Vote ‘ yes’ on Ques­tion 2

Connecticut Post (Sunday) - - Opinion - Terry Jones is a Shel­ton farmer, chair of Con­necti­cut’s Work­ing Lands Al­liance and sits on the Con­necti­cut State Board of Ed­u­ca­tion.

We have a spe­cial op­por­tu­nity to come to­gether with a “yes” vote on Ques­tion 2 on Tues­day’s bal­lot.

For the first time in his­tory, we have a state ref­er­en­dum per­tain­ing to our en­vi­ron­ment.

A con­sen­sus vote would be a pow­er­ful an­ti­dote to the vit­riol that per­vades most po­lit­i­cal dis­course these days.

Let’s be hon­est. When in the vot­ing booth, we tend to be in­tim­i­dated by ref­er­en­dum ques­tions that ask, “Shall the Con­sti­tu­tion of the State be amended to...”, and go on at length with le­gal language. Hon­estly, many of us tend to skip over it in our haste. Please do not skip Ques­tion 2. Gen­er­a­tions of Con­necti­cut cit­i­zens have given their time and trea­sure to pro­tect park lands, forests, lakes and beaches for fu­ture en­joy­ment by all. Pub­lic land is one of the best in­vest­ments we have made in Con­necti­cut.

Our state parks and forests at­tract over 8 mil­lion vis­i­tors, gen­er­ate over $ 1 bil­lion in rev­enue for the state and sup­port over 9,000 pri­vate sec­tor jobs ev­ery year. For many, our state forests and parks are their only source to en­joy the out­doors and open space.

That’s why most Con­necti­cut state parks and forests are free, pro­vid­ing lo­cal places for re­lax­ation, in­spi­ra­tion and for kids to ex­plore and learn about na­ture.

From time to time over the years, the General As­sem­bly — in the clos­ing hours of its ses­sion — will qui­etly sell or swap some por­tion of this pub­lic land in a “con­veyance bill” that does not pro­vide for pub­lic in­put. These are the peo­ple’s lands, and thus, peo­ple should have an op­por­tu­nity to voice their opin­ions.

Cer­tainly, there are in­stances when a sale or swap may be jus­ti­fied. How­ever, these trans­ac­tions should be trans­par­ent in­clud­ing the op­por­tu­nity for pub­lic in­put.

Vot­ing ‘ yes’ would amend the Con­sti­tu­tion to re­quire a pub­lic hear­ing and a 2/ 3 vote from the leg­is­la­ture be­fore your state parks and forests could be sold, swapped or given away to pri­vate com­pa­nies or lo­cal gov­ern­ments. Other less im­por­tant pub­lic lands would only re­quire a sim­ple ma­jor­ity vote.

As you pass by your fa­vorite pub­lic park or for­est land, think how its nat­u­ral beauty bright­ens your spir­its. I did just that re­cently while vis­it­ing one of my fa­vorites — Os­bornedale State Park in Derby. The oaks, beech and oc­ca­sional sugar maples were cloaked in their fall col­ors, un­usu­ally vivid for early Novem­ber.

My heart was filled with grat­i­tude for Mrs. Frances Os­borne Kel­logg who gave her land for our Con­necti­cut pub­lic to en­joy in per­pe­tu­ity.

Lands pre­served with your money should not be sold off with­out an op­por­tu­nity for you to speak your mind first. Please vote

‘ Yes’ on Ques­tion 2.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.