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CAMPAIGN COORDINATION 2017

The Stand and Fight Club Intends to Bring Back Rural America, to Bring Back the Rights of Rural Americans. In a fresh, vital new “Campaign Coordination 2017” we will:

  • File lawsuits, at least 13, one symbolically for each of our first colonies, to require regulators to follow the law and coordinate with local governments to reach consistency with local policies that protect our forest industries, mill workers, fishermen, miners, ranchers, farmers, water users, nurserymen, dairymen, truckers, recreation uses of OUR LANDS, and the property and personal rights of individual citizens
  • Train citizens to a level of legal knowledge and strategy that will let them “persuade” their local governments to do their duty and exercise their authority to require the regulators to be consistent with local plans, policies and actions
  • Equip citizens with the tools they need to support those local officials and help them through the coordination process in paralegal fashion
  • Teach the constitution and the people’s rights by offering materials and teaching assistance to K1 through 12, in colleges, in community adult classes, through radio and television and news publications—keeping in mind that IF YOU DON’T KNOW YOUR RIGHTS, YOU DON’T HAVE ANY.
  • Keep you advised and up to speed with our progress, and with what the regulators are trying to do to further demolish our God Given liberty.

WE WILL BRING BACK RURAL AMERICA

WE WILL BRING BACK OUR TRADITIONAL RIGHTS


 
 

Note: Fred Kelly Grant and Stand & Fight Club are pleased to support the efforts of the Electronic Vaping Coalition of America (EVCA) as it continues fight the assault on the vaping industry at the hands of unelected government bureaucrats and special interests. You are encouraged to visit the EVCA website or on their Facebook page to learn more, and help in the fight!

By: Fred Kelly Grant

 Plain Speaking in government ranks?  Oh, come on now!!!

After Harry Truman left the White House and went back to Independence, news columnist Mary McGrory wrote, “Since Harry Truman left town almost nobody has spoken his mind. Mr. Truman took the tradition of plain speaking back to Missouri with him.”

If Harry had been faced with vaping as a substitute for smoking tobacco, can’t you imagine him being asked at a news conference, “Mr. President, how do you feel about the government prohibiting vaping which effectively helps cut smoking and at the same time saves money on health care costs?”

Mr. Truman: “It is idiotic.”  Or “It’s just dirt dumb” Yuh think?

Government officials who seek to ban flavoring do not speak plainly.

They know the facts. They know banning flavoring will cripple the vaping industry. They know that will end the most effective, safest alternative to cigarette smoking. They know the health care costs that result from smoking. They know how many people die each year from tobacco related causes. But no plain speaking about any of that.

Instead, they talk about how flavors attract and tempt the young, under 21 group from rushing headlong into getting hooked. And, friends, to quote my late uncle Phel Grantham of Grantham Corners South Carolina, “That is pure hogwash!”

What pray tell was “pure” hogwash? I guess the closest I could come in non-Grantham Corners lingo is, if you’ll forgive and overlook an obvious play on words, “It’s just a smokescreen, a total smokescreen!”

The law already makes it illegal to sell the e-liquid and devices to anyone under 21 in California. Every store I have visited sports a “No one under 21” sign. So, if prohibition works, why is it necessary to ban flavors? Why isn’t it enough to simply have the “not under 21” law on the books? Why does anyone think that a ban on flavoring will prevent access by youth to smoking or vaping any more than does the “not under 21”.

Point of fact, in plain speaking as to youth: if a 17-year-old decides she is going to smoke, her aunt, her older sister or cousin, her older boy friend will oblige and buy for her. And, if vaping is eliminated, there is no game in town except combustible cigarettes and the dependence that usually follows.  And, federal law prohibits any attempt to ban cigarettes! But, even if they could be banned, our prospective smoker would be supplied by the black market.

Anyone around old enough to have experienced prohibition of alcohol in this country? Probably not with enough memory to reconstruct it. But surely there are people who have read about it – alcohol production was banned because the American Christian Temperance Union was strong enough to have booze banned. The result? Booze flowed like water. It was made in good clean laboratories and it was made in rusty old bath-tubs – and it all sold at a gosh-awful price, raking in disgraceful profits for the criminal syndicate that operated the underground alcohol business

In fact, no one event fed growth of the criminal syndicate in this nation more than prohibition. It was illegal to make it, to possess it, and to drink it.  Thus, the attraction was novel and greater – and we had more drunks than any time in our history.

