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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So much for "Change We Can Believe In" and all that BS.

Today it was announced that Obama's Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior will be former Gov. Tom Vilsak (spelling?) of Iowa and sitting Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado, respectively.

The first is an agribusiness apologist, a big supporter of Monsanto and GMOs, corn-based ethanol, etc., etc. (and no doubt in he pocket of ADM), and at best lukewarm to organic and sustainable agriculture. He probably has absolutely no knowledge of, or interest in, the National Forest System, period.

Salizar is a farmer and rancher. I don't know if he or his family have public land grazing permits or not (below cost public lands welfare-mooch ranching), but whether they do or not, I know from personal experience that virtually all livestock producers suppport subsidized welfare-mooch public lands grazing, whether they have pulic lands grazing permits, or not. Salizar is reported to be "moderate and balanced" -- what the hell ever that means- on oil and gas "development" on public lands. In other words, he'll continue the grand old tradition, of exploitation, rather than stewardship of OUR, PUBLIC RESOUCES.

Oh yes, and the by the way, HE WAS A SUPPORTER OF ALBERTO GONZALES !!!!

So far, it looks like business as usual for the next 4-8 years.

I hope you feel as betrayed as I do.