The legislature screwed up by not taking our striped bass regulations seriously enough, and our bonus program is in limbo. This is all bad enough - in fact, it's abominable.
Forgive the soapbox (here and in the mag) but this is really sticking in my craw. All the talk on NJ talk radio concerns the Governor's sexuality and his horribly tainted appointments.
What's fallen off the radar screen is the unconstitutionality of his 2005 budget, and the illicit diversion of funds from the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Again, I'd really prefer not to jump on a soapbox here at the BassBarn, but I don't believe we can let this administration move forward without resolving the issue of the Hunters and Anglers fund.
I don't mean for this to be a debate - if you want, email me privately - but before this governor leaves office, whether it's next week or next month, this money has to be returned. If we don't keep up the heat, it WILL get buried, and so will more of our opportunities to fish and hunt in the state of New Jersey.
Slightly modified version from last week's edition. And thanks.
CANNED RESPONSE FROM THE GOVERNOR
Fisherman reader Andrew Korosec followed up on an item from the June 17 edition of the magazine (NJF 25) regarding Assembly Bill 2852, the legislation that attempts to dismantle the New Jersey Fish and Game Council. Andrew had taken the time to write Governor James McGreevey regarding his thoughts on the bill, and received this back from the Governor.
Dear Mr. Korosec:
Thank you for writing to express your opposition to Assembly Bill 2852, which would change the composition and revise the authority of the Fish and Game Council and create a nonlethal alternative committee within the Council. As I work with State lawmakers to enact prudent and effective legislation, I appreciate the chance to benefit from the thoughts of concerned and involved individuals such as yourself.
As you may be aware, the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee is currently reviewing Assembly Bill 2852. At this time, you may wish to contact your representatives in the Assembly to inquire about this legislation and make them aware of your thoughts and concerns.
RESPONSE TO CAN THE GOVERNOR?
The New Jersey Fish and Game Council was created by Law in 1945. In establishing the provisions of the council, the New Jersey Supreme Court wrote "The Fish and Game Council is invested with certain regulatory powers aimed at protecting and developing an adequate supply of fish and game for recreational and commercial purposes. These powers are expressed primarily by the Council's determinations as to when and where in the State hunting and fishing shall take place, and which freshwater fish, game birds, game animals, and fur bearing animals may be taken and in what numbers. The wildlife thus regulated is those animals which are the focus of the sports of hunting and fishing. In addition, the Council supervises a program of wildlife propagation, the expenses of which are supported by fees for hunting and fishing licenses paid for by sportsmen and commercial fishermen."
It?s important for Governor McGreevey (and DEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell) to understand that the Council that this administration is trying to dismantle through support of A2852 is funded directly by the fees generated by the licensing of hunters and fishermen. Of course, as you read last week, the fees coming from hunters and fishermen in the state have been stolen by our governor for purposes other than Fish and Game.
On July 26, the Supreme Court of New Jersey ruled that it was illegal for the Governor to pay off $2.8 billion in bonds to support his 2005 budget. However, the justices decided to let the governor get away with it because they deemed it too late. As far as the millions of dollars in Hunters? and Anglers? Fund monies also diverted illegally within the governor?s 2005 budget, there?s no telling what can be done or what will eventually happen.
The letter received by Mr. Korosec was obviously a form letter. But if you haven?t received yours yet, then perhaps you should forward another letter off to the governor, so that he knows how many voters he has failed to represent during his time in office. Something short, sweet and to the point.
We know you what you?ve attempted to do to our Fish and Game Council, and we know where you stand on Freedom to Fish legislation. But before you turn out the lights on November 15, you could do the state of New Jersey a big favor by righting at least one major wrong ? don?t take the dedicated funding away from our hunting and fishing licenses.
Fix the budget, and give the Division of Fish and Wildlife back the funds that were diverted in your 2005 budget. Millions of dollars hang in the balance, which will ultimately have to be repaid to the Federal government in the future, being as how they are federally protected funds.
?WE? will still be voting in November, even if the Democrat on the ballot is not you. You can do your party and the entire state some justice by returning the money stolen from outdoorsmen in the state of New Jersey.
Don't leave the Division and our natural resources in a state of bankruptcy.
State of New Jersey
Office of the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625-0001