Just plain speaking: prohibition produced drunks and huge profits to finance crime.

Even more just plain speaking: banning flavors will produce huge profits to finance crime.

That’s just plain speaking bad public policy. Yuh think?

The plain-speaking truth is that it is all about the money.

Governments have become addicted to tobacco settlement funds. They are so sickly addicted that they can’t satisfy their general fund appropriations without the tobacco money. They gushed over it at the beginning, sold bonds on the expected windfall from future tobacco settlement money, and spent those bond sales like the money was going out of style.

Now, however, the bonds are coming due, and these spendthrift governments do not have the money to redeem the bonds and fund basic government functions. They are caught between a rock and a hard place—-and nowhere to go but back to the well and draw some more money furnished by those who buy tobacco and die from it.

We have reached the idiotic position at which our governments thrive on money furnished by people smoking their lives away, and prohibit a product that would end cigarette dependence and save human lives.

Our governments prefer to let people die and so they can get their money, rather than lose that money and allow people to live.

In the marvelously clever Pogo comic strips, the artist/author hit the nail on the head when he used an historic phrase, turned it into swamp character talk and voila we had, “We has met the enemy and he is us.”

And that my friends, fits the plain speaking we need for the governments that would ban flavors and destroy vaping.  “WE HAS MET THE ENEMY, AND HE IS US.”

Yuh think?

 
 

Note: Fred Kelly Grant and Stand & Fight Club are pleased to support the efforts of the Electronic Vaping Coalition of America (EVCA) as it continues fight the assault on the vaping industry at the hands of unelected government bureaucrats and special interests. You are encouraged to visit the EVCA website or on their Facebook page to learn more, and help in the fight!

By Fred Kelly Grant

How ironic that in the 50th Anniversary of the Love Summer, San Francisco’s elected officials slammed shut the door to freedom of choice.  After a hearing before an overflow crowd, a Committee of the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to recommend passage of the ordinance banning the sale of flavored e-liquid for vaping devices.

Mark Block, founder and CEO of Electronic Vaping Coalition of America, testified as he had in Contra Costa the day before. That County Board delayed action to have staff clear up vagueness. Block pointed out that vaping does provide the effective way to get off cigarettes, and that passage of this Ordinance violates the Fourteenth Amendment that guarantees equal and fair treatment.

Today he heads for southern California where maybe saner heads will  prevail and separate the vaping from smoking.

What the action in San Francisco means is that people who choose to get off cigarette smoke and save their health and lives are out of luck in the city which was once the epitome of freedom. Evidence is overwhelming that if flavoring is banned, the vape shops will either go out of business or lose so much business that they will close eventually.  Evidence is also overwhelming that vapers will not stay with the product if there is no flavoring—-and many will drift back to the slow death that comes from smoking cigarettes. Sad but true.

And what is really sad about it is that it comes in the city that has been the beacon for free thinking alternative life styles and ways of life for at least a hundred years. Just fifty years ago, the Love Summer marveled all of America. Scott McKenzie’s song “San Francisco (Be sure to wear flowers in your hair) became a major hit; it was written by John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas. Haight Asbury bands like the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and Jefferson Airplane rose to the top of the charts. Janis Joplin lived near the intersection of Haight and Asbury streets and became a household name whether the house held “hippies” or not.

Long after the Love Summer ended, the Haight turned out some of the most colorful comedians such as Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, and Dana Carvey. The stars of alternative ideas and thoughts and ways of life came from this Golden City; it was a city that the rest of us in America envied—often because we did not have the nerve to live life as it was lived in San Francisco.

The spirits of those that turned the Castro into the beginning of a free-wheeling, free thinking Baghdad of the Bay must be turning in their resting places. The legacy of mayors Alioto, Mosconi, Brown, Agnos called for better than what the committee did. Those men had the spirit to open doors to minorities and women to jobs and promotions so that San Francisco became the “liberal leader” of America. When Dianne Feinstein is the most conservative mayor in a span of thirty years, you know how liberal was this city even if you didn’t follow it.

