Mendocino County, CA. Makes History and Passes Law Establishing Local Self-Governance

November 5, 2014

“The sacred rights of mankind, are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records.  They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.”   ~ Alexander Hamilton

Mendocino County, Ca Makes History

by Jamie Lee

Mendocino County, in the pristine northern lands of California, where the magnificent ancient coastal Redwood trees meet the inland California Oaks, has voted itself into the constitution writing (righting) business.

Yesterday, by a significant margin, they became the first county in California, and only the second county in the country to pass into law a very powerful local ordinance that declares local self-governing rights in their communities over state and federal jurisdiction. Over 67% of the votes cast were in favor of the measure.

The ordinance provides for waters free from toxic trespass; preemptively bans all fracking activities countywide with heavy fines and penalties for violation of the ordinance; and establishes a Community Bill of Rights to, for, and by the residents of Mendocino County while checking corporate powers as well.

In addition, the newly created law gives the Rights of Nature to exist and flourish without toxic trespass whereas previously Nature had no standing in the court of law.

Here is some of the powerful language in the proposed ordinance which you can read (source):

“Right to community self-government.

All residents of Mendocino County possess the right to a form of governance where they live which recognizes that all power is inherent in the people and all free governments are founded on the people’s consent.

Use of Mendocino County government by the sovereign people to make law and policy shall not be deemed by any authority to eliminate or reduce that self-governing authority. Rights as self-executing, fundamental and unalienable.

All rights delineated and secured by this ordinance are inherent, fundamental and unalienable; and shall be self-executing and enforceable against both private and public actors.”

The people of Mendocino County have made history once again after being the first county in the nation to ban Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) in 2004. Now these Mendonesians of premier wine making, medical marijuana growing and self-declared independence are continuing to assert and reclaim their inherent rights to decide for themselves what the laws will be in their communities and their county.

What may seem radical to many is only following in declarations and rights acknowledged to, by, and for them by the California State and U.S. Constitution’s as well as the Declaration of Independence:

Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.

Article 1 of the California State Constitution of 1849:

Sec. 1. All men are by nature free and independent, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property: and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.

Sec. 2. All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for the protection, security, and benefit of the people; and they have the right to alter or reform the same, whenever the public good may require it.

Across the nation a truly grass-roots movement of taken back power by, and for the people at the local levels has begun in earnest.

Abby Martin of RT Int’l TV speaks with Jamie Lee, a farmer and activist, who helped craft a first of its kind fracking ban in Mendocino County, California that gives nature legal rights.

In California, in this election alone, two other counties, Santa Barbara and San Benito, put anti-fracking measures in front of the voters while Big Oil spent over $7 million to defeat them. Santa Barbara was defeated last night but San Bernardino County’s measure passed into law.

Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Maine, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania have in recent years passed into law local ordinances banning everything from toxic pig sludge dumping to Community Bill of Rights legislation as well as legal standing for the Rights of Nature to exist.  In 2010, the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania made history by becoming the first city to pass a local ordinance banning hydraulic fracking.

So far, state courts have upheld these rights in Colorado and Ohio. However, a bigger challenge comes  in coming months as a federal judge will make ruling on Mora County, New Mexico’s recent local ordinance passed that bans fracking in their county. It will be high stakes for all as over 30% of the states revenues comes from the oil and gas industry.

Yet clearly the people of Mora County are choosing to protect their health and well being over profit, jobs and revenues for their county.

Last week NASA released photos taken from space showing mass methane gas releases from the four corners region of the Southwestern United States, stunning all as to the widespread drastic effects that intense and increasing fracking activities are having on our environment.

Up north in Oregon, Lane and Benton Counties are bringing to vote local ordinances to preempt Oregon state laws for the right to determine local food sovereignty.  Last year, Oregon had preempted local counties from banning GMO’s in their communities. Communities are now empowering themselves and fighting back.

Who is the Author of Authority?

The real basis of the question of the ability of local communities to write laws becomes just who is the final author of Authority?

Put another way, who has the power to make law, the people in the communities, counties and cities where they live or unreachable legislatures and Presidents residing hundreds and thousands of miles away?

Who are backed by huge corporate funding sources, that few can look, touch or feel, yet are called by many to be our “representatives” for what is best where we live, work and breathe.

It is estimated in the United States alone there are some 26 million plus laws, rules, regulations, permits, codes, violations, infractions, et. al., where ignorance of the these laws are not excusable in court and our government schooling never teaches to anyone.

And to enact state and federal laws, the powers that be must really on fear, force, coercion, ignorance and threat of being caged to get their laws obeyed. In other words, they demand obedience and compliance, or else coercion and force may be used no matter how amoral, immoral or destructive the laws may be.

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