On November Second, we Iowans have a choice not only for the candidates for office, but there are several other issues we voters need to decide upon.
We can decide if we want our lifetime-appointed judges should be retained to sit on the bench - I always vote to recall out of principle that judges should be termed and not there until they retire or whither away.
We also have a rare amendment to vote on: Iowa Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund Amendment, also known as Measure 1.
If passed by a simple majority, when the legislature approves a sales tax increase, 3/8ths of a cent will have to go into a trust fund to be used around the state for conservation efforts... or recreation... or tourism... or...
Considering that fees used for hunting and fishing in the state was supposed to be used for conservation, additional funds could go even further.
Has there ever been a state run trust fund that wasn't used as a slush fund for political cronies? If not, please name it.
Will this money be siphoned away (see the Social Security "lock box" - it's empty) for pet projects or the general fund? Other funds were raided during the Vilsack tenure and I'm sure both Branstad or Culver would do the same.
In-state groups like Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited, as private groups, have purchased land for conservation efforts without the state interfering. Why mess that private effort up with a layer of bureaucrats?
My concern is that the natural progression of a bureaucracy would end up forcing private landholders into what they can and cannot do on their own land. Build a pond, or terrace? Not without permits and permission by a Des Moines clerk. They could go the opposite and order the landholder to build a watershed at his/her own expense. Why not? They will have the power of the state to back them up.
The short-term advantages of rebuilding habitat (that may eventually be off limits to hunters) could have the longer-term consequences of another arm of the DNR (aka Damn Near Russia) regulating land to the point that a farmer would not turn a profit, deny access to one's land, or deny repair of a levy to return farmground to a more natural state. This happened in Louisa county after the floods of 93 and 08.
Many have visions of abundant game and expanding hunting seasons, cleaner water and large catches of fish.
I have a vision of some bureaucrat sitting on their hind-end who has never raised a shotgun to bring down a bird, setting rules how my land (if I had any) or my neighbors' land should be used for conservation purposes.
Not that hunting should be a prerequisite for this trust. I'm sure all that book lernin' up at that state U makes up for that.
But those of us who are the closest to the land, who have toiled to make a profit or walked it in search of game, are some of the best stewards we have here.
I don't think we need another state agency telling us what to do.