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Right of Local Community Self Government Constitutional Amendment for Oregon Re-filed

An improved version of the amendment is ready for petition circulation
following the state’s rejection of an earlier version in July.

Friday, September 25, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Mary Geddry
[email protected]
541-551-1492
www.orcrn.org
http://www.oregoncommunityrights.org/

On the heals of filing of a nearly identical state constitutional amendment in Colorado, Oregonians for Community Rights (O4CR) has re-submitted a proposed constitutional amendment to the State of Oregon’s Elections Division that would secure the Right of Local Community Self-Government most specifically in placing community rights above corporate privilege.

The group had previously qualified a similar amendment initiative in the spring, but the Secretary of State made a determination in July that it did not clear certain requirements for broader petition circulation. Since July, the group chose to make a few changes to the amendment before refiling, though it still believes the state’s reasons for not accepting the older version would have been overturned by the courts.

Cleared Wednesday by the Secretary of State, O4CR will be out gathering the required 1,000 sponsorship signatures for the administrative review process to take place. The group is still aiming to be cleared for broader signature gathering to qualify for the November 2016 ballot.

The constitutional amendment is titled “The Right of Local Community Self-Government” and would codify into law the right of local community self-government, enabling the people and their local governments to protect fundamental rights and prohibit corporate activities that violate those rights. It would secure the authority of communities to put in place stronger rights and protections than those recognized at the state, federal, or international level.

“A growing number of communities in Oregon – let it be about Nestle taking a community’s water to oil and gas corporations piping unwanted LNG through Oregon to Monsanto controlling what food seed we can plant – are realizing that they are shut out of being able to protect the health and welfare
of people and nature where they live.”, said Eron King, board president of the Oregon Community Rights Network. “Sustainability is illegal today because our communities cannot say no to the unsustainable corporate projects”, says King.

Today corporations have more power to decide the future and fate of communities than the people in those communities. Corporations are legally protected and have greater “rights” over people, communities, and the environment that permit them to:

  • Grow uncontained GMOs
  • Build LNG pipelines
  • Spray toxic pesticides
  • Gentrify neighborhoods
  • Confine factory farm animals
  • Take private property for corporate use
  • Silence workers
  • Transport unwanted coal and oil
  • Maintain poverty wages

King continued by saying, “It is clear that the current legal structure allows corporations to treat our communities as property. We – the people – have become mere tenants of the corporations. It’s time we change that by changing our constitution to reflect that our right of local community self-government is above corporate control.”

Over the last two years in Oregon, county-level community rights efforts have been underway to confront an array of corporate projects from LNG pipelines to pesticides to GMOs to coal and oil trains. In each community, the aim has been to adopt a Community Bill of Rights law that secures the rights of the people and nature over that of unwanted corporate harms. Oregon communities join over 200 communities in nine states who have adopted community rights laws.

In Colorado, the Colorado Community Rights Network filed a very similar right of local community self-government constitutional amendment in August. The group had run a similar initiative effort in 2014, but because of legal challenges by the state and the oil and gas industry. they ran out of time to qualify. They too are aiming for the November 2016 ballot. More information found here: http://cocrn.org/colorado-community-rights-amendment-2/

To educate the people of Oregon about the state constitutional amendment and the community rights work underway in various parts of the state, the ORCRN is hosting Thomas Linzey from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund who is giving his talk, “Time for an Oregon Revolt: Communities Taking on Corporations and the State of Oregon” in multiple Oregon communities between October 1 to October 8. More information found here: https://orcrn.org/oregon-2015-community-rights-tour-presents/

The Oregon Community Rights Network was formed in 2013 to support local and state community rights efforts with educational and communication resources, as well as educating the public about community rights and corporate control. The ORCRN joins Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington as part of the National Community Rights Network. In each state, communities are working to adopt Community Bill of Rights laws on the local level as well as working towards a similar state constitutional amendment to recognize the right of local community selfgovernment
as has now been launched in Oregon.

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National Community Rights Network Endorses New Hampshire Town’s Community Bill of Rights Ordinance

Contact: Cindy Kudlik, [email protected], 603-780-4511
www.nationalcommunityrightsnetwork.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 31, 2015

NEW HAMPSHIRE: This month, the National Community Rights Network (NCRN) endorsed Barrington, New Hampshire’s Community Bill of Rights Ordinance. The rights- based ordinance secures the rights of residents to clean water, air, and scenic preservation, and bans resource extraction that would violate those rights. Residents drafted the ordinance with help from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). They are advancing it for Town Meeting vote in 2016.
In providing its support for the Community Bill of Rights Ordinance, the NCRN considered the efforts of the Barrington Waterways Protection Committee (BWPC) – the local group organizing to bring the ordinance to a vote. Since 2012, the committee has worked to protect the Isinglass River and surrounding waterways from gravel mining and water extraction.
Cilia Bannenberg, a BWPC committee member, stated, “We are very grateful and honored by the endorsement of the National Community Rights Network. We have worked tirelessly to educate Barrington voters that the only way to preserve individual and community rights is to enact this ordinance.”
The BWPC has dedicated itself to education, outreach, grassroots organizing, and campaigning, despite strong opposition from industry supporters. New Hampshire Community Rights Network President Michelle Sanborn stated, “Residents of Barrington understand this work is part of a longer-term effort to ban activities and projects that would violate the rights of natural persons and ecosystems to exist and flourish. They are determined to bring the people’s Community Bill of Rights forward again in 2016.”
“No community should become a resource colony for corporate profit,” said Cindy Kudlik, NCRN president. “We are proud to stand united with the BWPC to defend the inalienable constitutional rights of the citizens of Barrington and their natural environment.”
The NCRN is composed of representatives from seven statewide networks that have grown out of the grassroots organizing of CELDF, which has assisted communities to advance Community Rights at the local level for 20 years. Nearly 200 communities across the U.S. have adopted CELDF-drafted Community Bills of Rights, protecting community rights to clean air and water, sustainable food, energy, and other systems, and the right to local self-governance.
The NCRN assists the state Community Rights Networks to educate people across the country on community rights and local self-governance; helps to secure the inalienable rights of all people, communities, and ecosystems through local self-governance; asserts community rights to empower and liberate communities from state preemption and corporate harm; and advances those efforts toward state and federal constitutional change.

