DEBATE OF '98- role of government and leaders

Don Baccus dhogaza at
Tue Apr 21 08:54:00 EST 1998

In article <1998042106430900.CAA01843 at>,
JimiFromMI <jimifrommi at> wrote:

>Forestry issues are too long term to be handled by the U.S. Gov't, whose
>members have traditionally cared only about the vote (short term).  It is not
>surprising that likewise, social security is also screwed up.

Study the numbers and you'll find that social security isn't nearly as screwed
up as some politicians want you to believe.

Private industry has a much worse track record managing lands for the long
term here in Oregon.  After all, most of the players wouldn't even replant
their plots until after we passed a replanting law in the early 1970s, which
the industry fought tooth-and-nail.

>Perhaps the best way to get something done is closer to grass roots up to
>various State Govts.

And why would state governments be more likely to manage well in the long-term
than the US Government?

Actually, the laws passed by the federal government - NEPA, the NFMA, and for
last-gasp help for specific species the ESA - provide a great framework for
long-term management.  And over the past two decades the USFS has been slowly
moving towards embracing the concepts underlying these laws.

Of course, the basic tenant of these laws is that our national forests don't
exist solely or even primarily for timber production, so of course forestry
has a limited role to play on these forests.  That's a good thing, though.

>I'd love to see an improvement in the system with regard
>to public reforendums.  I think it is the only way to take care of our
>important issues; most politicians are afraid to do whats right for the country
>in the long term.

If we had a national referendum on logging in national forests today, it appears
quite likely that the practice would end as polls have repeatedly shown broad-based
support for this notion (and not just polls taken by conservation groups).

Which astounds me, because as a conservationist I do NOT support the notion of a
zero cut on national forests.   

>Who knows?  Now that 40 years of dominance in congress by
>that one party has ended, maybe we'll  see real solutions offered for some of
>our major problems.

If your speaking of our National Forests, I presume you mean an end to NEPA, the NFMA,
and the ESA so that we can get back to maximizing the cut without regard to pesky
issues like the preservation of our biological heritage?

>With regard to public lands:  It would be cool to have 7 or 8 different land
>use management proposals on the ballot to choose from.  The goals could be
>relatively broad and easy to understand (and of course printed in Spanish). 
>You forestry experts can figure out the details.  Pick your favorite 3.

And why should forestry experts be the ones to pick management options on forests
where timber production is NOT the primary use?

>Lets take it a step further.  Eliminate most of our federal politicians and do
>everything by public reforendum!

Our Founding Fathers had a clearer grasp of the problems of governing a nation
than you do.

>We need to stop bashing morality as a "freedom FROM religion" issue
>and instead embrace it.

We're getting far afield from forestry, here.


- Don Baccus, Portland OR <dhogaza at>
  Nature photos, on-line guides, at

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