On Friday, April 24, 2015, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) will be holding a public hearing in Greenville, Maine at 6 p.m. at the Greenville Consolidated School. The purpose of the meeting is to receive public comment on MDIFW’s proposal to issue moose hunting permits for the harvest of 100 bull moose and 50 cow (antlerless) moose. Some people in the area think that the moose population is too low to support that number of harvested moose as well as provide for successful guiding for moose watchers.
LD134 is a proposed bill requiring the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) to:
…conduct a study of the impact of winter ticks on the State’s moose population, including identifying any problems for the moose population created by the ticks and recommending possible courses of action, if any, to address those problems.
I say that it is unfortunate the bill has been moved forward because I don’t think that it is necessary to study something that others have studied and that Maine already knows – ticks are killing moose. An ongoing moose study has revealed the number of cow and calf moose that have been killed because of winter ticks. Maine knows ticks are killing moose. So why spend the money on it? It makes little sense. But then again, today’s politicians were weened on forming study groups and spending valuable resources on anything they don’t want to deal with.
What is about as clear as mud in this proposal is that part that reads, “identifying any problems for the moose population created by the ticks and recommending possible courses of action.”
The identity of a problem with the moose population has already been established – ticks kill moose. So, what would be the course of action to stop ticks from killing moose? If the focus of this study is on whether or not ticks kill moose and if so how much, then how can any course of action be recommended to solve the problem if they don’t know what caused the problem of ticks?
Excuse me for thinking rationally and not as a friggin politician. What a waste!
Yes, there are people who make politicians look not quite as stupid as they really are. Someone is dumping 5-gal plastic pails full of human waste into streams in the Farmington and Wilton areas. A $500 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of “The Poop Baiter.”
ST. ALBANS — Hours after people saw firefighters rescue a small deer from thin ice on Weymouth Pond, the animal was killed by a game warden who saw it suffering and believed it was unlikely to survive.
The deer was rescued Wednesday night, but “when I checked on it this morning it was laying on the shore,” Maine Game Warden Josh Tibbetts said Thursday. “They had put some corn down to try and feed it, but it wasn’t eating it. It didn’t even raise its head.”<<<Read More>>>
Had a great public hearing on LD 1228. Here is my Testimony-had no one in opposition.
Testimony in Support of LD 1228 An Act To Amend the Ballot Initiative Process To Ensure Support in Maine’s Congressional Districts
Before the Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs
Presented by David Trahan, Executive Director, Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine
April 15, 2015
Senator Cyrway, Representative Luchini, and distinguished members of the Committee on Veterans and Legal
Affairs, I am David Trahan, Executive Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine testifying in support of LD LD 1228 An Act To Amend the Ballot Initiative Process To Ensure Support in Maine’s Congressional Districts. Our organization would like to thank Representative Short for sponsoring this SAM Bill.
For decades, many Mainers have argued that there are two Maine’s, North and South. Many in the North feel as though they have no voice in Augusta politics. In March of 2012, State Representative, Henry Joy of Crystal even proposed Legislation that would have allowed Aroostook, Piscataquis, Somerset, Franklin, Penobscot and parts of Washington, Hancock and Oxford counties to become their own State called Maine. Southern and coastal Maine would be renamed the state of Northern Massachusetts.
I served in the legislature at the time many of us could not figure out whether it was a joke or whether he serious, I think he was dead serious. Never could the North v. South divide have been more defined than during the bear referendum signature gathering effort and in the final vote on Election Day.
We have submitted LD 1228 to restore some level of fairness to rural Maine and when I am finished with this testimony it should be crystal clear why this bill is necessary.
In early February, Katie Hansberry, HSUS Director announced that Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting had submitted 78,528 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office and that the signatures collected came from 417 cities and towns, in every County throughout Maine. This sounds like statewide support, except the devils in the details. First of all, of the 78,528 signatures turned in, only 63,626 were valid, just 5000 more than required.
Of the 63,626 certified signatures, three quarters, or 46,463 of those came from 115 First Congressional District towns. To pare it down further, 12 towns, mostly in Cumberland County, were responsible for 46 percent of the signatures. Twenty-two towns, again, mostly in Cumberland County, were responsible for 58 percent of the total valid signatures collected.
