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Democracy School in Denver

Posted: January 29, 2016 at 10:25 am by , in Featured, Morning Magazine

“We’re not looking for a magic bullet to change one law or one supreme court ruling, the problems go very deep.”

Ben Price is a senior instructor and organizer with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund in Pennsylvania. He is presenting at a Democracy School happening in Denver on Friday January 29th and Saturday January 30th. “We want to understand what we can do to create sustainable communities today, even in the face of state pre-emptions and corporate rights and competing authorities that tell us we don’t have the power or rights to limit decisions, for instance industrial activity in our communities.”

Price says the root of many laws that enable corporations at the expense of communities have deep roots in the legal system “it really requires us to dig in and look back pretty far to the roots of western law and government.” Price cites “Dillon’s Rule” as an example of the roots of state’s preeminence over municipal governance. John Forrest Dillon served on federal and Iowa state courts in the late 1800s.  He authored a highly influential treatise on the power of states over municipal governments. That rule has been cited in many cases imposing state’s rights over community rights.

Price says the issue is a systemic problem with laws across the country eroding community rights “we’re not looking for a magic bullet to change one law or one supreme court ruling, the problems go very deep.”

 

The Democracy School is organized by the Colorado Community Rights Network and is happening on January 29th and January 30th at the Capitol Heights Presbyterian Church, 1100 Fillmore St. Denver.