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Stop Angling to Limit Anglers Say Macomb Libertarians

1/22/01
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Diane Barnes
(810) 774-1625

EASTPOINTE. "If the consequences weren't so dangerous to both our wallets and our liberties," observed Macomb County Libertarian Party chair Diane Barnes, "we'd probably just laugh at the antics of our government officials."

The Macomb Libertarians are particularly vexed with two local pols for recent attacks on both ice fishers and taxpayers.

"First, U.S. Representative David Bonior (D-10th) gets a $100,000 appropriation of taxpayer's money to buy a special air boat -- so that authorities can more efficiently come to the aid of ice fishers in the rare instances when they become stranded," Barnes observed. "Then State representative William Callahan (D-St. Clair Shores) proposes legislation to fine anglers who have to be rescued using the expensive, new boat."

Other local officials have joined in the paternalistic call to restrict the freedom of ice fishers for their own good. Harrison Township Fire Department Captain Robert Knapp said he supports legislation that gives local agencies authority to "order people off the lake" during unsafe conditions.

"Obviously, for that circumstance to arise there would have to be a difference of opinion as to whether or not conditions are unsafe," added Macomb LP member and avid ice fisherman Mike Jablonski. "Knowing how government authorities think," he added, "we just might be permitted to enjoy our sport for about three days in the middle of February... when the ice is at least two feet thick."

"I am not, myself, an ice fisher," added Barnes, "but I can certainly appreciate the frustration of adult citizens who are not permitted to use their own judgment about the relative hazards of their leisure time activities.

"On the other hand," she concluded, "I am a taxpayer. And this situation is a perfect example of the ongoing assault on my wallet by do-gooder politicians. First, they spend a lot of tax money to prepare for highly unusual situations, then they restrict everyone's rights in order to prevent the very circumstance they claimed justified the expenditure."

Although it is apparently too late to save the taxpayers' $100,000, the Macomb County Libertarian Party vowed to stand up for the rights of ice fishers not to be legally prohibited or fined for doing nothing more than engaging in their favorite pastime.

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