For those living in the other rural counties, what is extremely unfair about this lopsided collection effort is that if the referendum had passed, nearly no one in southern Maine would have been affected by the loss of rural Maine bear guiding jobs or from new bear nuisance problems.
There are 24 states that have a citizen initiated referendum system, of the 24, 12 have geographical requirement to qualify for the ballot. LD 1228 is identical to Nevada law that requires qualifying signatures come from each Congressional District. In order to qualify for the ballot in Maine, it takes at least 10 percent valid signatures of those that voted in the previous election for Governor. In Nevada, the Congressional geographical requirement in LD 1228 was tested in the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Angle v. Miller, September 1, 2011. In upholding the law, the Federal Court said:
 All Districts Rule did not dilute political power in violation of the Equal Protection Clause;
 All Districts Rule did not discriminate against an identifiable class in violation of the Equal Protection Clause;
 All Districts Rule did not impose severe burden on communication between petition circulators and voters, as would trigger strict scrutiny under First Amendment;
 there was no evidence that All Districts Rule significantly inhibited ability of proponents to place initiatives on ballot, as would trigger strict scrutiny under First Amendment; and
 In a matter of first impression, Nevada had legitimate interest in making sure any initiative had grassroots support that was distributed throughout the state.
The First District is 20 percent the size of the Second District, yet it holds half the state’s population. Maine’s Second District is the largest East of the Mississippi, it is the second most rural in the country, with 72 percent of its population in rural areas; in contrast, 50 percent of the First District is considered urban and the rest rural. The Second District is like its own country and because of its size the politics and opinions of its inhabitants are diverse. When considering policies like wildlife management, it is easy to understand why the people of rural Maine feel disenfranchised, they are.
As our population migrates further south toward Massachusetts, the distance between urban and rural Maine is growing. According to MapQuest, it takes six hours to travel from Kittery Maine to Fort Kent Maine. It takes just 4 hours and a half to travel from Kittery Maine to New York City, NY. Rep. Joy was right to some degree, southern Maine is an extension of Massachusetts, but that doesn’t mean in order for the rest of Maine to have fair representation in the initiative process they need to secede. Instead, the legislature needs to find ways to bring fairness to processes like our referendum. I urge you pass LD 1228 it will finally bring geographical fairness to state ballot initiatives. This bill will not impede debate or suppress voters; on the contrary, it will insure that ballot initiative signatures represent a diverse and more accurate geographical sample of Maine voters.
When NPR asked a New Hampshire deer biologist how they went about guessing how many deer the state had, the answer was…well, it was…actually, I don’t know what the hell it was. But the response went like this:
For deer, this is the two-year running average of the adult buck-kill. That’s kind of what we use as an index to the trend in the population. That’s kind of the best index we have.
And that’s it? Go figure. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong but I have a strong suspicion that deer hunting in New Hampshire, and probably Maine and Vermont, generate the most income in order to fund each state’s fish and (no game, just) wildlife departments. And, this is the best explanation a deer biologist from New Hampshire could come up with to explain how counting deer is done.
Is it important to know how many deer each state has? Geez! I would think so. If you don’t know, how do you know how many deer should be killed each year? Is this one of the reasons deer populations in Northern New England are struggling? Maybe. Ask any biologist though and they’ll probably say it’s being caused by global warming. But let’s not get into that.
One might conclude that New Hampshire’s “model” of guessing is pretty pathetic. What it sounds to me that they do, is count the number of adult bucks harvested during the hunting season for two consecutive years. They use that data to somehow wave a magic wand and then after repeating the “magic” incantations, guess how many deer there are. That’s sad…isn’t it?
If you think that’s sad, then how damned sad is it when a state can’t even count to know how many adult buck deer were taken during a deer hunting season? That’s beyond sad. It’s down right pathetic.
As of this morning, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), has not posted on their website the harvest numbers from last November’s deer hunting season. God, we’ve all been down this road so many times, but nothing ever changes.
Some have asked me what difference does it make? I think it makes a lot of difference. Seriously, do I need to explain why? But forget what I think or whether you care. If Maine uses anything like New Hampshire’s methods, and they count adult buck deer killed to guesstimate deer populations, how can they responsibly manage deer – like how many “Any-Deer Permits” to issue if they can’t count deer?
