Ethan Strimling grossly misrepresented the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine’s role in the legislative process in the Aug. 3 Agree to Disagree column (“Maybe the truth doesn’t lie in the bear facts”).
He wrote: “The offer to simply get rid of hounding and traps was made to the Legislature, and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine convinced them to say no. (SAM was) completely unwilling to compromise, which is why we are here today.”
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Humane Society of the United States did not offer to compromise with our organization – it gave us an ultimatum bordering on extortion. In early May 2013, five HSUS lobbyists invited Don Kleiner, executive director of the Professional Guides Association, and me to a meeting at the State House.
The HSUS representative from Washington stated: “. . . if SAM will support L.D. 1474 (legislation to ban hounding and trapping), HSUS will not submit a referendum to ban trapping, baiting and hounding. If SAM doesn’t support L.D. 1474, HSUS will add baiting to their bill and go to referendum, and Mainers would likely lose baiting, hounding and trapping.” He added, “If we win, we will do more referendums and take the other things you care about.”
In my 17 years in public policy, I have never seen such ruthless bullying tactics.
Why would we negotiate with an organization that threatens to destroy everything we care about?
L.D. 1474 was heard in public hearing by the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee on May 10, 2013, the same day as the meeting with HSUS, and in an unusual suspension of the committee rules – without SAM’s knowledge – the bill was killed unanimously.
Leaders of the Democratic Party (Strimling’s political party) suspended – without our knowledge – the public hearing process and killed the bill before it could even reach the committee. Mr. Strimling should do his homework.