June 17, 2019

Maine Conservation Bond Issue: Stop Whining For Crying Out Loud

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

There is a proposal in the Maine Legislature to issue a bond to buy land for conservation. This proposal (only a proposal) is LD911. If this proposal passes the Legislature (two-thirds of BOTH Houses) it will then go before the VOTERS in the following November general election. There is nothing new here. This is the legislative procedure for ALL bond issuance elections.

Because there are whiners who hate hunting, trapping, and fishing, they take issue with this bond claiming it usurps local control, along with bitching and complaining that hunters and trappers are the most vocal groups in the state and always get what they want, blah, blah, blah.

The writer of the piece linked to above claims that the wording of the proposed bond issue is deliberately misleading the public by not telling voters that if the Land For Maine’s Future buys land to protect and conserve, the land will have to be open to the public for all access, including hunting, trapping, fishing.

The wording of the proposed bond issue (which can be changed during the Legislative debate process) is as follows: “Do you favor a $95,000,000 bond issue to invest in state parks and historic sites, land conservation, water access, wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation opportunities, including hunting and fishing, farmlands and working waterfronts to be matched by at least $75,000,000 in private and public contributions?” (emboldening added)

It’s not as though the emboldened words were not included in the bond proposal. However, any whiner could object to this bond being used “unfairly” for state parks, historic sites, water access and any other State of Maine requirement stated in law. Sometimes we have to be grownups and deal with such things as sharing the land and not opening it up to preferred ideological uses.

I fail to see how there is any attempt at concealing from the public that public money used to buy public lands is open to hunting, trapping, and fishing…along with a myriad of other uses (no complaints about that?)

There is a process in place and the issuance of bonds is no new thing. Nothing is hidden, and in this case, LD 911 is rightly available for any voter to read…all the “fine print” that to the writer of the commentary seems to be misleading or hiding information from the public.

Or maybe the writer is hoping all readers will just believe his words and not bother to go read the entire proposal (It takes about 10 minutes if you are slow reader like me.)

Because, if you go read the proposed bond wording you’ll discover such things as, “Hunting, fishing, trapping and public access may not be prohibited on land acquired with bond proceeds, except to the extent of applicable state, local or federal laws, rules and regulations…” (emboldening added)

Oh, oops! Seems that local governments do have rights and some control as it may pertain to “dodging bullets.” But, there is no more local control than a voter going to the polls and actually casting a ballot that would, as a democratic collective, decide whether any purchase of public land MIGHT negatively affect them. You love your democracy, now live with it!

State law requires that when, through Land for Maine’s Future purchases, certain percentages of that money and purchase must be used for such things as protecting working waterfronts, protecting farmland, and public access to water, among others. The writer also forgot to tell his readers that in this particular bond issue the state MUST give preferential treatment to the purchase of deer wintering habitat to protect deer. Listening to the writer one would think that this money was only going to be used so hunters can kill more deer.

Like with any election and voting process, the onus of knowing what you are voting on should fall into the lap of the voter. As I said, nothing is completely hidden and anyone who actually cares will read the “fine print” and make their decisions on that and not on some anti-hunting activist.

Now that you have heard the truth of the issue and have been given a link to the bond proposal to read, you now have to decide whether it is a good thing to give the state more land to control, thus controlling you, while removing that land from the tax rolls and placing a larger burden of taxes on you the voter.

Think about that one for awhile.

Share