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sarahlee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-16-06 09:03 AM
Original message
News Release
Alliance for Our Future
May 10, 2006

Contact: Charlie Johnson


The SAVE OUR VOTE Coalition responded today to an attack on their November ballot initiative by Ag United, the agribusiness front group promoting large feedlots.

In a Monday press release, Ag United claimed the SAVE OUR VOTE initiative would mean every livestock permit would be brought to a vote.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," said Luanne Napton of South Dakota Resources Coalition. "In the history of the state, during the time when 170 large feedlot permits were granted by counties, only 2 were ever brought to a vote."

Napton notes that County Commissioners have found a loophole to prevent voters from vetoing bad decisions. The South Dakota Supreme ruled last summer that although decisions of county commissions are referable to a vote, decisions of appointed boards are not. In Moody County, commissioners simply appointed themselves to meet as a separate Board of Adjustment and make final decisions on zoning permits. "County commissioners simply switch hats and are no longer answerable to the people."

Charlie Johnson a Madison area farmer said, "It's a sad day in South Dakota agriculture when Ag United proposes that the only way to protect farmers is to shut down the democratic process."

Feedlots which have over 1,000 cattle, 2,500 hogs or 10,000 sheep
in a small confined area are required to obtain a permit.

Johnson notes, "Only those controversial operations that fail to have neighborhood support are likely to be challeged."

"It's not an easy thing to gather enough support to collect 5% of signatures of registered voters within 20 days as is required to bring a permit to a vote."

Former U.S. Senator Jim Abourezk who has led the fight against controversial feedlots said, "Developers are trying to colonize South Dakota, and we want to make sure we have a voice in what they are doing to us."

In a May 2 Rapid City Journal poll, 74 percent of respondents agreed that residents should have the right to refer a bad county zoning decision to a public vote.

Nancy Kile who is challenging a county decision giving an alcohol permit to 600-acre biker complex near Sturgis says: "We really appreciate the way this initiative gives local people an opportunity to have a say."

Norm Schafer a client of Abourezk who is fighting for local control in eastern South Dakota says, "Voters shouldn't give up their right to democracy just so a few feedlots can go where they're not wanted."



Copied below is an important message from Jim Abourezk, the lawyer giving legal accompaniment to the SAVE OUR VOTE Initiative campaign. If you are contacted by an investigator, please keep your cool, follow Jim's advice, and report the contact to SD Peace & Justice Center sdpjc

The Center is a participant in the Alliance for Our Future.


Dear Petition Circulator:

Although we obtained sufficient signatures to get on the ballot, we did not have a huge cushion. The other side may try to contest it. Here are some legal rights that you have in case a private investigator should come to question you to see if they can invalidate signatures you collected.

1. You are NOT required to talk to any private investigator. If you want to talk to them, you have the right to be represented by an attorney who should be present with you when you are being questioned. But to reiterate, you are not legally obligated to talk to anyone. You can tell them that and walk away and there's nothing wrong with that.

2. In the event the Attorney General or Secretary of State sends someone to question you, you have the right to have an attorney present, and you have the right not to talk to them unless your attorney is present and has counseled you on your rights.

3. Do not feel pressured to talk to anyone who questions you without first consulting with an attorney.

And call an Alliance for Our Future steering committee participant should anyone try to question you. We need to know what our opponents are up to.

Jim Abourezk
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