Progressive Calendar 10.18.06
From: David Shove (
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 15:32:07 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   10.18.06

1. Internet/Moyers/TV 10.18 8pm

2. New Hope vigil     10.19 4pm
3. Eagan peace vigil  10.19 4:30pm
4. Northtown vigil    10.19 5pm
5. Small is beautiful 10.19 5pm
6. Creation stories   10.19 6:45pm
7. Rovics/Halliburton 10.19 7pm
8. WBN4P/elections    10.19 7pm
9. Iran               10.19 7pm
10. Hakeem/McLaughlin 10.19 7pm
11. Pentel gov debate 10.19 7pm
12. Jay Pond HQ opens 10.10 7pm
13. AI Wayzata        10.19 7:15pm
14. Naked Stages      10.19 8pm

15. Moyers/Fogdall - Against an imperial Internet
16. Joshua Frank   - Democrats or bust: Cindy Sheehan's lesser-evilism
17. Al Krebs       - The corporate assault on zoning

--------1 of 17--------

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 18:17:08 GMT
From: "Timothy Karr," <list [at]>
Subject: Save internet/PBS 10.18 8pm

Tonight: Join on PBS

Tune in to PBS tonight to see the Coalition featured
in "The Net at Risk," a documentary produced by award-winning journalist
Bill Moyers.

Then join other members in an online Web discussion at

Bill Moyers' show airs at 8pm in the Twin Cities. Immediately following
the East Coast broadcast, will host a live Internet debate between
Free Press Policy Director Ben Scott and phone industry flack Mike

You can be a part of this online debate. Here's how to join in:
    When: Oct. 18, 10:30 pm Eastern / 7:30 pm Pacific

You'll be asked to log in to participate in the online discussion. With
your help, we hope to light up the PBS Web site with our campaign to save
Net Neutrality.

It's important to have you there. In the six months since the Coalition was launched, millions of Americans have
joined the campaign, spoken out for Internet freedom, and put Congress and
the phone companies on notice.

Tonight's program could make millions more aware of this issue.

They need to hear the real voices of people like you instead of industry
mouthpieces. Help us use the Internet to save it from corporate efforts to
stifle online innovation, free speech and competition.

Please join us tonight!

Timothy Karr Campaign Director Free Press and

1. For the latest information on the campaign visit

2. Don't miss Bill Moyers' new essay on Net Neutrality: "Against an
Imperial Internet":

Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.;

If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for the Free
Press at:

[And see item 15 below - ed]

--------2 of 17--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: New Hope vigil 10.19 4pm

NW Neighbors for Peace, Carole Rydberg, carydberg [at]

Weekly demonstration at the corner of 42nd Avenue N. (Cty. Rd. 9) and
Winnetka in New Hope.  Many signs available ... just bring yourself.
Come and go when you please.

--------3 of 17--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 10.19 4:30pm

CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest
corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs
and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends
south of the river speaking out against war.

--------4 of 17--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 10.19 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at]

--------5 of 17--------

From: Jesse Mortenson <jmortenson [at]>
Subject: Small is beautiful 10.19 5pm

First and third Thursdays of the month
12.02 5pm
Cahoots coffeehouse
Selby 1/2 block east of Snelling in StPaul

Limit bigboxes, chain stores, TIF, corporate welfare, billboards; promote
small business and co-ops, local production & self-sufficiency.

--------6 of 17--------

From: Karen Engelsen <Karen [at]>
Subject: Creation stories 10.19 6:45pm

Creation Stories: Stewards or Masters at Hennepin Ave UMC Thursday, October
19, 6:45pm

Part of the 2006 Minneapolis Interfaith Forum: IDOLS, ICONS AND CARTOONS:
What We Hold Sacred. Join with people of faith in dialogue on topics that
affect each of us in everyday life. Participate in building community and
unity by recognizing and celebrating diversity. Help demonstrate how we
can grow in awareness, understanding and appreciate of our differences and
our commonalities. Participate in small group discussion and question the
clergy about the day's topic. Session begins at 6:45pm with registration,
followed by the program from 7:00pm-9:00pm. There is no fee to attend.

