Dear Representative Dianda,
Seven months ago, at our community’s Heikinpäivä Festival, I was one of many constituents in the crowd who had the chance to converse with you. I’m also one of the many Michigan voters who worked on two successful efforts to place referenda on Michigan’s Fall 2014 ballot. That is, I participated in the democratic process that gathered 230,000 signatures in support of allowing voters to decide, first, whether we should hunt wolves in Michigan, and second, who should make decisions about game species. You and I talked about this, and I am grateful.
During the 2013 Parade of Nations, Diane Miller, center, author of this letter, is pictured at the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected booth along with two other petition gatherers -- Jackie Winkowski, left, Wolfwatcher Great Lakes Representative, and Leah Vucetich of Hancock. (Keweenaw Now file photo)
You listened to me as I expressed disappointment over your yea vote on SB288, a bill that allowed a group of non-wildlife experts to determine game species in Michigan -- a bill obviously designed to circumvent the referendum process. This bill passed and became PA 21.
I listened to you when you explained your reasons for the vote. You cited a situation in which a pet dog had been killed by wolves, here in Houghton County.
And you listened to me when I said that I knew that dog; it lived across the road from me, and I reminded you that legislation has existed since 2009 that allowed my neighbor to shoot the offending wolf, which he did: No hunting season was needed to protect his
I listened to you as you expressed your concern about the children in the Ironwood day care center where wolves were reported to have been lurking. I could tell that you truly cared, and I was impressed by that.
You listened to me as I reminded you that not only has no human ever been attacked by a healthy wolf in Michigan, but the Ironwood stories -- including the one about the day care -- have since been publicly exposed and verified as lies. I asked you: "If you had known that the stories were false, would you have voted differently?"
"Yes, I probably would," I heard you say.
We don’t usually get second chances. But here we go again. As you know, the House convenes on August 27 and you will be asked to vote yea or nay on the "Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act" -- a law that neither embodies sound science nor seems conservation-minded. In fact, it repeats the earlier bill and adds an insignificant appropriation for Asian Carp control (a trick -- laws that include appropriations can’t be challenged by voters). Clearly, this is another effort to circumvent the democratic process.
Representative Dianda, you listened to me, and I listened to you. Now I am counting on you to do the right thing: Please vote nay.
Houghton County resident
Editor's Note: See also Katie Alvord's Feb. 26, 2014, article, "Interview: Diane Miller of Houghton County explains why she has collected signatures for two anti-wolf-hunt petition drives."