So, I can only guess what is going on. Either MDIFW is terrible at managing deer or they won’t release the deer harvest numbers because they are hiding something. What else could it be? And, as an aside, MDIFW hasn’t posted the bear harvest data either.
Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d.
Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin’d.
Harpier cries:—’tis time! ’tis time!
Round about the caldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.—
Toad, that under cold stone,
Days and nights has thirty-one;
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot!
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
A letter to the editor found in the Bangor Daily News is a brilliant representation of ignorance and sour grapes. Lamenting the issue that he and his ilk lost..again…in a referendum vote to ban bear hunting, trapping and fishing, he therefore declares that efforts to improve on the governing process is wrong because he doesn’t agree with the outcomes that have happened and fears his own radical ideas will get shoved down the incinerator where they belong.
Somehow the writer thinks it is only members of the Maine Legislature, who sit on fish and game committees, and sponsor legislation aimed at fish and game issues, are wrong for doing so. If this is wrong then to whom is anyone to go to in order to find a sponsor of a bill? Why do these law makers sit on the committees they work with? I hope any member of the law enforcement committee doesn’t sponsor any bills dealing with law enforcement. I guess that would be bad.
According to the author, we are supposed to believe his bile that hunters and fishermen control the Legislature, the fish and game department, the courts, along with Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks Coffee shops, and Aunt Mary who lives in a shoe.
The author says that a “small group of radical ‘sportsmen'” are taking over the world. The author thinks groups like the Humane Society of the United States are main-stream, “normal” and respectable organizations and that outdoor sportsmen are radical because they believe in the preservation of a cherished and historic way of life.
You decide who the radicals are. In the meantime, such nonsense is nothing more than radical sour grapes.
The Bangor Daily News editorial staff made some good and sound points about alternatives to changing the process involved with gathering signatures and getting a proposal put onto the ballot for voters to decide. However, the staff made two statements that I think need clearing up and providing a better and more accurate explanation.
To be forthcoming, I have stated in the past that I hold some reluctance in a flat removal of the right of citizens to petition the state and the referendum process. In this article, it makes reference to a proposed bill, LD1228, that would amend the signature gathering process for ballot initiatives. I haven’t finished a thorough examination of this proposal, but on the surface it appears to be a sound proposal.
However, I do think there are instances in which an exemption from the ballot initiative process may be necessary. The Bangor Daily News states: “…taking away the citizen initiative when it comes to hunting and fishing laws, or any other area of law, is wrong.” I do not agree. “Any other area of law,” is not specific to hunting and fishing laws, which, in and of itself, is an inaccurate labeling of what bill proposals that exist are attempting to do.
Hunting and fishing laws, i.e. rules, are set by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). The Legislature can amend those laws/rules and/or force the department to do things it might not think is in the best interest of wildlife management. In the existing format, there are many opportunities for Maine voters to participate in the rule-making process. This is the same throughout all law making proposals, with or without the referendum process.
In my mind, this really isn’t the issue. The issue is that wildlife management, including fish and game management, is a scientific process and should be a scientific process driven by goals set and established as a complimentary effort between the wildlife department and voters. Science should be the determining factor. It is my opinion that when MDIFW began putting too much emphasis on what social impacts their scientific decisions had, proper and responsible wildlife management took a back seat to social pressures, many coming from special interest groups. This result is far worse than any perceived fallout from eliminating a ballot initiative.
For this reason, we may be looking at a terrific example of why an exemption from the petitioning of the state government to change it’s wildlife management plans, should be seriously and honestly considered.
The second issue is directly connected to the first. The Bangor Daily News called a potential law to limit ballot initiatives on issues pertaining to fish and wildlife management as “draconian.” When this issue is viewed from a totalitarian perspective of forcing lifestyles onto others, I can understand why the newspaper, with their history, would consider this exemption as draconian. It appears the newspaper’s importance is weighted toward socialistic issues rather than science.
I hate laws in general because all laws limit and steal away my rights and my God-given right to self-determination. Playing within the rules, what is good for the goose is most often good for the gander.
