Michigan in a World of Hurt - What's Tabor Doing?
Published November 16, 2003.
By Preston Odette. Lansing Community Newspapers.
We face a nearly $1 billion budget shortfall. Over roughly the last three years, we have lost some 170,000 or more manufacturing jobs. Unemployment in the state stands at 7.4 percent and in the Greater Lansing area at 4.5 percent as of Sept. 30.
"But," you say, "we already know that. For goodness sake, give us some good news." To which I respond, "I would if I could, and I begin here because of where I am going in this column."
Thomas Jefferson, one of our founding fathers, author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States, remarked one time that when it came to choosing political leaders and representatives the people make no mistakes. I would suggest that Mr. Jefferson never met our state representative, Sue Tabor.
Sue has introduced legislation that would make mourning doves a game bird in this state. Thirty-nine other states allow the hunting of mourning doves, she argues, so why not Michigan?
My issue is not whether mourning doves be game birds. My issue is: What are MIchigan's priorities? If, as I said in my opening paragraph, we fact a nearly $1 billion budget problem and if we have lost something more than 170,000 manufacturing jobs, and if unemployment is rising in Michigan and in our area, I ask you, what are - or ought to be - Michigan's priorities?
Recently, we've carried a lot of letters to the editor about mourning doves, Sue Tabor, and the reception constituents - you and I, call them customers - have received them from Sue's staff. We have had people stop at the office and tell us about that as well as write us. We don't think we can print some of the comments we've been told in the office visits because we are a family newspaper. But, brothers and sisters, you need to know this: You talk about hot!
Therefore, I would also ask: For whom does Sue work? A citizen from a town not within Sue's district called her office and was rudely treated. A man from within Sue's district called her office to register his thoughts about matters. He was not only rudely treated, someone hung up on him. Have Sue and her staff forgotten for whom she works? Has she and her staff forgotten that she works not just for the people from her district but all the people of Michigan?
I am not a hunter and have no desire to hunt. I love to fish. I would rather fish than golf. But I do love fowl. Pheasant with a blackberry sauce is a delicacy that is difficult, if not impossible to beat. I have no problem with private ownership of firearms. I must admit that I don't think the average John and Mary Jane Does - they are you and I - need AK 47s or other assault weapons. But have at shotguns, rifles, revolvers and pistols. Hunting is great activity and shooting is terrific sport. I encourage them.
I do, however, have a huge problem with elected officials who cannot define priorities and with people who do not understand who is his or her customer. I have a real problem with people who think hunting mourning doves is more important than solving our nearly $1 billion budget crisis, and crisis it is.
Finally, I have a problem with people who believe that hunting mourning doves is more important than education and job preservation and creation.
You may recall that a little more than a year ago I was one of the authors of a column in which we argued that term limits was a terrible idea for this state. Sue Tabor come very close to proving me wrong.
When we conducted our endorsement interviews in the last election - unfortunately, we had little effect in that one - we asked Sue many questions. When it came to the questions of how Michigan was going to deal with projected substantial revenue shortfalls, Sue knew where we had to cut. The standard answers is always "cut, cut, cut." She could not give us a single solitary idea, but by golly, she knew where to cut. She also knew that she could introduce and have passed legislation regarding mobile home parks. We still wait for that and I suggest it isn't coming. To make a long and boring interview short, we did not endorse Sue.
The bottom line is this:
Sue Tabor has got to go. Thank God for term limits here as she is filling out the remainder of her term. Is she bucking to be a lobbyist for the NRA or some other group? I certainly hope not, for she does not understand what is important and whatever group she represents is going to be in for a tough sledding.
The most recent budget problems threatens education. My granddaughters' and coming grandchild's education is at stake. My son-in-laws job is at stake. I ask you, Sue, what is more important: My grandkids' education and my son-in-law's job or hunting mourning doves?
Come on, Sue, please do something about this and quit wasting the legislature's time and taxpayers' money on issues a whole lot less important.
- Songbird Protection Coalition