--------7 of 17--------

From: wamm <wamm [at]>
Subject: Rovics/Halliburton 10.19 7pm

David Rovics "Halliburton Boardroom Massacre" Satiric Concert

Thursday, October 19, 7:00 p.m. First Universalist Church of
Minneapolis, 3400 Dupont Avenue South, Minneapolis. David Rovics has
been called the musical voice of the progressive movement in the U.S.
He will make you laugh, he will make you cry, and he will make the
revolution irresistible. Rovics will perform at 8:00 p.m. with an
opening band beforehand. Refreshments available. Suggested donation:
$10.00 to $20.00. FFI: Call WAMM 612-827-5364.

--------8 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: WBN4P/elections 10.19 7pm

Thursday, 10/19, 7 pm, White Bear Neighbors for Peace discusses candidates
for upcoming elections, White Bear Unitarian Church, 328 Maple St,
Mahtomedi.  651-429-3529.

--------9 of 17--------

From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at]>
Subject: Iran 10.19 7pm

Free and open to the public.
Thursday, October 19, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue,
Minneapolis (usual venue), parking in church parking lot.

DEALING WITH IRAN: What accounts for the current tensions between the US
and Iran? What should one believe about the alleged threat posed by Iran
to America's security? What would be the likely consequences of a US
and/or Israeli military strike against Iran? What might the US and the
global community best do to defuse the presently dangerous confrontation
in and around Iran?

Presenter: MEHR "JAY" SHAHIDI. The owner of a local construction
company, Jay came to the US as an economics student in 1965. He has been a
peace and social justice activist ever since his high school days in
Tehran. He has served in leadership roles in over thirty social service
and advocacy groups including the United Nations Association, Citizens for
Global Solutions, and Amnesty International. He is a co-founder and the
current President of the Iranian-American Society of Minnesota. He has
worked tirelessly in the Adopt-a-Minefield (de-mining) program and in
humanitarian activities to aid victims of natural and man-made disasters.

--------10 of 17--------

From: press [at]
Subject: Hakeem v McLaughlin 10.19 7pm

Hakeem And McLaughlin Square Off Third Time
For more information contact Jonathan Fluck at 612-229-6947 or at
press [at]

In a re-match not to be missed, County Commissioner candidates Farheen
Hakeem and Peter McLaughlin meet to debate for a third time at 7pm on
Thursday October 19 at the Powderhorn Park Building, 3400 15th Avenue
South, Mpls.

Their two earlier debates took place at the Brian Coyle Center and the
United Methodist Church in the Nokomis neighborhood. Following the
Commissioner debate will be a Gubernatorial debate, and all four
candidates for Governor have been invited.

The debates are sponsored by the Powderhorn Forum Steering Committee, an
adhoc committee of Powderhorn residents, chaired by Quiana Perkins, Andrea
Nordick and Kandice Creel. These debates will give the residents of
Powderhorn and the surrounding communities "an opportunity to hear the
candidates on their own turf addressing the concerns of their
neighborhoods," states Ms. Perkins.

During their last two debates sparks flew as Hakeem and McLaughlin argued
about the amount of money the stadium deal will bring from the State to
aid social services.  McLaughlin states unequivocally that the number is
$250 million over 30 years (eight and a third million per year). Hakeem
undermined that number dramatically by pointing out that six of that eight
million each year is not solid.  It comes with the words "up to" in
front of it, which means that even appropriating one dollar would fulfill
the legislative requirement.  If that were the case the very real
possibility exists that only $2 million will be appropriated each year for
the 30 year period.

Other areas of disagreement included whether in 2002 McLaughlin had stated
his support for a referendum before any Stadium tax was approved.
McLaughlin denied having said that and then voiced his disagreement with
"rule by referendum." Hakeem pointed out a quote, published on the
Nokomis East Neighborhood Association website, where McLaughlin stated on
October 10, 2002 that there should be a referendum.

