Frustration not valid reason for proposition
A measure on the November ballot about federal lands in Arizona seems to be at its heart more about sending a message rather than actually achieving a realistic goal.
Proposition 120 was placed on the ballot by the Arizona Legislature and asks voters to approve a change in the state's constitution to give Arizona authorities total control “over the air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within its border,” including lands owned and controlled by the federal government.
The problem, of course, is that even if voters decide they favor this idea, the possibility of it happening is essentially nil. It is a power no state has and it would require support from both the courts and the federal government for it to happen, something even some supporters say won't happen.
So why waste voters' time?
Backers of the proposition include farm and ranching interests who are frustrated with federal environmental restrictions and difficulty in getting permission to used federal land for grazing and other purposes. There are also concerns about restrictions on forests in the state that limit logging and prevent thinning of trees and brush, which some believe contribute to large forest fires.
The goal of the proposition is apparently to shed light on these grievances and send a message to Washington that the state cannot tolerate the government's management policies for public lands and its environmental restrictions.
Understandably, environmentalists and conservationists are adamantly opposed to Proposition 120 which they believe would open the door abuse of public lands, in the unlikely event it was to be allowed.
Certainly, there is room for debate over how federal lands are used and managed. But it is wrong to subject voters to measures on the ballot that are simply protests or a way to send a message.
It is time for voters to send a message of their own to those who follow this practice by voting no on Proposition 120.