"I'm tired of hearing right- wingers who want to commercialize everything in their sights."

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Today's L.A. Times letters to the editor, Part 2, because our voices matter:

This land is our land

Re "Free the American West," Opinion, March 7

Robert Nelson betrays his allegiances with his punctuation: "public" land, "progressive" era — he treats them derisively, barely cloaking his contempt that these are indeed public birthrights of all Americans saved only by the foresight and constant vigilance of the American people and progressive leaders like Teddy Roosevelt.

According to Nelson, some of our land has great commercial value while, apparently, a smaller sub-set has "national importance." An even smaller sliver is "environmentally special."

Nelson tells us that timber-rich forests are primarily useful for commercial uses. Not a peep about the importance of a healthy watershed or the benefits of carbon sequestration, biodiversity and vibrant tourism.

Obviously he is a shill for oil, gas, lumber and mining interests that already get ridiculously cheap access and use of public land and extraction of the wealth within it. I hope he enjoys his public pension well East of the Mississippi.

Lee Myles

Pasadena

***

The ideas outlined by Nelson would not "free" the American West. They would, in fact, have the opposite effect, locking up millions of acres that are currently publicly accessible.

The reason we are allowed to hunt, fish, hike, etc. on these lands is because they are federal land; federal land is public land (except for military and Indian reservations).

Does the author really think that counties or states have the money to manage these lands? Of course not. They would be sold to private interests, which would mean subdivisions, mining, drilling and logging on these lands, along with high fences and signs reading "Private Property, Keep Out! "

As America's population grows, we need more public land, not less.

Pete Aniello

Redlands

***

Enough with the greed! I'm tired of hearing right- wingers who want to commercialize everything in their sights. If left unchecked, they would turn this great country into an urban jungle. Leave us our American West, please.

Steve Joyce

Calabasas

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  • http://thepoliticalcarnival.net/ GottaLaff

    Yeah, sorry about that. I figure we have brains, why not use 'em?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fred-Wilder/100002131866339 Fred Wilder

    Laffy, why are you always trying to get your readers to think....Here east of the Mississippi our local governments are spending millions of dollars to buy privately owned land that is environmentally, agriculturally or socially valuable.  Although one of the things that has always confused me about Americans is how we continually do not learn for our past mistakes.  Gifford Pinchot was at least able to begin the reforestation of America east of the Mississippi, perhaps some of those anti-government  zealots of the American West will open their eyes a wee bit and take a look at what the extraction industries consider good stewardship of the land.  Publicly owned lands do not exist for the rich to get richer, these lands exist so that future generations of Americans (human and non human) won't have to constantly reforest, restore and rehabilitate its sacred places in the name of profit.

  • mellowjohn

    my favorite staza from "this land is your land":

    "As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there
    And that sign said - no tress passin'
    But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!
    Now that side was made for you and me!"