Not Forever Wild Update #2a
September 6, 2012
People frequently ask “Is Alabama Forever Wild part of Agenda 21?” To be honest I have not seen anything in print connecting the two. However, as a good friend frequently points out – both were presented to the world in 1992 and their purpose is similar: Restrict human access to massive land tracts and corridors so wildlife can migrate and breed in a natural habitat, void of structures, farm land, and other human activity. Therefore, Agenda 21 and Alabama’s Forever Wild along with the Wildland’s project are sitting at the same table and enjoying the same meal.
It is becoming increasingly apparent the reach of Alabamians for Forever Wild PAC is extensive and persuasive. Money filtered to media outlets is influencing their services to the community by directly and indirectly silencing those of us with common and fiscal sense. Instead of priding themselves of an educated audience their revenue stream is doing the talking.
The celebs and the media hosts supporting Forever Wild for another 20 years are invited to visit www.NotForeverWild.org for the truth to the other side of the issue where money is not the influential element.
As a grass-roots effort by fiscally concerned Alabamians we must overcome their huge PAC financed initiative with a concentrated effort to instill fiscal sanity into our financially broke state. We can not afford to do otherwise.
It is also evident that few folks, as you and I, have signed on to support another 20 years of Forever Wild with our wallets. The PAC continues to court big donors; their smallest July donation was $5,000, no $50 or $200 donation. The PAC has dished out $115,000 for “consultation/polling” to convince us of the importance of this raid on our savings account.
Compliments of those big donors, billboards are popping up about the state to convince the less informed the “value” of more governmental land at the expense of privately owned land.
Forever Wild writes in their The Forever Wild Land Trust: An interim report to the citizens of Alabama – 1992 through 2009 while referring to value of public lands “These same asset values improve Alabama’s Bond ratings, and once again contribute to the state’s healthy economy. If these same public funds were spent on conservation initiatives for private land, what would Alabama have to show for it?” What balance sheet are these folks reading with respect to a “state’s healthy economy?” In summary, a governmental agency allocating OUR money to other governmental agencies is best for the state’s “bond ratings”, while ignoring seniors, students, and rural community services.
I recently spoke with a young man who said he enjoyed hunting. I asked him if he had hunted on a Forever Wild tract to which he asked “What is Forever Wild? Where is Forever Wild?” Not only had he not hunted on these treasured pieces of property this was the first he heard of Forever Wild! This is not an uncommon response.
See for yourself and ask folks standing in line at the store, movie theater, friends, and family if they have heard of Forever Wild. If the program is so great and doing such wonderful things why the secret for 20 years?
In its closing pages of its final chapter, why come out of the forest now to tell us how great Forever Wild has been? Answer: Living below the radar is no longer possible certainly with their financial umbilical cord threatened!
Recently a state representative addressing the Patriots of Liberty TEA Party confirmed not all state parks are not being maintained, repaired following storm damage, and some are actually closing because of inadequate state revenue.
Therefore, in a clear conscious how can any one knowing of closed state parks and state departments being cut upwards to 20% vote for another $300 million for hunting land when citizens are in need.
A fellow patriot and friend likes to point out the state should be shedding itself of property in this economic crisis not buying more.
This table shows the custodians of the more than 1.6 million acres of state land in public holding. Are we fiscally sound citizens missing something here?
|State Parks x 22Forever Wild tracts x 91||1,200,000|
|National Parks x 7||20,413|
|National Forests x 4||403,992|
|County Parks x countless||
Throughout the state
|Municipal Parks x countless||
Throughout the state
|Total rural public land in Alabama||1,624,405 +|
The Alabama Trust Fund, the revenue source for the capped $15 million/year for another 20 years supporting Alabama’s Forever Wild, is the same fund targeted for the raid of $145 million per year for three years just days away on September 18. No provisions for any repayment for the 18th or 6Nov ballots. Just the mindsets, unlike us managing our household finances, continue to spend and they’ll simply increase fees as needed to provide more revenue to feed the beast. Increasing taxes is political suicide but fees are fair game (no pun there for you hunters).
Further compromising the September 18th and Forever Wild raids is the steady decline of royalties from the gas companies and our uncertain unemployment picture.
From a $373.1 million of royalty payments in 2006 we have experienced a steady and rapid decline which is predicted falling to just $71.9 million in 2016. The estimated amount of royalties in 2012 is a mere $72.3 million. An obligation of funding the current hits upon the Alabama Trust Fund AND the possible $145 million for 3 years AND $15 million for 20 years would be a challenge even for Bernie Madoff.
Every county in Alabama experienced an increase in unemployment the last four months to a present state average of 8.3% for July. Current financial activities extending into our uncertain economic future must not include more debt and unwise use of our limited capital.
Yet, Alabama continues to borrow beyond our means including the little known $99 million to cover our unemployment obligations costing us a $1 million in interest, as recently reported by US Today. Governor Bentley used his authority as governor and borrowed between $250 and $300 million against future pledged federal money for road and bridge repair.
Our public servants must LEARN and UNDERSTAND the necessity to live within our means and stop borrowing and spending.
Please share this with your friends and family living in the great State of Alabama. Letters to the editor will reach your neighbors and friends. Thank you for visiting www.NotForeverWild.org. Demand of our public servants to realize we no longer live in the economy of 1992 but one with a uncertain economic future.
Talk to folks, ask them about Forever Wild, and direct them to our web site www.NotForeverWild.org. If you have a group of neighbors and friends interested in learning the other side of Forever Wild please contact me. Full disclosure, I consider myself to be a borderline environmentalist: I avoid wildlife on the roads, have stopped to help turtles across the pavement, and find the beauty in Mother Nature. My concern is strictly fiscal. Our citizens and governments are in a financial hole, dug not by us but our Legislature and Governor. It is incumbent upon our elected servants to correct the problem rather than making it worse.
It is interesting to note and I’ll then bring this to a close, the State Constitution Amendment 543, section 13 states “Beginning with the state’s 2012-2013 fiscal year and each succeeding fiscal year, all moneys to be paid into the Forever Wild Land Trust shall be paid to the Alabama Trust Fund in the event the Legislature has not provided for the continuation of payments into the Forever Wild Land Trust Fund …” While the measure was dying and on life support in the 2011 Legislative session Senator Brewbaker provided the resuscitation by not dealing with the issue themselves and kicking the decision to the voters; the same manner used for the 18Sep ballot issue.
I am able to suggest a few economists with a clear understanding of economics to write a balanced budget if the Legislature is unable to do so.
Some folks have gone way out of the way to protect Forever Wild – follow the money?
If you live in Alabama please go to our “you can help” page, download and print brochures specific to your county as handouts. During the month of July a couple of counties had over 16% unemployment, which is nothing to brag about. Using our limited resources for more government land will not contribute to the cure of high unemployment.
Vote “NO” on the single September 18 ballot issue and reject all amendments on the November 6 ballot wishing for more spending or financial obligations.