Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sounding the Alarms

by Ryan Anderson
* With turnout at an abysmal 18%, Lincoln Democrat Chris Beutler managed a convincing 48%-35% victory over Republican Ken Svoboda in last night's mayoral primary. As the Lincoln Journal Star notes, this will likely result in even more good news for the Beutler campaign in the coming weeks as voters and donors seek to hitch their wagons to the prospective mayor-to-be. But make no mistake: this race isn't over, and if the recent history of the Lincoln GOP is any indicator the next 28 days are going to get messy. Or, as NNN blogfather Kyle Michaelis put it on Monday: Svoboda has long thought he had this race in the bag. When that proves not to be the case on Tuesday, expect alarms to be going off at GOP HQ.

* Speaking of sounding the alarms (warning: weak segue ahead): the state corporate farming ban is officially dead. Quote state AG/prospective Senate candidate Jon Bruning of the Supreme Court's decision:
We can’t forget – the family farm built this state and made it what it is today. I’m confident that the strength and character of our rural residents will keep Nebraska strong even without I-300.
The character and resilience of rural Nebraska is strong indeed: strong enough, I believe, to overcome this setback even if all options for appeal are exhausted. Already the Center for Rural Affairs has announced plans to bring this fight to the Unicameral, where state senators have the option of modifying the bill to meet judicial demands.

But as this site noted in January, another option exists. It's time for Congress to step up and preserve the rights of states' to protect family farming. The courts have done their job, now it's time for our elected representatives to do theirs.

First, however, we must do ours. This fight is too important to leave to the lawyers and lobbyists. The Attorney General's thrown in the towel, now it's up to us to throw down the gauntlet. This is a rare opportunity for our representatives to prove their dedication to those small town, family farm values outside of their stump speeches and soundbites. It's a rare chance to prove who really cares and who doesn't... our last chance to save that "rural strength and character" that has distinguished Nebraska and her politics. We can't let this pass us by.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Bill said...

I'm a city boy, born and raised in Nebraska, however. I know how important agriculture is to the state economy. And I am no fan of AG Jon Bruning. But please don't insinuate that Bruning somehow quit backing I-300 before it was a dead duck. Attorney's have warned it was unconstitutional for years....since it was passed by the voters. The chickens have now come home to roost. I think that the demise of I-300 may very well lead to increased land values across "Greater" Nebraska, which in turn leads to money in the portfolios if not the pockets of farmers statewide.

The number of farmers in rural Nebraska has been decreasing for the past 80 or 90 years, due to mechanization, the invention of the automobile, paved roads, and hundreds of other reasons. Let's not forget that many farm kids go off to college and don't want to come back home to Hooterville. America has been gradually becoming a more and more urbanized nation since its inception, and that trend continues today. If it weren't for metro Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska would have lost population each year for the past 25 years. This is neither good nor bad. It just is reality.

4/05/2007  
Blogger Ryan Anderson said...

"And I am no fan of AG Jon Bruning. But please don't insinuate that Bruning somehow quit backing I-300 before it was a dead duck."

Wasn't my intent. I appreciate the Attorney General's actions in this case. At least he tried. My only qualm is with his definitive message that the amendment is dead just because it ran out of appeals. There are still options left, and it's a shame he didn't say "Well, I did everything I could. Now it's up to you guys." It undercuts the CfRA's efforts to lobby the Unicameral for changes to the amendment. It encourages fatalism and defeat when neither is warranted.

"The number of farmers in rural Nebraska has been decreasing for the past 80 or 90 years, due to mechanization, the invention of the automobile, paved roads, and hundreds of other reasons. Let's not forget that many farm kids go off to college and don't want to come back home to Hooterville. America has been gradually becoming a more and more urbanized nation since its inception, and that trend continues today. If it weren't for metro Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska would have lost population each year for the past 25 years. This is neither good nor bad. It just is reality."

True, true. But it's also true that farming corporations have managed to elbow out a good number of family farmers before their time, and if you want a good dose of *that* reality you needn't look any further than those many states that lack an I-300 of their own.

Maybe that's a future we'll have to face eventually, but I-300 has at least allowed Nebraska a more gradual and less hostile transition than the one experienced by our neighbors. I place considerable value on that.

4/05/2007  

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