And just one more thing. The editorial states that, “Twenty-four states allow citizen-generated initiatives on the ballot.” Why didn’t the report state that 26 do not? More than half do not provide for citizen-generated initiatives. Clearly there are other means of ensuring that all citizens can be heard, or made to think they are heard, other than the current and very expensive process Maine now has.
Changes in this process should be forthcoming.
It is commonly stated that democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what’s for lunch. I suppose a democratic form of voting must be accomplished by having an exact representation of all registered voters. In fact, all registered, and legal, voters should participate in voting. So, should we then jump at the notion tossed out by President Obama a few days ago suggesting that all those eligible to vote should be forced to vote? I hope not. Maybe some of the processes leading up to a vote should be looked at.
Consider, if you will, the false paradigms that everyone engages in – Left vs. Right, Republic vs. Democrat, Liberal vs. Conservative, Blue vs. Red, Urban vs. Rural, North vs. South, East vs. West, etc. Convinced that there is a difference, we are continuously distracted from the realities around us.
Many years ago, when I began investing my time and money into Online projects, one of the first things I learned was that for every rule that was devised supposedly to make the Internet experience better and more fair for everyone, thousands of people went to work to beat the system. Is this not true for everything, everywhere? Where’s the honesty anymore?
I also remember many, many years ago when I coached in a town little league baseball program, each Spring all the coaches within the county league would meet to discuss the upcoming season. This was also a time to discuss any possible rule changes. I learned right away that the process was wrong. Each rule change proposal that was made was done so for the clear advantage to deal with one particular coach’s team circumstances and not for the betterment of the league. Eventually, I became commissioner of that league and one of the first changes I sought was that no rule changes would go into effect immediately. It would have to take at least two seasons. There was a process to deal with actual emergencies. Is this same process at play in many, if not all, of our everyday lives? Do we react in a knee-jerk way to find a cure for the short term with little thought for the future?
The state of Maine has in the past few decades been called “The Two Maines.” This title came as the result of the more densely populated, “liberal” coastal region of the state and the inland and northern rural portions of the state thought to be “conservative.” Maine is not unique in this geographic and social and economic dynamic.
Today, I was reading an article found on HotAir about this very topic. It wasn’t Maine specific, but it did deal with the distinct problems that exist between densely populated city regions and those people who live there, and their ideals, opposed to those living in rural areas. The article is an interesting read as well as the comments left after the article. Please visit the site.
If there exists a distinct and unfair advantage to this demographic, that makes it easier for one group to force their ideology onto others, then what if anything, can be done about it? Surely this is the way of our society today.
The Maine Legislature will be considering a bill proposal that might help with this problem if a problem does exist. I don’t have access to voting data and statistics to know the demographics of who votes in Maine and from what region, county or town of each ballot cast. Therefore, I can only present what is being said and the bill that is being proposed.
A bad democracy (there are no real good democracies) becomes two wolves and a sheep discussing what’s for lunch when only two wolves and one sheep show up to vote. What happened to all the wolves and all the sheep? The truth is not even a majority of registered and legal voters participate in most elections. Therefore the system is flawed, but that is the reality that must be dealt with.
What happens then when certain voters, often with similar interests, congregate in densely populated cities? Can those voters have a distinct and stronger influence in political, economic and social issues? Some think so.
In Maine, which is not unlike other states, an example of this appears when the legal process is undertaken to get a citizen’s referendum onto a ballot. One of the requirements for that would be for petitioners to gather legal signatures of at least 10% (a number not actual names) of the number of those who voted in the last election. There are no stipulations on where those signatures can be gathered across the state.
Maine has been inundated over the past decade with ballot initiatives from the Humane Society of the United States and other animal rights/environmental groups in attempts to change the way of life or many Maine people. They want to put an end to hunting, trapping and fishing, among other lifestyles. This is a classic example of two wolves and a sheep discussing lunch.
Because of the expenses, time, effort and energy that it takes to fight against such efforts, there are many bill proposals and a lot of discussion of what can be done to stop this attack. In 2004, the Humane Society of the United States lost a referendum vote to end trapping and hounding of bears. This past Fall, another referendum ended the same way. Many want this to be made more difficult or to stop altogether.
There are constitutional amendments being considered. Some are to exempt wildlife management from referendum votes. Others are to guarantee that Maine’s residents have a right to hunt, trap and fish.
