Goodnight, Democracy

Tuesday night, June 18, Lane County residents addressed the county commissioners on the proposed spray ban initiative and the right to local community self-government initiative (which legally authorizes citizens to write and pass laws to protect our health, safety and welfare, like the spray ban).

Proponents of the ban told personal stories of health harms endured due to aerial herbicide spray exposure, and the science that backs up their heartbreaking stories. Timber industry advocates refuted their claims.

The real issue here, regardless of where you stand on the practice of aerial herbicide spraying, is that 15,000 county residents signed two petitions to refer these measures to the voters. If you don’t want to ban sprays, vote against the ban, but don’t suggest that the people should be denied access to the ballot box — to be the decision-makers this country so desperately needs us to be.

As a part of democratic government decision-making, the initiative system is the people’s voice. It’s how we legislate, especially when elected officials don’t listen to us.

Yes, commissioners, it is well within your duties to refer these initiatives, so do it. Democracy herself is at stake here.

Michelle Holman


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