Mosconi saved the Giants from moving to Toronto and if nothing else he had done, that fact alone would have made him beloved to Giants fans everywhere  He was a revolutionary mayor who appointed large numbers of women, gay men, lesbians and racial minorities to city commissions and advisory boards. He also was the first to agree that a court enter a judgment ending discriminatory recruiting practices by the police department, a first big such move in the nation. He supported an occupation sit-in of the Federal Building by 100 disabled people demanding their civil rights; while the feds wanted to starve them out, Mosconi took in portable showers and towels and food. The sit-in got results, and eventually is credited with passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Alioto, Agnos, and Brown all championed in one way or another finding suitable facilities for the homeless while other cities continued to shunt them from place to place. All  endured strikes from city and county personnel and found a way to mediate them and get better benefits for them, including coverage of domestic partners for health benefits. All continued and furthered the hiring and promotion of all nationalities, sexual preferences and races—to the point where San Francisco was the melting pot model for all America.

Free speech, free living, free choices of alternatives—this was San Francisco. Writers have portrayed the San Francisco scene as the freest there was in the counter culture of the 60’s for example, providing the natural spot for nurturing all differing interpretations of the American Dream

As an inhabitant of Boise, Idaho, and even having had experiences in Chicago and Baltimore, San Francisco was my ideal as an  American experience.  Whenever I could, I read Herb Caen of the Chronicle (and I still read Wilie Brown’s column) and listened to KGO at night—I remember Caen’s coverage off and on of the legendary Magnolia Thunderpussy, a San Francisco native and burlesque queen who has been described as “something of a cross between a den mother to San Francisco weirdos and a proto-Bette Midler”. Her place at 1398 Haight Street was legendary; featured briefly in the Jack Nicholson movie Psyche Out, you can be sure it could have been a vape shop had vaping even been in existence.

At stake yesterday was the freedom of choice of people who want to escape the dregs of cigarette smoking with the use of e-liquid and vaping devices  The Committee took away that freedom—-in a city whose entire history is built on free thinking, free wheeling, live and let live openness.

It has been proven that cigarette smoking is addictive to large parts of diverse minority populations.  Vaping would offer an effective, safe escape for the diverse populations of the Mission District, Bernal Heights, Potrero Hill, the Castro, the Excelsior District, the Sunset District, the Richmond, Chinatown, and Forest Hill. But neither they nor anyone else in the city/county can buy flavored e-liquid after the Ordinance is passed finally.

Sad that here in this beautiful city of freedom, the axe of arbitrary, autocratic political dictatorship fell today. And why? Money is the answer—money from the big tobacco settlement by which the big companies managed to buy their way out of huge tort cases in which people dying from tobacco exposure were cashiered out, and those not yet in court torn from their claims by a monetary settlement.

Tragic also are the excuses given for passage of the Ordinance. Supervisor Cohen who is sponsor of the ordinance represents a huge African American population in Bayview Hunters Point, said that she was driven by her experience with family members who smoked menthol cigarettes and died of cancer. But, Supervisor Cohen, no one has died of cancer from vaping; it provides the only effective, safe way for people to kick the cigarette habit. With your experiences you should be welcoming vaping, and the flavoring that makes it successful as an alternative to smoking cigarettes and death.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee endorsed the proposal. “We know from research and studies that tobacco-related diseases continue to be the No. 1 cause of preventable deaths, especially among low-income and minority communities,” he said. But again, vaping is the answer to these statistics because it gets people OFF CIGARETTES.

Those elected officials who profess to protect the cause of minorities and low-income folks should be lining up to back vaping, because it is the soul and life saver of all those folks who want to get off the cigarette road to death. One would think that in this city of ideas the elected officials would have done some research. The Trustees of the small Village of Hartland, Wisconsin did their homework, and learned of the great health value of vaping to all those who want to avoid poor health and death from cigarettes. The elected Supervisors of San Francisco would do well to read their Findings and Conclusions. One might be surprised to know that a Village in mid Wisconsin is more enlightened today than the venerable Supervisors of San Francisco.

And, as to the statements by Supervisor Cohen and Mayor Lee, trying to pass off vaping as the same as cigarettes, in the colorful words of that venerable veteran of politics Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland “Oh come onnnn now! Y’all know better.”

The reason lies not with the merits of the ordinance as applied to vaping; the reason is that California, like all other states, is addicted to money from the tobacco settlement—it has used that money as the constant staple for appropriations for annual budgets.  And the cities know that their money interests are at stake if they buck the tide that runs out of Sacramento.

450,000 lives lost every year from tobacco causes don’t seem to matter to local officials—perhaps it would be therapeutic for the Supervisors to get the opportunity to meet with relatives of this year’s deaths and explain to them why they are so adamant about closing down the opportunity to escape death at the hands of cigarettes.