There was broad agreement that the greatest challenges to the next
Commissioner came in the areas of health care, education, transportation
and energy.  Both agreed that some mechanism needed to be found to stop
the closure of some libraries and the reduction in hours of others.  When
talking about education, Hakeem described expanding after school programs
especially in at-risk neighborhoods that would include extended library

Hakeem is looking forward to another debate with McLaughlin because she
knows how difficult it is to get an incumbent on stage.  She notes a sharp
contrast in their areas of expertise, professional experience, and
community relationships.  The public should find the debates entertaining,
Hakeem encourages, not only because of the differences between the two but
also because both are intelligent and express their viewpoints clearly.

For more information contact Jonathan Fluck at 612-229-6947 or at
press [at]

--------11 of 17--------

From: Ken Pentel <kenpentel [at]>
Subject: Pentel gov debate 10.19 7pm

Insight News Gubernatorial Panel
Shiloh Temple on W. Broadway, Minneapolis

--------12 of 17--------

From: Jay Pond <jay [at]>
Subject: Jay Pond HQ opens 10.10 7pm

Grand Opening of Pond For Congress Campaign Headquarters
Thursday, October 19th, 7 -9 pm
Hosted by the Fae Brass Quartet
1535 E 26th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Brass Music, Politics, and Community Dialogue.

--------13 of 17--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: AI Wayzata 10.19 7:15pm

There are several local Amnesty International groups in the Twin Cities
area. All of them are welcoming and would love to see interested people
get involved -- find the one that best fits your schedule or location:

AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) will meet on Thursday, October 19th, 7:15
p.m. at St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata
(near the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further
information, contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at]

--------14 of 17--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Naked Stages 10.19 8pm

timeline autobiographia: everything that is . . .
A Naked Stages Performance by Kim Thompson - October 19-21, 2006

Naked Stages artist Kim Thompson explores a series of questions that
revolve around one core question "HOW did I end up like this?" that arose
out of nomadic continental driftings, tattoos, emptied bottles and
littered ashtrays, coming out as an artist and a queer and turning 30 in
timeline autobiographia: everything that is . . ., a solo performance by
Thompson to debut at Intermedia Arts on October 19-21, 2006 with direction
by OBIE and BEESIE award-winning actress and choreographer Laurie Carlos
and sound-design and mentoring by Long Beach, CA musician Hannah Smith

How does someone raised in the bowels of deep southern conservative
evangelical fundamentalism end up a queer liberal vagabond artist? How
does someone left on a doorstep at birth in South Korea end up with a
college prep white privileged private school education? How does an Asian
American adoptee end up living and traipsing throughout Eastern and
Western Europe for eight years? What is the sound - both audible and
inaudible - of memory? Thompson is not seeking answers to these questions
but rather, through the process of chronicling the past three decades of
her life, she is discovering points of intersection in her personal
history. Thompson offers an important inquiry for self-examination, "Given
my beginnings, how exactly did I end up this way?" Via soundscaping,
visual imagery, spoken word and movement, Kim will offer her life up on
stage to explore this central question.

A resident of Minneapolis' Powderhorn neighborhood, Kim recently finished
a three-year grant performance art collaborative project with Pangea World
Theater entitled "Bridges" and was co-creator/curator of "S.A.F.E."
(Starving Artists Financial Endeavors) which she started and ran with Twin
Cities spoken word/hip hop artist Desdamona. Having moved to Minneapolis
less than four years ago, Thompson is a relative new comer to the Twin
Cities art scene. Beyond performing at a variety of local venues like
Patrick's Cabaret and the Blue Nile, she has performed at the Loft
Literary Center, opening for Def Poetry Jam artist Ishle Park, as well as
working and performing with MNSWA and SASE. Kim has shared the stage and
worked with artists like Sha Cage, e.g. bailey, J. Otis Powell!, Rene
Ford, Laurie Carlos, Hlee Vang, Bill Cottman and Roxane Wallace. Kim is,
for the most part, a self-taught artist who works in the mediums of
painting, photography, writing, printmaking and spoken word. From the age
of 19 to 27 she worked, studied and lived in England, Austria and
Lithuania as well as traveling throughout most of the European continent.
Much of Kim's visual art is on permanent display in countries like
Austria and Lithuania.

