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Mail and Commentary Oct. 17, 2012

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No Constitutional Hunting

Idahoans love and respect their rights: free speech, gun ownership, and private property, for example. Idahoans don't like politicians messing with their rights. Politicians often have axes to grind, catering to special interest groups who have given them campaign money.

Current politicians in Idaho have proposed a new Idaho constitutional amendment. It would take away the right that Idahoans currently have: The right to pass a citizens' initiative, if needed, when politicians have failed to act.

This proposed amendment, called HJR2, is a power grab by politicians in the Statehouse. It takes away the rights of Idahoans to initiative and referendum, with regard to hunting, fishing and trapping.

Idaho has a long-standing reputation of promoting ethical hunting and fishing. Our Idaho Fish and Game biologists do a very good job protecting our rights, and our wildlife.

Don't let the politicians in Boise take away your rights.

Vote "no" on HJR2 on [Tuesday,] Nov. 6.

--David Richmond,Clayton

Keep Public Land Public

All is not well with our precious public lands in north Idaho. There is an ominous mega-issue looming on the Clearwater-Nez Perce National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service inexplicably proposes a horrible land trade in which 39,000 acres of cut-over and already industrialized private checkerboard parcels in the upper Lochsa would be acquired by USFS for equal acreage privatized in scattered national forest parcels in several North Idaho counties. Your public parcels to be bartered are prime timbered lands with immense wildlife, watershed and recreation values. To liquidate them is unacceptable.

Please see the excellent eye-opening articles at stoptheswap.net.

Thousands of angry citizens are protesting this proposed land heist, as are Friends of the Clearwater and Friends of the Palouse Ranger District. Ten or more knowledgeable retired federal foresters are gravely concerned. You can help by writing to Regional Forester Faye Krueger (fkrueger@fs.fed.us) in Missoula, Mont., and USFS Chief Tom Tidwell (ttidwell@fs.fed.us), saying "no way." Stress that only the no-action alternative in the environmental impact statement is acceptable.

Economist Clarence Chapman wrote a telling research piece showing that Western Pacific Timber stands to garner $150 million, gaining 126 million board feet of harvestable timber. The irreplaceable public parcels would disappear. Gone. Privatized.

It gets worse. WPT has hired the notorious disgraced ex-Idaho Sen. Larry Craig and timber lobbyist Mark Rey to grease political skids. This is appalling. Looming behind WPT is the shady Tim Blixseth. Google him up for a shock. Contact your Idaho senators and insist they oppose this fatally flawed exchange.

Please speak out. Demand accountability and no exchange (giveaway) from the USFS. Yes to public lands remaining in public hands and a resounding no to WPT and Blixseth, the USFS, insidious public land privatization schemes and the subterfuge of Craig and Rey. So much is at stake.

--Scott H. Phillips,Hailey

Lose the Mansion

It's an eyesore, it's an embarrassing use of water, fertilizer and maintenance, it serves no purpose historically, politically or community pride wise. It sticks out like a diamond in a goat's rear end to remind us of two things: that a wealthy man believed he could afford to make grass grow vertically on a south-facing slope in Southern Idaho if he had enough Simplot chemical fertilizer, and that his ex-son-in-law doesn't want to have anything to do with it.

Pretty weak soup for a community that is struggling to make ends meet and pay our taxes, which go to maintain this white elephant.

Come on, retain all the property below the structure as a public park and sledding hill, LOL, and terrace most of it so it isn't such a maintenance problem and let the public use it for whatever, and sell the tacky "mansion" at the top to some overachiever who believes in her heart that she deserves to live in such a preposterous Elvis-style edifice.

We will all sleep better when that giant flag isn't snapping in the breeze 24/7. Sad.

--Jim Spicka,

Boise

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