Friday, September 23, 2011

No Place for Ugly Rhetoric in Public Land Use Debate

The Recreation HQ could not let this week end without making a comment on some of the crowd’s “verbal ugliness” directed at the environmental representative (and to some extent at the Forest Service official) at the September 19, 2011 House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Land’s hearing held in Sacramento.

Nobody supports vigorous and spirited debate on public land access issues then I. However, at the hearing some in the audience crossed the line between civil public discourse and inappropriate name calling and heckling.

Over the years, I have sometimes been the only conservative land-use representative at meetings largely dominated by far left-wing eco-zealots. But at those meeting (and to my surprise), I was not rudely hit with over-the-top insults and slurs.

HQ understands the anger in the OHV community about how thousands of miles of historic access routes have been closed over the years by eco-lawsuits and government overregulation. In fact, these closures make my blood boil too.

However, OHV’s cause is not advanced in the public arena when it resorts to ugly and hostile rhetoric.

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