Seeking to find truth in the no man's land between "yes" and "no" on Proposition 1 is difficult but it's there. One undeniable truth is that neither voters nor politicians should be dictating wildlife policy.
The snaring ban initiative of 1998 was an attempt by outside animal rights groups to dictate wildlife policy. It cost Alaskans big bucks to defeat this brainless, unreal proposal. Because of the snaring initiative, it is hard to fault the Alaska Federation of Natives for coming down on the "yes" side of Proposition 1. The snaring ban would have victimized all trappers, but especially the villagers whose very lifestyle is subsistence hunting and trapping. The snaring initiative was magnum abuse of the initiative process.
This valid question must be asked of Ben Hopson (head man on the "yes" side) and Rep. Carl Morgan (sponsor of Proposition 1): Did you consider any alternative to stop the initiative threat short of a constitutional amendment?
Asking the people to give up a constitutional right because of a flawed initiative process is tantamount to asking them to "throw out the baby with the bath water." The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (Oct. 20) came up with a way to save the baby and just throw out the bath water. The editors suggested four reform measures to the initiative process that, if in place in 1998, would never have allowed the snaring ban to see the light of day and would have made Proposition 1 unjustifiable. The most important reform: an absolute ban on Outside contributions. A reprint of the News-Miner editorial is in the Oct. 25 Peninsula Clarion. If you are a "yes" on Proposition 1 person please check out these four reform measures before voting.
The president of the Alaska Outdoor Council in a letter to the Clarion (Oct. 26) made this statement: "Ballot measure (sic) 1 and 6 is (sic) not about the AOC nor the animal rights groups. It's about Alaska's wildlife and how Alaskans want to manage that wildlife for generations to come." This statement is a red herring of the purest ray serene. Proposition 1 is about politicians collaborating with the AOC and using a flawed initiative process to lever the people into forever giving up the only tool they have to enact law against bad wildlife policy. Proposition 1 is about powerful Republican legislators seeking yet more power. A prominent attorney for the Republican party, Ken Jacobus, made this unguarded statement in the Anchorage Daily News: "I think there is an effort by some in the Legislature to take power away from the people." Wonder if he still has a job?
Alaskans, don't give up your right to stop politicians and a single-interest minority (about 5 percent of the electorate) group from dictating wildlife policy.
On Nov. 7, please vote "no" on Proposition 1, and then we all must demand the reform measures that will keep the initiative the democratic process it was meant to be.
George R. Pollard
Lifelong Alaskan, retired master guide and chairman of one of the first
advisory committees to the Board of Game in the new state
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