Is the Farmers Market Board fair?

To the editor:

I read with interest Tom Cramer’s May 14, 2014, letter regarding the Durango Farmer’s Market and the rebuttal from a DFM Board member defending the board’s decision to exclude Mr. Cramer’s lemonade vending business from the market this year.   Perhaps the board member should also tone down the possibly inflammatory rhetoric using such a term as “castigating” when I did not get such a tone from Mr. Cramer’s letter. Is there some past history between these parties that drove the rebuttal letter’s tone in this regard? If so, and knowing the DFM’s laudable mission, I would think the board as a whole would want to portray itself and its actions as being above such rhetoric and avoid bringing further controversy onto itself.

The board member cited a board rule regarding two vendors offering the “same” product and preference, according to the rule, being given to the ag vendor. Perhaps a more clear definition of what constitutes a “same” product is also needed within the framework of the board’s rules. 

I have visited the DFM website and there is a statement on there regarding the DFM’s participation in the Colorado Food Stamp Program. If this is indeed the case, I suggest the board review its rules from a standpoint of possibly being discriminatory knowing that the Food Stamp Program receives federal funding. Mr. Cramer is a small business owner and could make a case that certain current DFM rules are discriminatory to him and similar small businesses and this type of action could fall under federal law purview regarding discrimination. Perhaps he could consult with the Small Business Administration and/or a small business lawyer specializing in just this type of case. A federal judge may take a different view of the DFM Board’s definition of the word “same.”

It would put a negative atmosphere over the DFM and its mission for lawyers to get involved, but we all would do well to remember that the only ones who win in the end are the lawyers if this situation were to degenerate further.

– Sincerely, Stan Mattingly, Durango