Thompson's performance is part of a double bill, also featuring Elliott
Durko Lynch's For Your Eyes Only. Q&A sessions follow each performance
with a reception following the Saturday, October 21 performance. Tickets
are $12 and $6 for Intermedia Arts members, students, seniors and youth
under 17. For the most up-to-date information and to learn how to purchase
tickets, call Intermedia Arts at (612) 871-4444 or visit Intermedia Arts is located at 2822 Lyndale Avenue
South, Minneapolis, MN 55408.

Thursday-Saturday, October 19-21, 2006
8pm at Intermedia Arts
2822 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis

Naked Stages, sponsored by Intermedia Arts with support from the Jerome
Foundation, is an intensive performance research program that gives
artists space to dig deep into creative process. Now in its seventh
year, the program, developed and directed by artist and curator Eleanor
Savage, is designed to give artists a supportive environment for building
their performance and production skills while creating a new performance
art piece. The showings with an audience are the final step in the
program, giving the artists a true assessment of how their ideas are
communicating through the form.

Intermedia Arts is a catalyst that builds understanding among people
through art.

CONTACT: Theresa Sweetland Phone: 612-874-2813 E-mail:
theresa [at]

--------15 of 17--------

Against An Imperial Internet
by Bill Moyers and Scott Fogdall
Tuesday, October 17

It was said that all roads led to Rome. However exaggerated, the image is
imprinted in our imagination, reminding us of the relentless ingenuity of
the ancient Romans and their will to control an empire.

For centuries Roman highways linked far-flung provinces with a centralized
web of power. The might of the imperial legions was for naught without the
means to transport them. The flow of trade - the bloodstream of the
empire's wealth - also depended on the integrity of the roadways. And
because Roman citizens could pass everywhere, more or less unfettered on
their travels, ideas and cultural elements circulated with the same
fluidity as commerce.

Like the Romans, we Americans have used our technology to build a
sprawling infrastructure of ports, railroads and interstates which serves
the strength of our economy and the mobility of our society. Yet as
significant as these have been, they pale beside the potential of the
Internet. Almost overnight, it has made sending and receiving information
easier than ever. It has opened a vast new marketplace of ideas, and it is
transforming commerce and culture.

It may also revitalize democracy.

"Wait a minute!" you say. "You can't compare the Internet to the Roman
empire. There's no electronic Caesar, no center, controlling how the World
Wide Web is used."

Right you are - so far. The Internet is revolutionary because it is the
most democratic of media. All you need to join the revolution is a
computer and a connection. We don't just watch; we participate,
collaborate and create.  Unlike television, radio and cable, whose
hirelings create content aimed at us for their own reasons, with the
Internet every citizen is potentially a producer. The conversation of
democracy belongs to us.

That wide-open access is the founding principle of the Internet, but it
may be slipping through our fingers. How ironic if it should pass
irretrievably into history here, at the very dawn of the Internet Age.

The Internet has become the foremost testing ground where the forces of
innovation, corporate power, the public interest and government regulation
converge. Already, the notion of a level playing field - what's called
network neutrality - is under siege by powerful forces trying to tilt the
field to their advantage. The Bush majority on the FCC has bowed to the
interests of the big cable and telephone companies to strip away, or undo,
the Internet's basic DNA of openness and non-discrimination. When some
members of Congress set out to restore network neutrality, they were
thwarted by the industry's high spending lobbyists. This happened
according to the standard practices of a rented Congress - with little
public awareness and scarce attention from the press. There had been a
similar blackout 10 years ago, when, in the Telecommunications Act of
1996, Congress carved up our media landscape. They drove a dagger in the
heart of radio, triggered a wave of consolidation that let the big media
companies get bigger, and gave away to rich corporations - for free -
public airwaves worth billions.

