Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Right of Local Community Self-Government ballot initiative do?
Allows citizens of Lane County to pass laws that strengthen and protect our health, safety, and welfare. It further protects our ability to do so, by not allowing such rights to be interfered with by corporations and other governments.

Can’t we do that already?
Not really.  The current system of law and government favors corporate rights over those of individuals, communities, and the natural world.  Corporate interests often use their influence at state, federal, and international realms to override local interests.  It’s called preemption.

Can you give an example?
In May of 2014, Josephine County voters passed a ban on growing GMO crops in their county.  Two years later, a judge ruled that the choice was not theirs to make.  It conflicted with state law and it was overturned.  The state law in question (SB-863) places all control of GMO’s in the state’s hands.  Its intent is to protect corporate industrial agriculture from challenges by local, sustainable agriculture efforts.

The law, and the corporate interests that were behind it, were successful.  It told the residents of Josephine County that whether they want GMO’s grown in their county or not is of no concern to “our” government and legal system.
The Local Community Self-Government charter amendment will protect the rights of Lane County residents to defend the health of ourselves, and those we care about.

Does the government really favor corporate rights over those of individuals, communities, and the natural world?
Early this summer (2016), the Lane County Commissioners were considering an ordinance that would allow them to block ballot initiatives before people have a chance to vote on them.  The Community Rights initiative and the Freedom from Aerial Herbicides initiative were key motivators of such efforts.
The person that proposed the ordinance, Dennis Morgan, is the leader of the Community Action Network PAC which is heavily funded by corporate interests. Those same interests strongly oppose both initiatives, and the PAC contributed thousands of dollars to the two County Commissioners that were the most vocal supporters of the ordinance – Jay Bozievich and Faye Stewart.
Do the math.

Could this self-government charter amendment be used to pass & protect a local law that weakens the rights of communities, individuals, or the natural world?
No. According to the definition of “Local Civil Rights Law”, as defined by the charter amendment, it will not apply to laws that ‘restrict fundamental rights of individuals, their communities, or nature’.  In other words it will not allow limiting of civil liberties, fundamental rights, or rights of nature.  It protects our community’s ability to strengthen those rights– not weaken them.

Could it pass?
Over 200 communities in 9 states have already passed Community Rights ordinances countering corporate threats such as fracking, water privatization, and toxic trespass.

Could it be overturned by a higher government and corporate interests?
The fact that the charter amendment guards our ability to protect our health, safety, and welfare from interference by corporations (and the other governments they influence/control), they will see it as a threat to their highest priority – money.  As such, they will likely challenge it in a court of law.
Our Community Our Rights is ready for such a challenge.  Attorneys play a big part in our efforts – locally and nationally.  We will either win in a court of law, enforcing the rights of our community and nature.  Or, if we lose, it will show the public where corporate interests are and how much control they have over “our” government and legal system.  It will be a step toward waking the public up, and moving us in greater union toward our common goal = the rights of people and nature above those of corporations.

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