As vaping sales go up, tobacco sales go down. And, since most local officials are not as up to date as are their constituents, they haven’t yet seen the tax benefits of vaping—particularly when measured against medical and health costs from cigarette smoking. If the vaping business goes under, a tremendous tax revenue will be lost to the cities. Once that has happened, there will be council people and supervisors and trustees all over the land wringing their hands, crying out “who did this to us”.

“Oh come onnnnn now!”

 
 

CHEERS TO THE TRUSTEES OF THE VILLAGE OF HARTLAND, WISCONSIN AND THEIR ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF – THEY DID WHAT SO MANY SAID THEY COULD NOT DO.

This is my personal, unapologetic tribute to Hartland, Wisconsin’s Board of Trustees— Board President Jeffrey Pfannerstill, Karen Compton, Richard Landwehr, Michael Meyers, Rick Stevens (who makes a mean walking cane that helps me immensely), Randy Swenson and Ann Wallschlager—and Administrator David Cox, and to the Electronic Vaping Coalition of America and co-founders Mark Block and Linda Hansen.

I make this commendation with full sincerity. Probably better than any other person, I recognize just what Hartland and EVCA have accomplished. 

 I have been in the game of fighting federal regulators for a long, long time. I know first-hand that in the western U.S. nothing was working, that is until the Board of Commissioners of Owyhee County, Idaho, county ranchers, and I brought the coordination process forward.  

Back then, we were taunted by the “in crowd,” just as Hartland and EVCA were.  And we won then, just as Hartland and EVCA have won their first battle today.  If they stick to their guns, and they will, they will win the day as we did in the west three decades ago. 

The naysayers, meanwhile, can continue to sit on the sidelines and wait, sit and talk.    

Keep in mind a few of my favorite quotations about taking action instead of sitting and waiting:

“Do what today others won’t, so tomorrow, you can do what others can’t.” ~ Brian Rogers.

The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do.” ~ Thomas Edison.

‘Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” ~ Abraham Lincoln.

So, with this tribute I say also to Hartland and to EVCA follow the lead of H.L. Mencken, – my favrite cynic and curmudgeon – remember, to solve a problem you must go through it or over it, but you will fail if you try to go around it. 

I know all of you by now well enough to know that you won’t try to skirt the issue; you will succeed as did Farragut with his legendary strategy “Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead.”          

July 31, 2017 from Nampa, Idaho by Fred Kelly Grant

Hartland, Wisconsin!

If you are in any way involved with the vaping industry you know the name of this village.  Just this week the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration made a sweeping announcement that the agency is taking an historic shift in position regarding regulation of tobacco products and electric non tobacco, non-combustible products.

I have no doubt that Hartland’s tenacious push for coordination was a primary cause of this shift.  The Village Trustees and Administrator had the courage to follow the lead given them by the Electronic Vaping Coalition of America, and push hard with a threat that unless the FDA follow its own statute requiring coordination with local governments when considering new regulations, village would sue.

Every person in America who vapes should be grateful to, supportive of and proud of the Hartland Trustees: Jeffrey Pfannerstill, Chairman, Karen Compton, Richard Landwehr, Michael Meyers, Rick Stevens (who makes a mean walking cane that helps me immensely), Randy Swenson and Ann Wallschlager  and their Village Administrator David Cox.

Credit and support is due as well to the Electronic Vaping Coalition of America and its co-founders Mark Block and Linda Hansen for introducing the coordination concept to Hartland, and giving the Trustees and Administrator the necessary support and resources to pull this off.

Hartland is a village of just about 10,000, a suburb just half an hour from Milwaukee. It is a rural community with old world charm a true all-American town. To drive through, or walk through the Village is a pleasant trip down memory lane for those of us who came from a small town but have now labored long in the trenches of the large cities. Tree lined streets, bicyclists everywhere, families strolling while eating ice cream cones.

Located along the Bark River in the beautiful surroundings of Waukesha County, Hartland offers its citizens more than 85 acres of city parks with facilities for all members of the family.  Ten parks, two golf courses and more than 600 miles of trails for walking and hiking.  There are even 12 lakes within five miles of Hartland, making it the ideal recreation-oriented town.

The River runs right through the downtown business area, adding charm and an environmentally friendly atmosphere to an all service town. The Village Board and the Administrator manage to provide full municipal services at low tax rates. In short, it is ideal for a family home.