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MEASURE 17-63 DEFEATED

CORPORATE MISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN DENIES RIGHTS PROTECTIONS FOR PEOPLE AND NATURE IN JOSEPHINE COUNTY


MEDIA RELEASE

November 4, 2014

Contact:

Audrey Moore, Freedom from Pesticides Alliance

Freedomfrompesticidesalliance.org

[email protected]   541-597-4384

JOSEPHINE COUNTY: Voters of Josephine County voted 68% to 32%  to reject Measure 17-63.

Measure 17-63, also known as the Freedom from Pesticides Bill of Rights, would have secured the rights of the people of Josephine County to clean air, water, and soil, and the rights of nature to exist and flourish – while prohibiting the use of synthetic pesticides by government and corporations that require an applicator license as a violation of those rights.

“Though it didn’t pass, nearly 9,000 people in Josephine County stood up for the first time to protect their rights against toxic pesticides”, says Audrey Moore of the Freedom from Pesticides Alliance – backers of Measure 17-63. “Having to contend with a disingenuous ballot title and a corporate funded campaign of lies proved to be to much to combat this go around.” (more…)

National Community Rights Network Holds Historic First Meeting

CONTACT: Cliff Willmeng, [email protected], 303-478-6613

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 30, 2014
SEVEN SPRINGS, PENNSYLVANIA: At its historic first meeting earlier this month, members of the National Community Rights Network (NCRN) gathered to seat their permanent Board of Directors and accelerate the work of advancing the rights of local communities to the state and national level.

The NCRN has grown out of the grassroots organizing of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), which has assisted communities to advance Community Rights at the local level for nearly 20 years. More than 160 communities across the U.S. have adopted CELDF-drafted Community Bills of Rights, protecting community rights to clean air and water, sustainable food, energy, and other systems, and the right to local self-governance.

Since 2010, these same communities have joined together to launch state Community Rights Networks (CRNs) consisting of municipalities, grassroots organizations, and local government officials supporting Community Rights, in order to drive those rights to the state level. The NCRN is the next step in that advancement.

“The NCRN has rapidly become the leading voice in the country for Community Rights and the right to local, community self-government. It is the movement that environmental, civil rights, and labor activists have been looking for – one that liberates communities across the country from being at the mercy of corporate “rights” and governmental powers exercised by those corporations,” said Thomas Linzey, Executive Director of CELDF. Linzey added, “The time has come to free ourselves from those constraints and become self-governing in the name of economic and environmental sustainability.”

President of the NCRN, Cliff Willmeng, of Lafayette, Colorado, stated, “People and communities have for too long lived with the regulation of our freedoms, and the exploitation of our labor and natural environment. The NCRN is a leap forward for genuine grassroots organizing, and provides a platform for systemic, democratic changes to our government and economy.”

The new board members represent Pennsylvania (PACRN), New Hampshire (NHCRN), Oregon (ORCRN), Ohio (OHCRN), Colorado (COCRN), New Mexico (NMCCR) and Washington (WACRN). Each delegate has engaged in Community Rights efforts locally and is dedicated to elevating the rights of communities above the claimed “rights” of corporations in order to protect and establish sustainable food, energy, economic, and other systems.

 

The NCRN is committed to providing education, outreach, and support for the development of additional statewide Community Rights Networks. The organization is partnering with state and local Community Rights advocates to build a grassroots, people-driven, Community Rights Movement that will democratize and humanize decision-making at all levels.

The NCRN mission is to assist our state Community Rights Networks to educate people across the country on local, community self-governance and community rights; secure the inalienable rights of all people, communities, and ecosystems through local self-governance; assert community rights to empower and liberate communities from state preemption and corporate harm; and advance those efforts toward state and federal constitutional change.

Lane County Clerk and Judge Act As Gatekeepers of People’s Right to the Initiative Process

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact information:
Rob Dickinson – (541) 543-5735
Ann Kneeland, Esq. – (541) 514-9720
Support Local Food Rights
www.localfoodrights.com
Phone: (541) 272-6234

 

On October 6, Lane County Circuit Court Judge Charles Carlson issued a decision upholding County Clerk Cheryl Betschart’s determination that the Local Food System Ordinance of Lane County failed to meet pre-election requirements. The decision is a victory for the corporations that profit from GMO agriculture in Lane County and for GMO farmer John Reerslev, who intervened in the matter. It is a setback for local farmers, food-related businesses and residents alike who are personally and economically invested in local agricultural products – both organic and conventional. However, initiative supporters are undeterred; they are already planning next steps for their efforts to protect the Lane County local food system.

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