This time, they couldn't keep secret what they were doing. Word got around
that without public participation these changes could lead to unsettling
phenomenon - the rise of digital empires that limit, or even destroy, the
capabilities of small Internet users. Organizations across the political
spectrum - from the Christian Coalition to - rallied in
protest, flooding Congress with more than a million letters and petitions
to restore network neutrality. Enough politicians have responded to keep
the outcome in play.

At the core this is a struggle about the role and dimensions of human
freedom and free speech. But it is also a contemporary clash of a
centuries-old debate over free-market economics and governmental
regulation, one that finds Adam Smith invoked both by advocates for
government action to protect the average online wayfarer and by opponents
of any regulation at all.

In The Wealth of Nations, Smith argued that only the unfettered dealings
of merchants and customers could ensure economic prosperity. But he also
warned against the formation of monopolies - mighty behemoths that face
little or no competition. Our history brims with his legacy. Consider the
explosion of industry and the reign of the robber barons during the first
Gilded Age in the last decades of the 19th century. Settlements and cities
began to fill the continent, spirited by a crucial technological advance:
the railroad. As railroad companies sprang up, they merged into
monopolies. Merchants and farmers were often charged outlandish freight
prices - until the 1870s, when the Granger Laws and other forms of public
regulation provided some protection to customers.

At about the same time, chemist Samuel Andrews.inventor of a new method
for refining oil into kerosene - partnered with John D. Rockefeller to
create the Standard Oil Company. By century's end Standard Oil had forged
a monopoly, controlling a network of pipelines and railways that spanned
the country. Competition became practically impossible as the mammoth
company manipulated prices and crushed rival after hapless rival. Only
with the passage of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act in 1890 did the public have
hope of recourse against the overwhelming might of concentrated economic
and political power. But, less than a century later a relative handful of
large companies would assemble monopolies over broadcasting, newspapers,
cable and even the operating system of computers, and their rule would go
essentially unchallenged by the U.S. government.

Now we have an Internet infrastructure that is rapidly evolving, in more
ways than one. As often occurred on Rome's ancient highways,
cyber-sojourners could soon find themselves paying up in order to travel
freely. Our new digital monopolists want to use their new power to reverse
the way the Internet now works for us: allowing those with the largest
bankrolls to route their content on fast lanes, while placing others in a
congested thoroughfare. If they succeed in taking a medium that has an
essential democratic nature and monetizing every aspect of it, America
will divide further between the rich and poor and between those who have
access to knowledge and those who do not.

The companies point out that there have been few Internet neutrality
violations. Don't mess with something that's been working for everyone,
they say; don't add safeguards when none have so far been needed. But the
emerging generation, which will inherit the results of this Washington
battle, gets it. Writing in The Yale Daily News, Dariush Nothaft, a
college junior, after hearing with respect the industry's case, argues
that: Nevertheless, the Internet's power as a social force counters these
arguments..A non-neutral Internet would discourage competition, thereby
costing consumers money and diminishing the benefits of lower subscription
prices for Internet access. More importantly, people today pay for
Internet access with the understanding that they are accessing a wide,
level field of sites where only their preferences will guide them.
Non-neutrality changes the very essence of the Internet, thereby making
the product provided to users less valuable.

So the Internet is reaching a crucial crossroads in its astonishing
evolution. Will we shape it to enlarge democracy in the digital era? Will
we assure that commerce is not its only contribution to the American

The monopolists tell us not to worry: They will take care of us, and see
to it that the public interest is honored and democracy served by this
most remarkable of technologies.

They said the same thing about radio.

And about television.

And about cable.

Will future historians speak of an Internet Golden Age that ended when the
21st century began?

