Recently I praised the Lands and Forestry Advisory Committee for recommending a policy that said Crow Wing County tax-forfeited land would be closed to OHVs unless posted open the same as every other state in this region. Evidently I was premature in my praise because on May 31 our Land Commissioner Tom Cowell asked the committee to reverse their wise decision and turn the land back into a free-for-all. It passed unanimously without much debate.
This was not too surprising when you look at the meeting attendance sheet. Listed are the snowmobile lobbyist and the lobbyist for the same recreational group that has been having fun by driving 4x4 trucks through wetlands and lakes in the northern part of our county. The OHV advocate from the DNR was even there.
One of the reasons Mr. Cowell gave for recommending a reversal is that it would be inconsistent to give county land more protection than state land since it very hard to know when you cross from one jurisdiction to another. Ironically the DNR gave the absence of county OHV regulations as one excuse to leave state unprotected when it chose to ignore rule 6100.0200.
It seems the betrayal of public trust being committed by the MN DNR has spread to our county land. I think it's time to change some faces at 1601 Minnesota Drive.
I have a lot of faith in some of the members of our Lands and Forestry Committee and I'm sure they can come up with a sensible OHV policy that will protect our public lands and minimize OHV impacts. A policy that remembers those of us who have used the public land for decades and left no trace and protects it from those who would leave it damaged and rutted.
Remember, America is free because men were willing to die.
Party of abortion
Members of the Democratic Party like to think of their party as the party of inclusion: the party that welcomes all people regardless of race, gender or ideology. In support of this perspective, the party's "affirmative-action" statement gets top billing at all DFL election-related functions. However, a large number of Minnesota Democrats -- pro-life Democrats -- has learned that this statement of "non-discrimination" is in reality little more than window-dressing.
For years, DFL Party leadership has strayed from the mainstream of Minnesota, cozying up to the party's liberal fringe and its radical abortion industry supporters, effectively driving out anyone who disagrees with their extreme agenda, including pro-lifers. Such a strategy may please a minority of party activists, but it shuts out a sizable portion of the voting public. But perhaps this is what leadership wants. This same group bucked tradition and scheduled precinct caucuses on a Saturday and Sunday, plunging grassroots participation to a new low. They also forced delegates representing Minnesota to the Democratic National Convention to sign a paper pledging allegiance to pro-abortion Presidential candidate Al Gore. So much for democracy!
The DFL sends a clear message: "If you are pro-life, there is no place for you at the table." Look around. How many of your pro-life friends and family members -- once Democrats -- have abandoned the party because the party has abandoned them? The extremist, abortion-on-demand positions of the party's endorsed candidates turn good Democrats into former Democrats.
The DFL has become the party of abortion, and its "affirmative action reminder," stating "the DFL encourages those who are under-represented to participate in DFL Party activities," is a lie. Unless the party moderates its hard-line pro-abortion stance and nominates and endorses some pro-life candidates, it will have a difficult time halting the election-day exodus.
Chairman of the DFL Pro-life Caucus
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