Migrant rights rally / Ballot Simplification Committee hearing report

I can understand and respect the pragmatic arguments for using the United States flag ("American" could be anything from the Yukon to Patagonia) at events like this, but I personally do not wish to use it any more than I would want to use a Mexican flag, because I do not wish to promote nationalism of any stripe. For similar reasons prefer to use the terms "migration/migrant" rather than "immigration/immigrant," because the latter focus only on *arrival*, thus reinforcing the nationalist perspective typical in the U.S. which tends to consider various policies only or primarily in light of their impact on people in the United States. In reality, an arrival is normally preceded by a departure, and thus from the viewpoint of a person relocating from one country to another, he or she is an *emigrant* before being an *immigrant!* "Migrant/migration" are neutral terms that do not assume one perspective or the other. Better yet is the term "freedom of movement," which stresses the natural human right to move freely about the surface of the earth except where infringing on private property rights.

  I had brought with me in the morning a couple pro-migration signs from a previous event with the intent of going to the rally after finishing at the Ballot Simplification Committee. Not having a car to store them in, I wasted like 15 minutes trying to get them into City Hall due to stupid and paranoid rules on what you can bring into the building. Finally the excessively numerous and mostly unhelpful sheriff's deputies guarding the building against dangerous materials like wooden sticks and cardboard got hold of someone from Media Services who let me hold the materials there.

  A little before 11 a.m. the commotion outside became somewhat audible in the hearing room, which happened to be on that side of City Hall. This was despite all the windows being closed, so there was a fair hubbub. I caught the tail end of the rally, I think around 1230 pm. The border control advocates had apparently already departed -- one person said there had only been perhaps a dozen or so of them, and when I came outside there were probably around 75 advocates for migrant rights, along with perhaps a couple video cameras or members of the press.

  The committee meeting went quite well. Maxine, Carol Leigh, Slava, Petrasha and I attended as proponents of the measure to decriminalize prostitution. The four committee members got started a little after 9:00 a.m., and the hearing went until the time we all left, after noon. They seemed to me to be thoughtful and doing due diligence in their work. Although audience participation was somewhat limited as is typical of these formal government hearings, several of us were able to address the group on multiple occasions for more than the officially guaranteed three minutes apiece. I felt that the committee did listen to our suggestions, and ended up drafting language that was fair and balanced and avoided some of the language that was considered which could have hurt our cause.

  Outside of our group, there were maybe a dozen other people in the audience on and off during the morning. I believe most of the others were waiting for hearings on ballot simplification language for other measures, which were to be taken up later in the day. Besides Maxine, Carol, Slava and myself, only one other audience member -- Republican Party political fixture Chris Bowman -- addressed the committee. He didn't take a position for or against the measure and mostly proposed technical changes to improve clarity, although he did speak against my bid to have them substitute the word "re-education" for "education" in referring to the First Offender Prostitution Program (they ended up not using either word, which was fine with me). Everybody who spoke on our side (Petrasha didn't as she was mostly videotaping the event for us) made good, solid points, all of which were taken seriously and some of which were incorporated into the language.

  It's my assessment that attending this hearing was *very* productive, and an excellent use of time. It seems quite possible to get changes adopted which may significantly impact the way that voters view a particular measure. I may go in again tomorrow and/or Friday to participate in the hearings drafting language for other ballot measures (their schedule is in a message I posted to this group yesterday), and encourage other supporters of more freedom and less government to do likewise.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))