Bill Moyers is host of "The Net At Risk," a documentary special airing
Wednesday, October 18 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Scott
Fogdall is with Films Media Group. Visit

 2006 Tom

[Proving once again that no matter how much money the rich have, from
destroying how many wonderful things, thay are always deviously plotting
for more money, by destroying more wonderful things. They are a bottomless
pit, a disease run amok. In America, we're supposed to look up to and
revere the rich. Why? Why love those who batter us? Are we insane?
Masochistic? Terminally stupid? - ed]

--------16 of 17--------

Democrats or Bust
Cindy Sheehan's Lesser-Evilism
October 18, 2006

You can sure tell it's an election year. Despite the fact that over 2770
US soldiers and 600,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in Iraq, the
mainstream antiwar movement, or what's left of it, has failed to hold the
two war parties accountable for the destruction and death they've
initiated. And perhaps most disappointing of all, Cindy Sheehan, the brave
soul who almost single handily resurrected the antiwar movement from the
dark vestiges of the 2004 elections, has now surrendered to the politics
of lesser-evilism.

Sheehan has not completely curbed her activism like so many other antiwar
activists did two years ago during John Kerry's bid for president, but she
has outright refused to come out and fully embrace any candidates who are
challenging the Democrats for their explicit support for Bush's bloody war
on Iraq. Aside from endorsing any alternative antiwar hopefuls, Sheehan
has also failed to criticize the pro-war Democrats who are up for

Before the campaign season began to heat up Sheehan had lambasted
Democratic Senators Hillary Clinton and Dianne Feinstein, among others,
for their backward defense of the war effort. She even went as far as to
describe Hillary's position on Israel and Iraq as being equal to that of
Rush Limbaugh. Yet, when it has mattered most, i.e. now, she has been
virtually silent. But it may not be a mystery as to why.

Cindy Sheehan has joined forces with Medea Benjamin of CODE PINK as well
as the Progressive Democrats of America, where Sheehan serves on the
organization's Board of Directors. Benjamin too is on the PDA's Board and
has aligned her antiwar activism with the group's charge to reshape the
Democratic Party from within.

Medea Benjamin is a truly baffling creature. After the fall of Sen. Kerry
in '04, for whom she had campaigned avidly, the former California Green
Party candidate for US Senate told The Nation magazine, "For those of you
willing to keep wading in the muddy waters of the Democratic Party, all
power to you. I plan to work with the Greens to get more Green candidates
elected to local office."

She certainly has not stood by that lackluster promise, as she now works
for the Democrats. And I'm not sure how working to elect "progressive"
Democrats to office, which Benjamin and Sheehan are now attempting to do
with the PDA, will ever help build an alternative to the two pro-war
parties. Nor am I convinced that electing Democrats to office will ever
end the war in Iraq - as John Walsh recently explained in these pages,
even if the Democrats pick up the necessary 15 seats to reclaim the House,
their overall position on the war will not be changing, as no new
Democratic House contenders actually oppose the war.

Perhaps Cindy Sheehan has fallen into the vicious trap of non-profit
activism, where she cannot truly speak her mind without being fearful that
her liberal supporters will pull their funding from the groups she aligns
with. Or maybe Sheehan just doesn't get it. Maybe she doesn't understand
that elections are a great place to go after the war enablers for all of
their awful habits and evil deeds.

Cindy Sheehan isn't accustomed to backing down from a fight, and we owe
her tremendously for her efforts to rekindle the antiwar movement when she
staked out Bush in Crawford. But her decision to not take on the Democrats
with vigor this election deserves criticism. We need Sheehan supporting
antiwar candidates, not rebuilding the Democratic Party.

As Sheehan told me a year ago, "I will not support a pro-war Democrat. I
will support any anti-war candidate ... [We] need to expose the failures
of the Bush administration along with those of Congress and the media.
[We] need to keep pushing for the full withdrawal of troops 'now.' That is

Come on back to us Cindy, come back.

