I get quite a bit of information and political agitprop across my desk.
Pictures Speak a 1000 words
The charts on gas prices and homicide rates are courtesy of the estimable Professor Steven Hayward from powerlineblog.com. Dr. Hayward is a polymath social scientist, currently teaching in the heart of the leftist beast at the University of California Berkeley. Fifteen years ago, I brought him up to Machias under a Libra grant series entitled “Searching for Sustainability.” We had noted environmental policy scholars from both the left and the right, including Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore, Hunter Lovins, David Victor and Alston Chase. Unfortunately, such intellectually and ideologically diverse approaches to environmental policy are not pursued at other institutions (College of the Atlantic, Bowdoin, Bates, Colby and the University of Maine come to mind) or the legislature and State agencies for that matter.
Gas Prices: Electing Democrats has consequences. $3/gallon before the ice goes out on Cathance Lake, and $4 before Cassius Kamala moves into the Oval Office.
Homicide Rates: Black Lives Matter, Antifa, Defunding the Police and Critical Race Theory in our schools, institutions, businesses and the military all have consequences. A Graph of gun purchases and background checks has the same precipitous upward slope, for the same reasons plus also electing Democrats has consequences.
The State Coughs up Public lands Info
The legislature’s Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF) committee held a public hearing on LD 324, An Act to Limit Public Land Ownership in Maine. I testified that the vast majority of public land and acquisitions over the last 20 years was in the second Congressional District (specifically Piscataquis, Washington, Hancock, Penobscot, Somerset, Oxford, Franklin and Aroostook counties) where the need was lowest, while the southern Maine counties of York, Cumberland, Lincoln, Kennebec, Androscoggin and Waldo were below the state median in public ownership and had the greatest need, I reminded the committee that Maine had set a 10% goal for (state) public ownership in the 90’s and had likely met it, but no official accounting had been done to my knowledge. Finally, ACF bureaucrats informed the committee that one of the primary recommendations of Gov. Mills’ Climate Council was to increase public ownership to 30% of the State by 2030.
The ACF committee asked the ACF Department to provide updated information for the March 16th work session, and that chart is reproduced here. It should make the leaders of the three most economically challenged (as in poorest) counties in Maine – Piscataquis, Washington and Somerset- extremely worried. Those counties already have lost almost 30% of their tax base and development opportunities to the green Goddess Gaia (that is twice the overall state average of just under 15 %.) If the State successfully increases public ownership to 30% and the current political power and acquisition pattern continues, we can expect 2/3 of those rural Maine counties to be cordoned off in less than a decade. National Park on the installment plan and serfdom for the ignorant peasants who voted for Trump anyone?
The numbers for Southern Maine counties put the lie to the claims that the Land for Maine Futures Program and public lands acquisitions are “state wide” programs. Token purchases and expenditures in Southern Maine while the lion’s share of acquisitions and the majority of expenditures are in the Second District (and significantly NOT in the one second district County most in need of public land, Androscoggin) tells a tale of special interest and bureaucratic collusion to damage rural Maine’s economy and prospects while pretending it’s for the greater public good. When 30% of York and Cumberland County is removed from the tax rolls and put off limits to development, I will believe it.
The ACF committee made no comment on the distribution of public lands in Maine and voted 9-1 with 3 absences “Ought Not To Pass”, creating the likelihood that the whole unfortunate bill and chart will be swept under the table without a roll call vote. Meanwhile, the 30% public lands goal to avert the climate apocalypse (it will not) will become state policy without a legislative vote or an examination of our land acquisition policies. Electing Democrats has consequences.
Jon Reisman is an associate professor of economics and public policy at the University of Maine at Machias. His views are his own. Mr. Reisman welcomes comments as letters to the editor here, or to him directly via email at email@example.com.