Monday, August 24, 2015

Rogue Governments

The NO MORE DRUG WAR protest returns to Grants Pass

The spirit of the Rogue River Indians haunts this valley, in their name on the Rogue River; the Rogue Valley; Valley of the Rogue State Park; and numerous business names.  French-Canadian fur buyers called them “coquins,” which translates to “rogues.”  They also named La Riviere aux Coquins, later called the Rogue River, as were the various related tribes that lived along it.  Some tribes were killed off; others were put on reservations outside the Rogue River Valley, except for Indian Mary, whose father betrayed his people. 
People grow up here thinking that “rogue” is a good thing, though they know the meaning of the word.  But as the name of their home, they identify with it.  Our city councils seem to take a roguish pleasure in thumbing their noses at the state and people, especially poor people, and ignoring any law that they find inconvenient, even their own.
For instance, in Grants Pass we have longstanding property maintenance “nuisance” codes that the city council and manager find inconvenient to enforce, despite the provision in our charter that our city manager must enforce all city codes.  Noxious and nuisance weeds grow mostly unchecked and trash litters many properties, but it would be an expensive bother for big property owners to clean up their properties, so they don’t make them do it.  Some might have to sell their vacant lots rather than wait for the price that they think that they are worth, if they had to maintain them.  They target an occasional residential property when people complain enough, but refuse to enforce property maintenance codes generally.
And yet, the Council passed a new nuisance code targeting marijuana, banning it outdoors in all its forms including possession of dried product, and calling greenhouses outdoors, despite 4 state laws to the contrary: Measure 91; the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act; House Bill 3400, which modified both; and Senate Bill 863 (2013), which forbids local governments and voters from enacting or enforcing any local measure or ordinance that inhibits or prevents production, marketing, or distribution of agricultural products. 
People have called them Good Old Boys for taking care of their rich friends and oppressing the poor, but they are really rogues, taking care of people as roguish as they are, those who do not love their neighbors, only themselves and their friends.
                   
August 21, 2015 protest issue, published at GardenGrantsPass.blogspot.com
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Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener          541-955-9040        rycke@gardener.com