Joshua Frank edits the radical news blog and is the
author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, published
by Common Courage Press (2005). Josh can be reached at
BrickBurner [at]

[As each and every election approaches, most progressives feel their knees
get weaker and weaker; they wind up doing the lesser-evil thing they
did last time (that didn't work) and the time before (that didn't work)...
Each time they vow not to be patsied again. But each time they are. No
wonder we're moving so fast to the fascist right - those on the left and
middle have no courage to do what their hearts and values tell them. -ed]

--------17 of 17--------

Once Again the "Enemy Within" Betrays Farmers and the Public Interest
The Corporate Assault on Zoning
October 17, 2006

It should come as no surprise to voters in the upcoming elections that
hidden among the various local and regional initiatives and propositions
can be found a myriad of financial and tax benefits accruing to corporate

No better example of such skullduggery can be found than in Washington
State's I-933, although similar efforts can also be seen afoot in
California, Arizona, Nevada, Montana, Idaho and North Dakota.

Basically the Evergreen State's initiative - the Property Fairness
Initiative - would ban all zoning laws, retroactive to 1995. It would
make it possible for landowners to be compensated if land-use regulations
damage the value of their property while government would act under a "pay
or waive" system with valid claims being compensated or the regulations
would have to be modified.

In other words, the measure would require governments to compensate
property owners for many regulations that reduce property values -
applicable to not only personal property as well as real estate - but
also to animals, cars, boats, businesses, stocks, bonds, trademarks and
copyrights, according to a study by prominent Seattle attorney Hugh
Spitzer who recently issued a report warning that that provisions of I-933
could undermine state and local rules regulating everything from food
safety and auto emissions to professional qualifications for doctors and

A major push behind this initiative is a Chicago-based organization -
Americans for Limited Government - whose chairman is Howard Rich, a
controversial New York-based real estate entrepreneur who has been sharply
criticized as an out-of-state meddler for pushing land-reform legislation
in Montana.

Ironically, Chicago is also the headquarters of the American Farm Bureau
Federation and it is the Washington State Farm Bureau, along with several
county Farm Bureaus, which are earnestly campaigning for the initiative's
passage, claiming the states farmers solidly back I-933

Patrick Connor, director of research for the Washington State Farm Bureau,
has told the Seattle Post Intelligencer's Amy Rolph that while he was not
familiar with the specifics of Americans for Limited Government's
association the Farm Bureau appreciates that the national organization
recognizes the importance of land-use changes in the passage of this

Dan Wood, director of government relations for the Washington State Farm
Bureau, claims that the opponents of I-933 "advertising has been
misleading - suggesting that farmers are against the initiative, and that
is not at all the case."

Wood conveniently overlooks the fact that one of the most effective pieces
of the opponent's state-wide television advertising campaign to date has
been a TV ad from Dave Hedlin, a vegetable farmer in La Conner, and a
message from Aaron Flansburg, a wheat grower in Palouse pointing out
farmers opposition to I-933.

According to the State Farm Bureau it currently has some 35,000 members in
the state, yet according to the 2002 Ag Census there are 35,939 farms in
the state. Thus, it would be a fanciful stretch of the imagination to
believe that all farmers in the state are Farm Bureau members.

A recent small tractorcade by the "farm supporters" of I-933 through the
streets of Seattle saw in typical fashion FB leadership off stage while
letting their puppets in overalls mimic their mythology. As the P-I's
Rolph reported, Farm Bureau President Steve Appel watched the
demonstration from the sidewalk.

"We think this is a common-sense proposal," he observed. Responding to TV
ads featuring farmers who opposed I-933 he "shrugged the ads off with an
appeal to logic: `Would the farm bureau sponsor something that's bad for
farmers?'" - a "logic" and remark that undoubtily would evoke a loud
chorus of guffaws from thousands of farmers throughout the nation.

For many family farmers throughout the U.S. the FB is seen consistently as
concerning itself more of being a corporate agribusiness mouthpiece -
"the enemy within," the voice of basically an insurance company which
likes to politically intimidate governmental policy and the public by
referring to itself as "the voice of American agriculture."

For example, nationally the FB membership boasts a membership of over 5.5
million members but the 2002 Ag Census tells us that there are only 2.1
million farms in the U.S.

