Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Results of FOIA Requests - US Spending on Gathering

I'm tired and had a goal of getting this info out by the end of the year. I posted it all in my other blog, so you'll have to hop over there to see the info.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Karin's thoughts on Conference Call with Mark Rey

On Tuesday, December 9, I participated in a conference call with the Undersecretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, Mark Rey. The best way to sum up this call was as a wrap up to the Rainbow trail we have all traveled together. I did not take minutes, but I did take notes on what I considered key points for people who are committed to the future of the rainbow gathering.

The call was recorded and is available online thanks to Marty Who Loves to Party. It has a little over 5 minutes of waiting music before the conference call begins and it only will play on bandwidth LOW so you have to click the BANDWIDTH ?LO? FOR THIS TO PLAY!

Last spring in a series of conferences calls with Rey, I kept pressing him to revise the Forest Service Group Use Regulations to make it clear that an unsigned operating plan could be used in lieu of a permit for peaceful assembly on public land. He said he would consider it after the July gathering. Well no surprise to anyone, now he says it’s too late in the Bush administration to initiate regulatory changes.

As to the gathering in Wyoming, my understanding of Mark Rey’s words were that things broke down because we did not use one of the sites on their list of recommendations based on site selection and USFS staff who would work well with gatherings – take that as you will.

Now to going forward into the future.

First off, Mark Rey had the Inspector General of the USDA open an independent investigation into the incident that happened at the Wyoming gathering on July 3 at Kid Village. This investigation is ongoing. Any statements or supporting documentation that you feel should be included in this investigation should be sent to

Case # KC899-0025
Mr. William Busby
c/o USDA Inspector General
12136 W. Bayaud Avenue
Suite 210
Lakewood, Co 80228
Email Electronic Media

Please include contact info along with any material, written or otherwise provided... A clearly marked item in terms of identifying its content will be best received. It does not sound as though telephone contact is desired, though he did sound enthusiastic about receiving other forms of evidence -- video, camera, written, etc.

He is willing to look at the tasing incident, as incidental to the main thrust - July 3 @ Kid Village.

Please cc your congressional representative and United States Senators with any information you send. I have no idea where this investigation will lead.

On the call, Mark Rey spent a lot of time outlining the process by which cabinet and subcabinet positions (such as his) are appointed.

A couple of major points.

• Our senators get to grill the nominated appointees, so we need to make sure our senators have a series of questions to ask the nominees. This needs to be done ASAP as the ball is rolling on this process
• We need to protest appointment of people who will not support our values and concerns.

My biggest concern at this point is getting people appointed to cabinet level positions such as the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (Forest Service) and Department of the Interior (BLM) that will be Rainbow friendly as well as being a lover of the earth, not the timber companies.

The Obama transition team is currently falling into place.
A great list is available online.

Bart Chilton and Carole Jett seem to be the two people leading the USDA transition process. . They will be working to find nominees for all cabinet and subcabinet level positions. To make suggest or include input, visit the website and select topic “Transition Process” I’m still trying to find contact info for these two people.

My apologies if this information isn’t as focused as it could be. If you haven’t listened to the call, please do so as there are many more detailed ideas on how we might be able to continue to have a gathering that in the eyes of the USFS is “legal” and that does not require a permit.

Friday, December 12, 2008

December 17 Meeting with USFS

Dec. 17th at the FS HQ on Rodeo Road in Santa Fe, from 10 am to 11 am.

This is an open meeting but notice please that is planned as just an hour. The idea is to go over A) some other sites we like so the FS can vet them for problems (rare snails, archaeological sites, boy scouts, etc.) well in advance; B) the proposed alternative model (operations plan) that Mark Rey spoke about during the teleconference last week -- so that the process is set in motion in advance of regime change in D.C.; C) to talk briefly about the Inspector General's investigation of the FS Leo relations with the Rainbow; and D) a brief intro between some of our legal team here in NM and the Counsel that the FS uses here [when these lwyrs have met each other in advance in the past it has always proven beneficial]. Those are the topics that have come up so far.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rainbow and Rainbow

The Rainbow Gathering has used the image of a rainbow for many years as has the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer community (GLBTQ). Yet at rainbow gatherings, we don't discuss the GLBTQ community much. Years back the Southern California family held a council in Orange County and we told people to meet at the Rainbow Flag. Well there were two rainbow flags at the park that day and we were all flying the same colors.

The Rainbow Gathering is a coming together of many tribes. Some of our tribes are focused by religious beliefs, some by geography and some by participation in the GLBTQ community. If you've never been to Fairy Camp, then you're missing out big time. Colorful costumes, great music and lots of hugs. Usually a few pranks floating around as well. Every gathering Fairy Camp lights up the night dressed in fabulous costumes. If you haven't had a chance to experience your inner fairy, come on out and join the fun.

Today is the Day Without a Gay and even if you didn't call in "gay" to work, you can join the cause of civil rights for all people in the United States of America. Take the time to share information (like this post) with people in your community on the importance of all people having the same civil rights in the United States. Talk about the importance of separation of church and state with your friends. Talk about your GLBTQ friends and how discrimination is hurting them.

Come out for Light Up the Night on December 20 and join me in a nation-wide peaceful candlelight vigil taking place at commercial districts and shopping centers all across the country. Let the light of the Rainbow join with the flames of all our brothers and sisters across this land and demand equal treatment under the law.

Love is the answer. Be the peace you wish to see in this world.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thanksgiving Council Notes Round 1

I'm told there is more to come, but for now, this is it.Click on the photo to enlarge it.