Description of Patricia’s efforts in grassroots organizing which led to a tree sit

I met Ms. Mikkelson over a year ago, when, as a lawyer, I was called on to mediate diverse grassroots resistance to an unlawful development project in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she and I live. I myself, hindered by circumstances to do any more than the briefest community work, would be greatly reassured to know that Patricia Mikkelson would be doing the same thing for the Arctic Refuge as she did for Fayetteville

Patricia sparked the resistance movement at its beginning stages. It was she who began organizing against the city’s connivance at tree-preservation ordinance violations in favor of a huge mall development. The resistance grew to include tree-sit action and substantial civil disobedience of over twenty people.

Through a protracted and tense summer and at great personal cost, Patricia applied her considerable talents wherever she was needed. She initiated and participated in email bulletin boards and chat-lists that were vital in keeping communication lines open, when fast-moving events threatened to  overwhelm opposition. She responded to demands at all hours; this was important when the bulldozers were mobilizing under cover of darkness. Moreover, endurance became important when the tree sit failed and the development proceeded. Patricia had that endurance>

Eventually, the voters deposed the sitting mayor and even he conceded that he lost because of the tree fight. Further, due to intense community participation and oversight, the applicable tree ordinances have just been redrafted to remove some of the ambiguities that countenanced the violations in the first instance.

Had the resistance collapsed when the trees fell, we might still be suffering under the prior administration. But the resistance continued into the November elections, and the redrafting was due in part to Patricia’s substantial efforts. Needless to say, her efforts were unpaid and, especially regrettably, largely unrecognized.

Subsequently, Patricia and I have talked at length. Based on those conversations and my observation, I can assert that her faith in community action seems to flow from an in exhaustible well. I believe she has the vision and the commitment to work on national issues. She has the experience, the will, and the philosophical mettle to stay flexible and resourceful, in the face of what seems to be overwhelmingly big money interests. She is the right person for the job.
Please do not hesitate to contact me further, if there’s anything else I can do in connecdion with Ms. Mikkelson’s application.
Anita Schnee

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