During this recent campaign hundreds of small family farmers and grass
roots farming organizations from across Washington have been opposing
I-933, including the Western Washington Agricultural Association, the
United Farmworkers, Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland, and Woodward Canyon
Wineries of Walla Walla.

Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland has written a position statement that
explains why Initiative 933 will hurt farming. The Skagit Valley Herald in
the middle of the state's richest farmland puts the impacts of Initiative
933 on farming in the clearest terms: "If I-933 is can kiss
farming good-bye in Skagit County."

The fact that the Bureau has taken on the role of the largest contributor
to the Yes on I-933 is confirmed by a fellow funder - the Building
Association of Washington. As Executive Vice President Tom McCabe pointed
out to reporter Rolph, the Building Association decided that I-993 "wasn't
going to be a priority for us this year, and there were other things that
we were going to be concerned about."

Clearly then it has been the Washington State Farm Bureau and subsidiary
county farm bureaus that have produced the majority of the remaining
donations. With less than a month before the elections the out-of-state
Americans For Limited Government has poured $260,000 in to the campaign
with the State Farm Bureau and its county affiliates contributing

The initiative's sponsors have claimed that what they are after is

John W. Tovar who is president-elect of the Washington Chapter of the
American Planning Association and serves on the steering committee of the
No on 933 campaign, scoffs at such a claim.

"But what's fair about a sweeping rollback of our state's land-use
protections " the standards that keep our drinking water clean, maintain
the livability of growing cities and towns, safeguard neighborhoods from
property-devaluing nuisances, protect farms, forests and green spaces from
encroaching development, and safeguard habitat for shellfish, orca and

"Our laws now require land-use decisions to be made out in the open, he
adds, "through a democratic process that considers and protects everyone's
property rights, not just a select few. What's fair about an I-933 system
that would hide development decisions from public view and grant maximum
financial profit to certain property owners, neighbors be damned?

"The core of I-933 is a simple and clever legal scheme called "pay or
waive." Such schemes dramatically lower the threshold for when
compensation must be paid for restrictions or limitations on property use
and value " regardless of how small the limitation or how important the
public protection served by the restriction."

With the passage of I-993 when an owner claims that a regulation restricts
or limits the value or use of property, the initiative would compel the
community to choose between paying taxpayer dollars to enforce the law or
else waiving those requirements.

"Although the language of I-933 states that the "government shall pay," in
reality this means "taxpayers shall pay." Tover stresses.

How expensive? Tover replies: "because I-933 is retroactive at least to
1996, the Association of Washington Cities estimates that I-933 payouts
would cost taxpayers a staggering $3.5 billion to $4.5 billion. This works
out to between $2,400 and $3,000 per household. That doesn't even count
future years or the cost of the added bureaucracy needed to administer

However, on September 26 a University of Washington study estimated I-933
would cost taxpayers almost $8 billion during the next five years. The
study came one week after the state's Office of Financial Management
estimated that in the next six years, I-933 would cost $7 billion to $9

Tover also has addressed the question of "eminent domain."

"Voters should also not be fooled by shameless and hollow rhetoric about
how I-933 is supposed to save us from `eminent domain.' Eminent domain is
the power of government to condemn private land for public purposes,
paying the owner fair market value for the property. Last summer's U.S.
Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. New London alarmed many people because
it arguably broadened the definition of `public use.'

"Despite their rhetoric," he adds, "the backers of I-933 must admit that
their initiative would make absolutely no change to our state's laws on
eminent domain. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Voters should see through their cry of
Kelo for the cynical and misleading campaign ploy it is."

With the backing of I-993 and similar other initiatives around the country
it is once again demonstrably clear than when it comes to a choice between
representing family farmers' best interests and giving due homage to its
corporate paymasters, the Farm Bureau is never reticent about where its
true interests lie.

In doing so it gives a vicious lie to its historic claim as being "the
voice of American agriculture"

Al Krebs is the editor of The Agribusiness Examiner "Monitoring corporate
agribusiness from a public interest perspective". He can be reached at
avkrebs [at]


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
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