When the new state capitol building was constructed out of the ashes of the old one, someone selected quotes from Plato’s Republic and the taxpayers paid to have them inscribed on our new capitol building. Here’s what was chosen for the East entrance:
“A free state is formed and is maintained by the voluntary union of the whole people joined together under the same body of laws for the common welfare and the sharing of benefits justly apportioned.”
Many understand that a free state like Plato describes would provide the most benefit for the greatest number of people over the longest period of time.
Unfortunately money determines who is represented by the “voluntary union” so the “body of laws” often fails to honor the “common welfare” and the “sharing of benefits” is biased toward those with money.
Once again a “special” legislative session is called and once again special interests will divert legislative time and attention to considering how a single industry may be given advantage. Now that Nike was given tax breaks and other considerations it is inevitable that other industries would get in line.
A major item on the current agenda is SB 633. Recognizing that their genetically modified products cannot meet the community rights standard, two giant corporations, normally competitors in the genetic engineering industry, are teaming up and pressuring our legislature to stop community rights movements in eight Oregon counties.
Citizens in those counties are claiming the community right to protect the health, safety, and welfare of residents and the natural environment, and establish environmental and economic institutions that assure community practices and policies are sustainable. (See: celdf.org)
Monsanto and Syngenta are demanding that complete control of ALL seeds be given to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, “that regulation of agricultural seed, flower seed, nursery seed and vegetable seed and products of agricultural seed, flower seed, nursery seed and vegetable seed be reserved to state.” SB 633
To assure their monopoly, these giants want to kill the community rights movement: SB 633 would, “Prohibit enactment or enforcement of local measures to regulate agricultural seed, flower seed, nursery seed, and vegetable seed or products of agricultural seed, flower seed, nursery seed, and vegetable seed.” SB 633.
Along the way Monsanto and Syngenta have to get the approval of the “voluntary union” so they donate money to legislators hoping that some legislators will be sympathetic to the monopoly of seeds and to denying community rights.
A recent Oregonian article shares the public record of those donations. As “the whole people joined together” we can learn who got the checks and monitor if those recipients do indeed favor SB 633 with their votes and support.
In the meantime it is a simple matter to add your email to hundreds already sent to legislators asking them to vote no on SB 633.
Fortunately the state makes this easy to do http://www.findoregonlegislator.com/writelegislator.aspx
Richard Reid is a founding member of Salem CityWatch salemcitywatch.org and state chair of Oregon Communities for a Voice in Annexations ocva.org. Recently Richard helped draft the Corvallis Declaration of Community Rights approved by a conference of eight Oregon Counties founding the Oregon Community Rights Network in Corvallis last month. Oregon is the fifth state to establish a Community Rights Network.