Tucson Citizen Tuesday, May 20, 1986

Judge dismisses charges against Rainbow members

By Gabrielle Fimbres

Citizen Staff Writer

A federal judge here has dismissed charges against members of the Rainbow Family, calling a U.S. Forest Service regulation unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Richard M. Bilby dismissed charges against Gideon Israel and Patrick A. Czerniak last Thursday. The two faced charges stemming from a gathering of Rainbow Family members last Thanksgiving in a forest southeast of Tucson.

Israel and Czerniak were charged with holding an assembly of ten or more people without a permit on national forest lands at Cochise Stronghold for "the purpose of expression or exchange of views or judgment."

Israel and other Rainbow Family members argued that the regulation requiring them to obtain a permit was in violation of their First Amendment rights.

In his order dismissing the charges, Bilby wrote, "Such a regulation impermissibly singles out those who wish to gather in order to exercise their First Amendment rights. The court finds that this regulation is therefore unconstitutional.

Israel, a 37-year-old resident of Olympia, Wash., said he was encouraged by Bilby's decision.

"I think this is just a good step in the right direction," Israel said. "We're just trying to show that we're giving it our best shot to be law-abiding citizens."

In February, the Forest Service barred Rainbow Family members from holding another gathering at Cochise Stronghold. But members were allowed to congregate for two weeks in the Galiuro Mountains after a federal court decision established their right to hold a gathering.

Forest Service officials contended the group left a pile of trash and trampled vegetation, but members denied the accusation.

(Please folks, remember that what you do can reflect on all of us. And the press in general - the media, if you will, of TV/Radio/Newspapers/Magazines - is ever ready to pounce on juicy, negativistic angles because that sells papers….not stories about how most Rainbows are so good and ecological most of the time. Just recently, in Santa Cruz County (CA) some brothers and/or sisters the local press identified as "Rainbow Family members" were accused on page one of a newspaper of dumping "over a ton" of garbage on a local ranch, and quoted evidence appeared to link this to persons said by others to be "en route to New England for a "Gathering." Were a few brothers culpable? Possibly, but the harm has been done to all of us. And so it goes, with the press, year after year: wild-eyed stories focused upon the misdeeds of a few stray Rainbows…Thankfully, some coverage tries to focus on the broader, POSITIVE picture, and some of that "good karma" coverage is excerpted in what follows. We'll try to present additional and/or different excerpts in future editions…if you'll send us clippings! -Eds. (POB 263, Davenport CA 95017))