Time for a little "election year" pontification......
Election 2008 (Election Day is Nov. 4, 2008) is shaping up to be a watershed year in U.S. politics. As election day apporaches, many issues are surfacing that trigger emotions. It is time to turn the focus on to the structure where events are being shaped that will have a significant impact on the future.
Starting from top down...
The President does set an agenda. Also, the President does appoint some critical positions that can have a significant impact on access to public lands.
The Senate is a slow deliberative body that is prone to rhetorical discussion and seldom moves fast on any issue.
The House is a wildcard. They are up for re-election every two years and have a tendency to be more reactive to publicity issues of the day; especially if they can turn it into a vote.
State: (this a California, other states are similar)
Governor: Like the President, they can set an agenda and they do have a number of appointments that can have an impact on access/recreation.
Senate: A dysfunctional body that is prone to rhetorical discussion and little action. They are heavily influenced by special interests and public opinion polls.
Assembly: Another dysfunctional body that is more disconnected from reality than the Senate. They are prone to meaningless discussion and very responsive to special interests.
Mayor: Like the Governor and President, they do set an agenda. Interestingly, they are more in tune with the local economic issues and will seek to protect the county residents from excess liability.
Board of Supervisors: This is a mixed bag with a range of responsiveness. They are very sensitive to actions within their district that translate into economics that translate to votes.
Out of this are a couple of key points. At one level are elected officials that have the ability to set an agenda and place appointments to carry out the agenda.
The second point is the group of elected officials that are more sensitive to the public opinion that can be translated into votes.
In short, the Boards of Supervisors, Assembly, and Representatives are important positions as they are responsive to public pressure.
The Mayor, governor, and president are important as they set an agenda and placed appointees to carry out the agenda.
Out of this, the local Boards of Supervisors are one of the more important positions as they have an influence over federal actions that State legislators do not have.
Federal law requires the agency to consult with local officials on management actions that affect the local economy.
So, build a good relationship with your local Boards of Supervisors; especially in counties where recreation activities occur. The closer to home your elected official is, the better accountability you will find. Local elected officials can be motivated by economic impacts and limiting liability.
* Presidents, Governors, and Mayors set broad agendas and appoint staff that significantly impact access.
* At both state and federal levels, Congress/State Legislative bodies are reactive to change and public pressure. Historically, the U.S. Senate is a slow deliberative bodywhere rhetoric flourishes.
* Local Boards of Supervisors are important because they can influance federal actions and are obligated to consider local economic impact.
And, That's My View.....