On the surface, you’d never think this type of local government would make big, noisy changes in the world.

It just goes to show why you don’t judge a book by its cover.

Through Block and Hansen, EVCA pointed out to Hartland the eventual economic crisis faced by one of Hartland’s most successful business citizens Johnson Creek Enterprises, a vaping manufacturer. They explained how the FDA tobacco “deeming” regulation created a scenario which could easily put Johnson Creek out of business.

Block and Hansen spent hours introducing Cox and the Trustees to the governmental process by which local jurisdictions such as Hartland can seek relief from the economic impact of federal regulations.  The process is called “coordination” and, while it has been used successfully by local governments throughout the western and southwestern states it was virtually unknown in the mid-west and east.

Block had much earlier asked me whether coordination would work with the vaping industry and I immediately said “yes, as long as there was a local government willing to go to bat for the industry”.

Wasting no time, the Board of Trustees took a leap of faith and courageously stepped up to defend the viability of Johnson Creek. The Trustees advised the FDA Commissioner and the Health and Human Services Secretary that they intended to hold an evidentiary hearing to consider the FDA’s failure to coordinate the promulgation of the deeming regulations that threatened Johnson Creek.

The Trustees held a three-day hearing, April 27-29. The hearing was televised and was seen at any given time by thousands of people around the world.

Upon conclusion, the Trustees collected their Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, pointing out that the law and executive orders by five presidents including President Trump, required FDA to coordinate with local government by seeking “views of appropriate state, local and tribal officials before imposing regulatory requirements that might significantly or uniquely affect those governmental entities.”

The Trustees further found that the FDA had not based its regulations on the best science,  did not establish clear performance standards by which pre-application testing of products would be judged, did not seek input from Hartland, and did not seek to  impose the least possible economic burden on Hartland and its home based industries.

The Trustees called on the Commissioner to withdraw the strict timeline for pre-application approvals until his department could study and develop regulations based on sound science and economic theory, and to seek input from Hartland and experts in the technical categories of product analysis.

Hartland pursued its course in the face of criticism from certain vaping organizations which held forth very strongly that coordination would not work, and that it was only designed for western lands and water.  The Trustees were intrigued by the fact that members of the vaping community itself would so vocally oppose any process by which relief might be sought.

Those same critics have in the last days since the Commissioner made his announcement claimed that Hartland’s effort was not the moving effort. They claim that their petitions and grassroots efforts brought about the result. The Trustees remain silent as to this criticism, but I do not.

It is a strange and marvelous coincidence that all the talk of these critics had not brought about change at all, but that just three months after Hartland entered the fray, and just days after its threat to sue the sweeping change took place.

My friends, I put in more 50 years of hard nose trial work and work in the political-law arena (counsel to two governors and to three county governments) and I can tell you that he who believes in coincidence in politics is as naïve as is possible to be.

The critics of the coordination process as implemented by Hartland are not naïve—the reason behind their criticism is far deeper and darker that naivety. As an old friend of mine used to say in ending one of his endless letters to editors of newspapers “’Nuff said.”

On July 25, having heard nothing formal and official from the Commissioner, the Trustees sent a letter giving him the opportunity to schedule a hearing or face initiation of litigation by the end of August. The Trustees called on the Commissioner to join in talks with them about limiting online and television ads of vapor products; about seeking input from them regarding how to develop a plan of protecting youth from purchase of nicotine and how to protect youth from being drawn to combustible cigarettes; about seeking input from Hartland and expert opinion as to the burdens and costs of PMTA and while doing so, to delay the effective cutoff date by when all new products had to have the pre-applications approved, and about seeking input for developing regulations reasonable and based on sound science; and about seeking input on online sales and on flavor restrictions imposed by federal and state governments.

All the while the Trustees pressed the FDA on coordination, certain members of the industry expressed the same negativity that coordination would never accomplish anything. In the face of such criticism, which often seemed to dip into ridicule, the Trustees held firm and did not lose their tenacity based on the belief that they were right.

And, on July 28, 2017 the FDA Commissioner proved them right!! In a sweeping, historic speech, Dr. Scott Gottlieb called on his agency to put into practice every single one of Hartland’s requests. In his speech, Gottlieb told the world that the FDA would begin to study ways to reduce nicotine in cigarettes thus reducing the deductive thought of youth connected to nicotine, to get public input and input from stakeholders in the industry as to how to protect youth from all tobacco and tobacco-deemed products, to get input on developing science based standards for judging pre-application and on the type of and content of regulations that promoted an alternative to the destruction caused by combustible cigarettes. And, he delayed the deadline for pre-applications to be approved for five years.

