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A Pig in a Poke
By Croton Crier, Section News
Our family attended the Baker's Green Acres Celebration of the Farm this past Saturday to show solidarity with a small farmer who is being persecuted by the DNR of Michigan. After arriving at the farm, we city slickers with little experience in farming observed a scenic setting where a variety of animals are raised in a clean and quite pretty environment.
The question that came to my mind as I weighed the invasive species accusation against the Baker's versus the reality of what I observed was: How in the world did we get here?
An unelected bureaucracy that has jurisdiction over only public lands has brought a $700,000 civil fine against a private family farm who simply wants to make an honest living?
Speaking with Mr. Baker about how his representatives have weighed in on his persecution by the DNR, he shared his experience in Lansing dealing with the DNR's Invasive Species Order prohibiting 'feral' swine. After testifying on a bill in Lansing to extend the time limit farmers had for destroying their livestock, Mr. Baker observed the big agriculture lobby turn one legislator after another against the small farmer until the bill was removed from the floor. What a joke!
Thinking on this the rest of the weekend brought to mind a conversation I had with State Representative Jon Bumstead during his first primary campaign in 2010. I remembered that Mr. Bumstead had stated the the DEQ tended to overstep it's bounds after I asked him about a complaint he was involved in against a Newaygo Business that involved the DEQ.
Early on in my foray into politics, I naively believed Mr. Bumstead as he deflected my question. I believed his statements that he thought the DEQ needed reigning in. Later, when the feral swine question came to my attention, Mr. Bumstead shared that he thought they caused enough damage that they should be banned. In my lack of knowledge, I did not heed the red flag.
In light of recent legislation that Mr. Bumstead has sponsored, I find that not only has he done nothing to reign in the DEQ, an unelected bureaucracy, but he has expanded the power of another bureaucracy: the DNR. Adding insult to injury, Mr. Bumstead has not only increased the DNR's power of land acquisition for wild life habitat, but he has done so on the taxpayer's dime. HB 4668 "raises the cost for a resident to hunt deer from $15 to $31, and the minimum fishing license cost would increase from $15 to $26. The House Fiscal Agency reports this would extract an additional $19.7 million annually from sportsmen."
Mr. Bumstead's HB 4668, Sec. 43554 states, One dollar and fifty cents of the license fee for each firearm deer, bow and arrow deer, and resident sportsperson's license shall be used for improving and maintaining a habitat for deer and for the acquisition of lands for an effective program of deer habitat management.
Weird. I don't see that Michigan deer confine themselves to any one habitat that the taxpayer should pay to maintain. They certainly do enough damage when they roam around my yard eating everything they please. The DNR does not concern themselves with the damage deer cost me. Nor should they. When Michigan wants to raise the gas taxes to continue to fix the roads, the taxpayer should hardly be taxed millions so the DNR can acquire MORE land and hire more officers to enforce their agenda all under the guise of 'wildlife management'. I wonder what these new officers will mean for the future of small farmers in Michigan.
The following article has excellent detail explaining the Baker case while exposing what feral really means...psst...it doesn't mean diseased...which is exactly the impression the DNR wants to leave with city-slickers like me.
Bakers v. Michigan DNR: George Orwell Was Right
The last three years have been quite the education for me in my foray into politics. I have discovered that not all is as it seems. During a recent conversation with Mr. Bumstead's chief of staff, Adam Wright, he expressed frustration with the local tea party in that they are not always happy with Mr. Bumstead's performance. "He votes with you guys 95% of the time!"
Looking at Mr. Bumstead's voting record for 2011-2012, I respectfully disagree that his record is truly conservative. One grassroots scorecard shows a score of 'D' and provides a detailed explanation of the chosen votes. Would you accept a 'D' on your child's report card?
I think We, the People need to do a little digging to avoid a pig in a poke. Election time brings many promises to the naive voter, but legislation time brings even more heartache. When confronted with a question about his role in a complaint filed with the DEQ against a Newaygo business, Mr. Bumstead was quite convincing that if elected he would be about the business of 'reigning' in the DEQ. Well, considering his sponsored bill that raises hunting/fishing license fees and empowers the DNR, actions speak louder than words.
And really, when you speak with enough politicians, they all use the same verbiage when the public is concerned about a topic. When I think of it, Mr. Bumstead regurgitated the 'feral swine' talking points that others in Lansing were using over a year ago...which are the same talking points that Attorney General Bill Schuette is using...which are the same as the DNR...
It is as if the State of Michigan puts out their official talking points on a topic, and then it gets sent down the food chain without question...and who gets gobbled up at the last? We, the People.
So, if Mr. Bumstead is so conservative, then why has he not led the charge against the DNR and protected the rights of Baker's Green Acres?
Doesn't ANYONE think for themselves these days?
Surprisingly, the reporter in the above article shared a letter from a Tennessee legislator who IS concerned about bureaucratic overreach...one who acts like a statesman rather than a politician...exactly how I expect MY state rep to behave.
The reporter states: Even legislators in other states recognized the potentially disastrous consequences and entreated us to do something to stop the order and prevent an overreach by the DNR, as evidenced in this letter from Tennessee State Rep for the 17th District, Frank Niceley, to Kevin Daley, Chairman of the House Ag Committee, dated March 20, 2012. (See full letter in above article.)
A statesman will publicly speak out against government overreach while a politician will regurgitate his leadership's talking points without thought.
THIS is how we have gotten to this point. We, the People elect politicians who desire the perks and benefits provided by their position rather than Statesmen who stand up publicly to protect our Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness.
Naive no longer! Time to start doing our homework rather than believing what we are told or we will continue to get a pig in a poke.
pig in a poke
Original article with pictures and links:
A Pig in a Poke | 1 comment (1 topical, 0 hidden)
A Pig in a Poke | 1 comment (1 topical, 0 hidden)
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