Another Heritage Program, this one in Kansas, equals more of the Wildlands Project

TRACKSIDE (C) by John D'Aloia Jr.

March 30, 2004

I really could not believe it, but there it was in black and white in a Topeka Capital-Journal article. Our Republican representatives in Washington were introducing legislation to create a Heritage Area in northeast Kansas, were introducing legislation that is nothing more than a further attack on our freedom. I was appalled, but maybe not surprised, for the effort does make good headlines and press in an election year.

No matter the warm and fuzzy words, or the apparent noble purpose, the Heritage Program designation results in creating a defacto regional government. It is an entity that is not directly accountable to citizens at the ballot box, an entity populated by The Clerks and providing narrow interest groups, especially environmentalists, a venue for imposing their agendas without having it passed through the crucible of public debate in existing units of government and having those making the decisions subject to ballot box recall. In the process, all levels of local government, from the town to the state, lose their sovereignty and citizens lose their freedom. Ask the citizens living around Lake Tahoe or in the Columbia River Gorge or subject to the California Coastal Commission. They cannot take their grievances to their local governments - they are forced to deal with compact-created commissions comprised of un-elected officials who have the ultimate say in how land may be used.

Existing Heritage Program descriptions are filled with double-speak, words describing programs that appeal to emotion but are in fact describing steps that lead to federal control over land use. The programs are, in effect, implementing federal zoning. James Burling, Pacific Legal Foundation attorney, after analyzing the National Heritage Act, the enabling legislation for individual Heritage Areas, had this to say: "Of all the legislation that I have ever read this takes the prize for the most concentrated collection of socio-economic gobbledygook in a single page." He had no doubt that the creative reader could use the words to make a case for the designation of any area of the country - in other words, the feds could make the entire country a Heritage Area and thus further consolidate their control over society. (It would not surprise me at all to find that native animals are given exalted status in Heritage Areas, and, lo and behold, Heritage Areas are thereby morphed into Wildlands.)

We do not need, we do not want further federal funding or meddling in Kansas. If Kansans want such a program, let Kansans do it without begging at the federal trough or having federal task masters. There is no free lunch - the program comes at the expense of federal tax dollars, federal strings, and individual liberty. We especially do not need the National Park Service, the principal federal agency involved in Heritage Areas, to be looking over our shoulder and controlling the implementation of the management plan that has to be created, a management plan that covers all activity in the designated area that might impact the areaís "theme." The National Park Service is an agency that has gained a national reputation for obtaining citizensí "voluntary" cooperation by using all the power of the federal government to harass citizens until they break, until they have no choice but to cave in to Leviathanís desires. Ask the Pilgrim Family.

It is Utopian to believe that your elected representative will be in synchronization with your views 100 percent of the time. That is why understanding the elected representativeís principles are so important come time to mark a ballot. I thought that I understood the principles that guided our representatives and that I could trust them to make the correct decisions in key matters. In this case, they have gone counter to what I understood their core principles to be. Their decision to sponsor the bill creating the Bleeding Kansas Heritage Area raises hurricane warnings, raises serious questions as to their understanding of our Founding Principles and their commitment and resolve to honor and uphold the Constitution.

Existing Heritage Area legislation allows counties to opt-out of any such designation - and this is exactly what our county commissioners should do if the Bleeding Kansas Heritage Area becomes law.

Freedom is the heritage that must be enshrined - a condition of being that does not need mandates from on high, quasi-government agencies, or federal carrots to achieve.

See you Trackside.



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