Johnson Creek Enterprises has new life today because it doesn’t have to rush to spend enormous amounts of money on application reviews, (a process made exponentially worse with no measurable standards to go by.)

The courage and foresight of the Trustees of Hartland paid off in spades as the Commissioner swept away some of agency’s bureaucratic, arrogant practices. Hartland‘s Trustees should stand tall and be proud to have taken the coordination process to the tough federal agency and emerge with a real, meaningful balanced seat at the table with the Food and Drug Administration.

As a result of the Commissioner’s announcements, jurisdictions in New Hampshire, New York, Virginia, and southern California expressed interest to Mark Block for coordination hearings to be held by their local governing boards.  In reply, Block simply said, “Yes, its full speed ahead.”

I extend to each and every Trustee of Hartland, and to David Cox my most sincere congratulations. I saw the dedication each of them brought throughout the three days of hearings and the hours spent prior to, and subsequent to the hearing.  I saw them persevere in the face of arrogant critics who often sank to the level of ridicule.  And to the Trustees as they move forward now into the real work of coordination, and to all the members of governing boards who may take up the coordination process, I say we faced the same taunts, the same ridicule, the same arrogance of “we’ve never done it that way before” as four tiny towns in Texas began the process that stopped the first leg of the NAFTA SUPER HIGHWAY dead in its tracks, as one small county in Colorado stopped a re-routing of a Buffet owned railroad that would destroy its industry, and as California counties stopped the federal government shutdown of roads and trails in the national forests.

I guess the lesson from all this is the truth of the age-old, over used, proverb “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

The faculty at the University of Chicago School of Law long ago taught me that when planning strategy, “if the law doesn’t absolutely prohibit it, do it pedal to the metal.”  The complete name of the game in politics and law is “strategy” and he who finds the workable strategy wins. Hartland won its first big battle. Now, onward Hartland, make the process work with solid solutions. And onward EVCA, continue to make your efforts the premiere efforts of the industry. Sitting and waiting and talking doesn’t cut it in politics or law. Nike had it right in one of the most successful advertising campaigns in history: “Just Do It.”

 
 

By Fred Kelly Grant

Note: This is the third and final post in a series explaining the difference between federal agencies’ “Public Comment” periods for new regulations, and “Coordination,” a legal obligation of agencies but rarely obeyed. Click links to read Part 1 and Part 2.

Good public policy should always be arrived at through the use of the scientific method. A good scientist does not bias ​himself with a predetermined outcome of an experiment and then build data around ​that bias to rationalize the outcome ​he wants.

A good scientist puts bias aside and lets ​observations and data drive the conclusions.

This is not even happening with science in America. Science has been replaced by advocacy science, which is not science at all. Where scientists used to cherish their credibility through bending over backward to ​avoid the influence of bias, the majority of scientists today either work for the federal government​ or under a government-funded grant, and are thus biased to reflect the will of whatever administration is in power.

​Failing to reflect that will in their findings means grants are not renewed, and the institutions they represent are hurt financially. There is heavy monetary reason for them to find the way to rationalize the desired decision.

Why is advocacy science bad?

Think of a King decreeing the world is flat and his scientific council bringing to the table data that justifies the King’s conclusions. No one would be any the wiser that the world is not only round but it is spherical. We only advance as a society when we allow the truth to set us free from man-made constructs like the impediments imposed by special interests.

In the vaping world, it is hard for the public to buy, when the scientific data and observations are reviewed, that vaping is detrimental to public health. Common sense would dictate that in the name of public health that policy be that the world’s best smoking cessation tool and should be nurtured and embraced by public health officials.

Clearly the FDA has a bias toward vaping that does not work in the best interests of the public.

This is why pursuing coordination is vital to the health and longevity of the vaping industry.

