Clean water, wildlife and parks – but dirty politics

Let me clarify a few things: First and foremost, I’m a mother. My four boys are my sun, moon and stars, even when they drive me crazy. On top of that, I’m a farmer, a rancher, an agriculture advocate, a student, a blogger, a paralegal, a softball player, a writer and someone who enjoys having a fun time. I am not an economist, a tax expert, a politician (yet), an accountant, a lawyer…none of those things.

boys on first day of school

I have four reasons for writing…and here they are.

So when I write, I write from the heart, I do my research and I write my opinion. It’s how I view the world, and the $18 per year that I spend on this site gives me the right to share those views as I see fit, within legal reason. If you want to point out what you see as flaws in my reasoning, I’m OK with that. But be careful what you wish for – because I like research. And I like information. And I like to share.

Recently one of my posts on Measure 5 apparently ruffled some feathers. I was told that my “pie analogy” was flawed. I actually find that funny, because one of the “Yes on 5” ads brings up the same analogy. Stating something along the lines that there’s still “enough to go around.”

He stated that this proposed constitutional amendment does not affect the general fund. I think he needs to double check that. Unless, of course, my research is all flawed. And it’s possible, since I’m not paid to do this professionally.

Check out the numbers yourself:

Oil Tax allocations for 2011-13 biennium

So that little issue should be answered. Yes, Measure 5 would seem to have an impact on the whole “pie” thing. But let’s say that wasn’t an issue. There’s still a lot of flaws here.

Let me check off my biggest concerns:

1) Mandated spending in our state constitution. How many times can I emphasize that this is a bad idea?

2) An extraordinary amount of money with no clear plan. It sets up a fund where money can be “granted” to projects that are approved by a board of people (only one is specifically a farmer).  $150 million per year. Almost $3 million per week. Yikes. I was told that it’s really not all that much money. I’m sorry, but as a mother of a child that has been diagnosed with a rare metabolic condition, I could only imagine what that type of money could do for research into a cure. Not that much money? I shudder to think of the type of world we’re heading towards, when you can scoff at that type of funding.

Yes, our family values the outdoors. But the type of funding tied to this constitutional amendment could change the world for a lot of kids in our state...including George's.

Yes, our family values the outdoors. But the type of funding tied to this constitutional amendment could change the world for a lot of kids in our state…including George’s.

3) I wonder if they forgot that our last legislative session passed a similar fund already. Oh, that’s right, though…they can’t buy land with that money.

4) We have some real needs in our state that this money can address. There are children with rare conditions that slip through the cracks. There is research that can be funded. There are advances that can be made.

I have no desire to get into a mudslinging fight. But I cannot put my children’s future at risk with this type of irresponsible mandate.

Do we really want to keep North Dakota’s traditions alive? Then let’s take care of the water, the air, the land the right way. Because it’s the right thing to do. That’s the North Dakota tradition.

My sunset tonight was just as beautiful as it was yesterday – and it will be beautiful tomorrow, too.

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Protecting ALL animals – Vote NO on Measure 5

North Dakota is an agricultural state. No matter what happens in the west with the oil boom, agriculture will still be here for generations to come…if we protect our heritage.

There is a measure that will show up on the November ballot that can put all of that at risk, and it’s up to us, the citizens of our great state, to stand up and let others know that we fully support and wish to protect our legacy.

What am I talking about? Measure 5 is a poorly worded, narrow-focused measure that has been crafted by an out-of-state animal-rights group that has a history of coming in with big guns, lots of money and slick ads, changing state laws and then pushing anti-farming, anti-hunting and pro-vegan agendas. All while making you feel warm and fuzzy that you’re helping little kitties and doggies.

Do you know how much of the Humane Society of the United States’ budget goes to truly help hands-on pet shelters? Less than 1 percent of the multi-millions that are in their budget. The rest is spent on pensions, lobbying and suing others to make them follow their guidelines.

We cannot let a group such as this in the door.

Let’s take a closer look at the measure, not just the people behind it.

To start with, the measure only addresses horses, cats and dogs. Why would that be? Well, it seems pretty plain to me that they’re aiming at easy targets for an emotional argument. It’s a great marketing ploy. If you were to set my dog on fire, you better believe that I want you to see jail time. In fact, jail is probably the safest place for you, because if I have an opportunity to inflict harm on you, well, I may face a little jail time myself.

Hurt one of these little guys maliciously, and you better hope you’re in jail, where I can’t get a hold of you. Yet, she’s not included in the measure.

But the same is true for my cows. And they wouldn’t be protected under the measure.

Another problem I have with the measure is the scope of “crimes” that it addresses. Here it is directly from the measure: “Any individual who maliciously and intentionally burns, poisons, crushes, suffocates, impales, drowns, blinds, skins, beats to death, drags to death, exsanguinates, disembowels, or dismembers any living dog, cat, or horse is guilty of a class C felony.”

I agree that all of those things are cruel, malicious and worthy of jail time (or worse), yet those things rarely happen in our state. In fact, when you search for crimes like these in reports, you have a hard time finding any at all.

Yet, the most common types of cruelty are not addressed. Things such as starvation and animal hoarding, which cause much more distress and harm to the animals, aren’t even mentioned. Why? Perhaps because a law such as this would seem to be a no-brainer, but once we let HSUS in the door, we’re open to litigation, interpretation by the courts and forced to defend those things that should be seen as protected rights.

I’m not asking people to just vote “No” and call it a day. There is a group of people that have worked hard to come up with an alternative that could be passed legislatively, making it easier to adjust as concerns come up and easier to amend when times change.

Let’s send the message that we don’t need out-of-state interests coming in to our state and telling us what to do and how to treat our animals. The scare tactics they use to push these measures is almost laughable, if it weren’t happening right here.

Defeating this measure is not going to be easy. When their advertising revolves around cute cats and puppies and ignores the issues surrounding the measure, it’s pretty plain to see what we’re up against.

We love our cats…and our dogs…and our cows. But Measure 5 is not the right answer, for any of them! Vote NO!

I love my dogs, I love our cats…but I also love our cows. Voting “No” is not a vote against our pets, it’s a vote for common sense and a vote for the future of agriculture.

Do you have questions? Would like more information on the history of HSUS and their involvement in other states? Stay tuned. I’ll answer anything you care to ask (or find the answers if I don‘t know), and I’ll be showing you the track record this group has in other states.

But I’ll warn you, it’s not pretty.