LD1228 attempts to change the “fairness” of the signature gathering process.
Sec. 1. 21-A MRSA §902-B is enacted to read:
3 §902-B. Signatures on petitions for direct initiative of legislation from congressional
5 The required number of signatures on petitions for the direct initiative of legislation
6 specified in the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part Third, Section 18 must include a
7 number of signatures of voters registered to vote in each congressional district that is
8 equal to 10% of the total vote for Governor cast in that congressional district in the last
9 gubernatorial election preceding the filing of the direct initiative.
11 This bill provides that the required number of signatures on petitions for the direct
12 initiative of legislation must include a number of signatures of voters registered to vote in
13 each congressional district that is equal to 10% of the total vote for Governor cast in that
14 congressional district in the last gubernatorial election preceding the filing of the direct
Maine has two Congressional Districts. Supposedly (I haven’t counted) each district comprises the same number of people. In the last bear referendum vote, according to the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, 73% of the signatures gathered to get the referendum on the ballot, came from the First District, which is mostly comprised of the southern coastal regions where it is more densely populated and with distinct socio-economic differences than the Second District.
LD1228 proposes to mandate that at least 5% of signatures come from each district that would make up the 10%.
Does this help to level the playing field? Is this a false cure for a false paradigm? Some argue that for government to be better and more in the hands of the people, a big government needs to be whittled down to small pieces, putting more of it in the hands of the people where they reside. If this is true, would this proposal do anything worthwhile in that regard?
*Editor’s Note* – While this proposed legislation could be a good one, wouldn’t the difficulty in this proposed law present itself through poor definitions? As an example: This proposal prohibits the implementation of laws and policy/programs that originate from Agenda 21. Agenda 21, and all of its associated fascist regulations and ideology are so deeply ingrained within the fabric of the United States that it would be virtually impossible to stop. Any person who is a member of any local municipality, for instance, could have the same ideology as Agenda 21, through choice or was achieved through forms of brainwashing, propagandizing and educational programs. How do you stop that now?
Agenda 21 is a terrible regulation guideline that only totalitarian rule and the desire for it would seek. Passage of this proposed bill might curtail such activities but because the senseless, ideology is so heavily infused into U.S. culture, I doubt it will get much support. Please prove me wrong.
This may be a wake-up call and a good reminder that after the fact, it’s often too late for action.
An Act To Ban the United Nations Agenda 21 in Maine
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:
Sec. 1. 1 MRSA c. 22 is enacted to read:
PROTECTION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS
§ 831. United Nations Agenda 21; international laws
1. Definitions. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
A. “Agenda 21″ means the plan of action adopted by the United Nations in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and published in “Agenda 21: Earth Summit – The United Nations Programme of Action from Rio” (United Nations publication, ISBN 9789211005097, 1993).
B. “Political subdivision” means any municipality, plantation, county, quasi-municipal corporation or special purpose district, including any public-private partnership, of the State.
C. “Public-private partnership” means any partnership in which the State or a municipality, plantation, county, quasi-municipal corporation or special purpose district is a partner.
D. “State” means the State and any office, department, agency, authority, commission, board, institution, hospital or other instrumentality of the State.
2. Prohibition on restricting private property rights. The State or any political subdivision may not adopt or implement policies that intentionally or recklessly infringe on or restrict private property rights without due process as may be required by policy recommendations originating in or traceable to Agenda 21 or any international law or ancillary plan of action that contravenes the United States Constitution or the Constitution of Maine.
3. Prohibition on transactions with organizations assisting in implementation of Agenda 21 policies. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the State or any political subdivision may not enter into any agreement with, expend any sum of money for, receive funds or contract services from or give financial aid to any nongovernmental or intergovernmental organization accredited or enlisted by the United Nations to assist in the implementation of the United Nations policies related to Agenda 21.
This bill prohibits the State or any political subdivision of the State from adopting or implementing policies originating in the United Nations Agenda 21 or other international laws that restrict private property rights without due process. Because the United Nations has accredited and enlisted numerous nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations to assist in the implementation of its policies related to Agenda 21 around the world, the bill prohibits the State or any political subdivision from entering into agreements or financial arrangements with those organizations.