Letters to the Editor

Posted: Friday, October 27, 2000

Initiatives undermine state's sustained use wildlife policy

The Peninsula Clarion editorial on Oct. 22 supporting a "no" vote on Proposition 1 follows the pattern of scare tactics so often used in today's political arena. The proponents of a "no" vote cry "Don't give up your right to vote."

The fallacy in this is that the right to affect wildlife policy is not jeopardized but the resource is. Every Alaskan has the opportunity under the Board of Game process to have a greater impact on wildlife management policy than can be derived from a single vote on an initiative.

The Board of Game process is the most democratic process available to individuals in all 50 states. However, it will be weakened by those that live by initiatives, should they prevail.

Special interest groups have learned to bypass the Board of Game process. Their use of clever "sound bites" appeal to emotion and when successful undermine the state's ability to carry out its constitutionally mandated sustained use policy. These initiatives have cost Alaskans hundreds of hours of time and great expenditures of money to protect a working system -- money and time that should have been applied to sound wildlife management.

Today, there are several populations of both moose and caribou that have been identified as being in a "predator pit" status. The only way to release them is to implement sound predator management. The Division of Wildlife Conservation has been unable to initiate predator management because of past initiatives and the reluctance of this administration to allow predator management in selected areas even when authorized by the Board of Game.

The framers of our Constitution in the 1950s had no way of knowing that animal rights and other special interest groups would use initiatives to circumvent the Board of Game process. None of these groups existed at that time. I'm sure that if they could have foreseen this, they would have placed wildlife management off limits to initiatives.

A "yes" vote on Proposition 1 would accomplish this and get us back on track.

Al Franzmann

Soldotna

Ban on wildlife initiatives at odds with democracy

Vote "no" on Proposition 1.

Our right to vote on wildlife issues within our state would be taken away if a "yes" vote passes. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is against Proposition 1, as are conservation groups around the state.

Democracy is on the line. Don't let the Legislature and Outside hunting interests tell us we aren't smart enough to have a say in managing our wildlife. Let's help protect our wildlife by allowing the full process including public involvement.

Vote "no" on Proposition 1.

Betty Dean

Sterling



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