the legality of Measure 21-177 and will take the time she needs to review all arguments and reach her decision. That time may or may not come until the beginning of next year. To see all of the filed court documents please visit www.lincolncountycommunityrights.org/court-documents.
ABOUT LINCOLN COUNTY COMMUNITY RIGHTS
Lincoln County Community Rights is a public benefit organization that seeks to educate and empower people to exercise their right of local community self-government in matters that pertain to their fundamental rights, their natural environment, their quality of life, their health and their safety. Given the harms that people and ecosystems suffer from the practice of aerial spraying of industrial forest land with pesticides, the group drafted an ordinance to ban aerial pesticide spraying in Lincoln County, Oregon. Measure 21-177 was adopted by voters in May 2017, making Lincoln County the first county in the United States to ban aerial pesticide spraying through the vote of the people. www.lincolncountycommunityrights.org