It is clearly evident that FDA leaders have prioritized special interest agendas ahead of public health. If the FDA were a legal prosecutor and public health were put on trial, ethically, the FDA would have to disclose its conflict of interest with big Pharma and recuse itself from the trial, while asking for an unbiased special prosecutor to be appointed. Unfortunately, very few federal agencies have the temerity to act ethically and responsibly

We must always remember that the “Law” is a minimum standard ​of what we are required to do. Ethics

imposes a higher standard and is based upon what we ought to do. Federal agencies only operate within the confines of the law and have no equivocations about acting unethically. Just because something is legal does not mean it is ethical. ​So often the question posed by government officials to their counsel is “CAN we do this?” without any concern about “SHOULD we do this?”  

I have been there, spending many years as counsel to federal agencies, two Governors, county governing boards, zoning boards, as well as city and town councils. So many agency leaders have ​either forgotten to ask the “SHOULD” question or know that it would interfere with the path of action they have already set upon.

Coordination is a tool that holds federal agencies accountable and helps agency leaders remember that their role is first and foremost to serve us.  

Coordination helps the public have a say through local officials to whom all of us have ready access. You see your council person in the supermarket line, or at lunch in the diner, or at the service station, or in church, or at the school carnival. He or she is responsive to you because your vote is far more important percentage wise than it is to the Congressman or Senator.  When those local officials voice your position, they push agency leaders to act in a more ethical manner or suffer the consequences of their actions.

Coordination helps society to gain value from diverse opinions and build consensus rather than allow federal agencies to act within a vacuum.

Coordination helps federal agency leaders honor the public’s expectations rather than special interest expectations.

Coordination helps promote equality and recourse for all people to be treated equitably.

Coordination supports the public’s right to know and promotes a robust public involvement in policy decision making.

This is why all Americans should not only support the use of coordination,  BUT INSIST ON IT.

If you advocate building increased confidence in the decision making of federal agencies consistent with ethical behavior that benefits the public, if you specifically advocate freedom of choice for those that would rather vape and protect their health and lives, then I hope you will join us in our efforts to promote coordination.

 
 

By Fred Kelly Grant

Note: This is the second of three posts that explain the difference between federal agencies’ “Public Comment” periods for new regulations, and “Coordination,” a legal obligation of agencies but rarely obeyed. Click links to read Part 1 and Part 3.

CONGRESS HAS PROVIDED A PROCESS WHICH CANNOT BE IGNORED OR  MANIPULATED BY AGENCIES. IT IS CALLED COORDINATION.​

The legal premise of “coordination”​ does not rest on “public comment”. It rests on a position taken by A LOCAL GOVERNMENT in support of its citizens, and it requires the federal agency to act consistently with the position taken by the LOCAL GOVERNMENT.  

The process​ puts local communities in an equal bargaining position with federal agencies. Coordination does not allow federal agencies to simply disregard ​the interests of the public as expressed through its local government. Through coordination, federal agencies can be – and have repeatedly been – forced to vacate a predetermined regulatory outcome.

I have seen this process, and been part of the process more than 50 times where this has happened. Most notable were the federal agency retreat from the NAFTA superhighway in Texas, the re-routing of a railroad  purchased by Warren Buffet, the closing of roads in all the northern forests of California, and the destruction of dams on the Klamath River in California.

In all these cases government agencies IGNORED PUBLIC COMMENT that was opposed to the “PREFERRED” action already decided on by the agencies. However, the local governments in each of those cases used COORDINATION to force federal agencies to vacate predetermined outcomes and restored power to the people. Coordination equates to greater freedom and helps to instill public confidence in our federal government.

To help understand the difference between the coordination process and public comment, let’s go back to the school carnival analogy in part one of this series.

If the school district is divided into sub-districts, and has a policy that says “the Carnival Committee must reach consistency with sub-district policies, and the public convinces leaders of a sub-district that the Carnival Committee’s plans are flawed – maybe a Mardi Gras parade would interfere with a sub district school calendar, or parking lot flow. If the public can convince the subdistrict of such a legitimate inconsistency, the Committee then has to sit down with that sub-district and other sub-districts and reach consistency and agreement. The process defeats the predetermined (Mardi Gras) decision by the Committee. In other words, the school carnival committee has to go back to the drawing board.

THE COORDINATION PROCESS IS A FUNDAMENTAL TOOL TO ASSURE THAT THE SYSTEM OF FEDERALISM IS FOLLOWED.

​Federalism, which our national Founders chose as the basis for our constitutional government, rests on a balance of powers between the national government (the President and the Congress), the states (the Governors and the state legislatures), and local government (the towns, cities and counties). Coordination is the process by which the public – indeed, you, the citizen – can have your direct say through your local government.

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