Letters to the Editor – 12.20.2012

Remember why you love this place

Dear Editor,

When I moved to Montana three years ago for school, I wasn’t as amazed by the sizes of the mountains or the sky as I was stunned by the amount of open space in between towns. Upon arrival, I saw vast opportunities to really explore, and experience peace in wild places. The solitude is what made me fall in love with the northern Rockies.

That is why I support the Forestry Jobs and Recreation Act. It has been 24 years since Montana has had any designated wilderness areas. Montana needs new wilderness areas to protect the open spaces we all love so much, and jobs to stimulate our economy. That’s why the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act has proved so popular and why Montanans have been so persistent in pushing Congress to pass it. Sponsored by Sen. Tester, this bill bundles together many of the things that unite us – protection for special places and promotion of job sustaining forest restoration.

Getting this bill through a dysfunctional Congress has been a challenge. Thanks to Sens. Tester and Baucus for their persistence. Remember, when considering the FJRA, remember why you love this place so much.

Luke Maechler

MSU Wilderness Association Club President.



The Forest Jobs and Recreation Act is not just a wilderness bill

Dear Editor,

Over my long career with the Forest Service, including 19 years as the district ranger of the Madison Ranger District in Ennis, I’ve experienced firsthand the battles over timber, wilderness, and forest management. As the issues grew increasingly polarized, the active management of national forest lands ground to a halt. No one has gotten what they wanted while our forests, fish and wildlife have suffered.

Senator Tester’s Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, however, has given me cause for hope. This bill, built on the foundation of local folks finding common ground on issues that previously divided them, will give the Forest Service the tools and the public buy-in it needs to get moving again.

The bill is not just a “wilderness bill.” The bill proposes a new way of doing forestry to improve forest health and restore damaged watersheds. Enabling the Forest Service to take a larger watershed scale approach and increasing the collaboration that goes into designing these projects will reduce the amount of conflict that often leads to the courts when a final decision is made. The bill also provides direction to the courts if there is a challenge to the project based on introduction of new information, “…the additional analysis shall not interrupt the implementation of the activities that are not subject to the additional review…” This clause in the bill will help move projects forward further ensuring the stewardship and restoration objectives will be met.

Finally, the bill resolves long-standing conflicts over wilderness by protecting some of our most important backcountry habitats – places that grow those famous southwest Montana elk herds and provide the cold, clean water for our world-renown trout fisheries.

Putting aside long-standing differences to come up with solutions is hard work. Judging by the broad support for this bill (over 70 percent in two recent polls), Montanans like this collaborative approach and are tired of contentious public land debates. Now, it’s time for our representatives in Congress to reward this effort by passing the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act!

Mark Petroni

West Yellowstone


Become a fully informed juror

Dear Editor,

Is there a “movement in Madison County to nullify law?” Well, I’m not aware of any movement, but I did introduce legislation to inform all jurors of their right to nullify the use of a law, if necessary. A potential juror called concerned about a prosecutor’s questioning in this matter and a statement implying that a juror’s right to nullify the application of law to specific facts of the case is non-existent. This simply is not true.

The Legislature only attempts to make law for the “good of the whole,” (Article II, Sec. 1 of the Montana Constitution), but much like manufacturing a gun it is designed for good purposes only, not abuse. What is abuse? It is the application of law when its use in accordance with the facts does not serve justice. Only those who wish to exercise power and control over the legal process oppose a “fully informed juror.” Ignorance of rights, responsibility, and duty to protect from the abuse of law is a powerful tool to secure control over the legal process.

Much like a draft to military service, there are those that do not appreciate the awesome responsibility the juror holds.  Few would decline the privilege and honor that is bestowed upon them if they understood the blood sacrifice of their forefathers. Yes, true freedom and the cornerstone of liberty rests in the knowledge, the conscience, and the fortitude of a juror to just say “no” to the application of a law that does not serve justice. The power of the fully informed juror was designed to be more deadly than a musket aimed at the heart of tyrants. The duty to “do unto others” is no more evident and applied than in this exercise to protect our freedoms that many do their best to avoid. The State of New Jersey has taken the unprecedented step this past year to require that a jury be fully informed of their right to determine the law, as well as the facts in controversy. History affirms this position starting with our first Supreme Court Justice, John Jay, 1789, stating, “The jury has a right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.”

If there is a movement in Madison County, it is to educate in accordance with our Constitution and history of law. If you wish to educate yourself about your duty to be a fully informed juror, please contact me for a free booklet at   bobwagner4leg@yahoo.com; or PO Box 191, Harrison, MT 59735; or 287-5343.

Bob Wagner



My letter to Rep. John Boehner

Dear Editor,

If only the rich that pay for Republicans’ campaign were the only one to vote Republican, Republicans will always lose!

It was not Medicare, or Medicaid that has gotten us in this high debt; it was two unnecessary wars! It is corporation, Welfare! It Is out of control military spending!

Bush’s tax cut to the rich, have not created jobs, the rich only care about getting richer, just look at how many poor their have created since the rich got their big tax cuts. Anyone who has gotten rich because of the financial crisis, need to be taxed 80 percent, anyone who has gotten rich because of the two wars, need to be taxed 80 percent! All the vultures who have gotten so rich in the last 35 years, who have created our out of control poor, need to be taxed 80 percent!

It is our tax dollars that have created these vultures. America needs a new deal – now. You need to stop working for the rich and start working for the people or the Republican Party will only be talked about in history books!

Judith M. Wiancko


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