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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow GROUP MOUNTS ANTI-U.N. PETITION EFFORT



By T.L. Petersen

Observer Staff Writer

UNION — Some Union residents have a message for the United Nations: stay away.

"We're doing just as Grant County did," Jim Bovard of Union said last week.

Bovard, who leads what he calls the Union Sovereignty Committee, is one of three chief petitioners trying to get an initiative on the May 2003 county ballot that would demand the United Nations not act within Union County.

Bovard and other petitioners, including Susan C. Smith and Betty L. Bronson, all of Union, had been working for about a month to get enough signatures to put the initiative on this fall's general election county ballot.

However, by the petition deadline Wednesday, they had only about half of the 600 signatures they felt they needed.

At that point, Bovard said, the decision was made to redirect efforts to collecting signatures for a referendum next May.

"We'll shoot for the one in May," Bovard said, explaining the time will give his group a chance to produce a newsletter and have speakers come to Union County for forums on the proposed ballot measure.

Bovard is quick to say his issue has to do with average citizens of the United States having a say in actions taken by the country.

"The government goes ahead and signs treaties," Bovard said. "We have the right to say yes or no. We have the right to say, ‘What affects me should be determined by my vote.' "

Talking to others over the past year or more led to Bovard's decision to push for the initiative. His original plan was to go to communities within Union County, one at a time, and approach city councils.

But then he saw the success of a similar initiative in Grant County in the May primary election and decided to take a county-wide approach.

Bovard, a retired officer in the Oregon National Guard, has no problem with military service but objects to what he perceives as a giving away of decision-making power to a world organization.

"I think people should be educated and informed," he said.

"We're still a republic and this country is still a federation of republics. I have a right to say what's in my county."

If the Union-based petitioners collect enough signatures to get the anti-U.N. measure on the county ballot next year, voters will be asked a question — "Shall Union County declare that no United Nations action may take place within the county's borders?"

Bovard sees the U.N. as a challenge to the United States' sovereignty.

The Grant County petition had a summary statement that included the words "because of the following articles that are contained in the U.N. charter, which violates constitutional protections in whole or in part," that are missing from the Union County petition.

The local effort, instead, says "the foreign U.N. Charter, resolutions, and agendas violate the intent, spirit, and purpose of the law and the protections guaranteed by the United States Constitution and thereby threatens our national sovereignty and the sacred will of the people."

"Let the people have the opportunity to vote and accept it or reject it," Bovard said.

He hopes to have a chance to convince others of his beliefs and use the petition drive to involve others in a cause.

Able to collect about 100 signatures in just a few days last week, Bovard is confident. The signatures already collected will be good toward the total number needed for the 2003 election, according to Union County Clerk Nellie Bogue-Hibbert.

Forums in Grant County in April brought out both supporters for that ballot measure, and opponents, who questioned whether or not the U.N. charter said what supporters said it did.

Bovard, though, thinks Grant County simply started a movement that will sweep Oregon and the country. To him, it is a final battle for his country.

"I started in World War II, fighting to protect my country. It's been my life," he says.

Reach T.L. Petersen at tpetersen



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