Sunday, February 10, 2008
The GGNRA - Fascism At Work
A class action lawsuit has been filed against the National Park Service for failing to provide adequate facilities for the disabled. The lawsuit was filed in federal court and claims the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the National Park Service are discriminating against people with disabilities by denying them access to parks and trails. The class action claims the parks systematically excludes people with disabilities by failing to provide proper access, accommodations, signage and other services.
The recreation area is the nation's largest national park in an urban area, hosting more than 13 million visitors a year. The park area stretches over more than 75,000 acres from San Mateo County to Marin and encompasses 18 parks and landmarks, including Muir Woods and the Marin Headlands.
If you feel you should be included in this pending class action, please contact Julia Pinover of the [Disability Rights Advocates of Berkeley]
There is no question that the GGNRA hates both dogs and the disabled. They have been found by federal judges to have acted illegally in attempting to declare their own off-leash policy to be illegal. They have been found by federal judges to have acted illegally in closing off portions of Fort Funston to dogs and people, including the disabled. They have ruined the disabled trail at Fort Funston.
Despite the fact that the GGNRA is a unique, recreation-first national park, the GGNRA continues its PR campaign to attempt to convince members of the public who are unfamiliar with the enabling legislation that the Park is conservation-first. When confronted with their lies, they have no response. Worse, there is no accountability when the feds run a local Park. You can try all you like with the Department of the Interior but they could not care less. And the weasly San Francisco politicians do not wish to touch the issue because they don't want to have to manage these lands, despite the fact that they could provide necessary income for the City and jobs for the many who need them. Politicians -- about as bad as Michael Vick!
If you have any doubt about the GGNRA's anti-recreation philosophy under the reign of Lyin Brian O'Neill, here is a quote from the GGNRA's Chief of Natural Resources, Daphne Hatch: "Ocean Beach without the people is an incredible habitat. But people think of it as a sandbox or their backyard."
(San Francisco Chronicle, September 7,2005)
The GGNRA's response to this latest lawsuit (though Christine Mini-Me Powell -- O'Neill's prodigy liar) is that they have been attempting to work with disabled groups to make the Park compliant with federal law. Well the laws have been on the books for over 20 years so really, just what kind of effort has the GGNRA made? None. It's time we took back our land from these federal despots.
They don't even pass the sniff test!!
If you believe the GGNRA is sincere in complying with federal laws requring handicap access to the Park, consider the language of the Court from the off-leash litigation: "In sum, for more than twenty years, the GGNRA officially designated at least seven sites for off-leash use. This was not accidental. It was a carefully articulated, often studied, promulgation. The responsible GGNRA officials in 1978 and thereafter presumably believed they were acting lawfully. Even now, the government concedes that the GGNRA had full authority at all times to relax the general leash rule at the GGNRA but argues it could have done so, at least after 1983, only via a 'special regulation.' In other words, the agency allegedly used the "wrong" procedure back in 1978 (and thereafter) even though a 'right' procedure to reach the desired result was available and could have been used. The government has not revealed its internal justification for following the 'wrong' process. Whatever it was, the justification was abandoned in 2002 with the two-word explanation that it had been 'in error.' With this ipse dixit, the NPS wiped away two decades of policy, practice, promulgations, and promises to the public." (United States v. Barley, 405 F.Supp.2d 1121, 1124 (N.D. Cal. 2005).)
And remember, if you are not "native" to the NPS, you will be killed. Sounds alarming but true. As we speak, the NPS has "contract killers" shooting "non-native" white deer at Point Reyes. Well, the deer have been there since the 1940's, and who is the NPS or anyone else (hello Native Plant Society and Audobon Society) to say what is and is not native and to kill the latter? Sounds a bit fascist, eh? Well, what else happened before and during the 1940's? The "nativism" movement began under the Nazis, with the likes of Himmler ordering German people to only have "German" plants in their backyards. Now we have these neo-Nazis in our own backyard.
As Michael Pollin wrote in the New York Times ("Against Nativism" - May 15, 1984): "I had always assumed that the apotheosis of the native plant was a new phenomenon, a byproduct of our deepening environmental awareness. But it turns out that there have been outbreaks of native-plant mania before, most notably in Germany early in this century. According to a recent series of journal articles by German garden historians Joachim Wolschke-Bulmahn and Gert Groening, pre-World War II Germany saw the rise of a natural-gardening movement 'founded on nationalistic and racist ideas' that were often cloaked in scientific jargon. Inspired by the study of 'plant sociology,' a group of landscape designers set out -- as one of their number put it in 1939 -- 'to give the German people its characteristic garden and to help guard it from unwholesome alien influences,' including foreign plants and landscape formality, which they condemned as both anthropocentric and apt to weaken the 'Nordic races.' This 'blood-and-soil-rooted' garden, as it was sometimes called, was comprised of native species and designed to look like untended German landscapes. Wolschke-Bulmahn and Groening have documented how, under National Socialism, the mania for natural gardening and native plants became government policy. A team working under Heinrich Himmler set forth 'Rules of the Design of the Landscape,' which stipulated a 'close-to-nature' style and the exclusive use of native plants. Specific alien species were marked for elimination. In 1942, a team of Saxon botanists working for the Central Office of Vegetative Mapping embarked on 'a war of extermination' against Impatiens parviflora, a small woodland flower regarded as an alien."
Now such policies are the official mandate of the National Park Service. It might as well be called the "National Socialist Park Service".