Property Rights Foundation of America®

from the Fifth Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, 2000)

We Have A Movement
Joining Forces and Reaching Out

J. Zane Walley
Editor, The Paragon Powerhouse, Paragon Foundation, Lincoln, New Mexico

Thank you. I'll tell you that it is going to be awfully hard to live up to all this stuff that Carol said there. I am from New Mexico. I live out there in the Rocky Mountains, between the Rocky Mountains and a little range called the Capitans, a nice agricultural valley surrounded by ranchers who live 37 miles down. Like Carol and even like a lady back here that is an investigative journalist, we heat and cook with wood out there. Just live out in the country and would like to stay out there, but the nature of this war has us all traveling around doing a lot of stuff.

I've got one old neighbor who got in a bunch of trouble recently. He got indicted for killing an endangered species. I almost said feces. That wouldn't have been right, would it? And so he had to go before this federal judge. He is a bowed up old cowboy. He has been thrown off a lot of times, banged up pretty good, so he showed up before this federal judge and the judge looked down the bench at him and says, "Sir, you've been charged with killing an endangered species, a spotted owl." The old rancher said, "Well, your honor, I did." He said, "I shot it, me and the family eat it." The judge says, "What?" He said, "Yes sir. The city slickers killed off all the game. We got droughted out on the livestock and we were hungry. We had to eat and so I shot that spotted owl. We boiled it up and eat it." He said, "You boiled the spotted owl?" He said, "Yes, your honor, we shore did." And the judge looked across the bench and says, "Look, I am from west Texas. I know what it is like to be poor and droughted out. I also know about old timers like you. You are a man of your word. I am going to turn you loose with a warning if you promise me you won't kill no more spotted owls." The old rancher says, "Well, your honor, you got my word." He says, "I won't shoot no more or eat them neither." But the judge says, "Court dismissed."

Well the old cowboy, he bowlegged up and inches up and heads towards the door. And the judge, he is moving a little bit faster and he runs back to the chambers and gets his robes off and catches up with the old cowboy and throws an arm around him, and he says, "Neighbor, tell me, how did that boiled owl eat?" The old cowboy said, "Your honor?" He said, "Tell me how that old spotted owl eat." And the old cowboy said, "Well, off the record?" He said, "Yeah, man, off the record. How did it eat?" "Well your honor, it was somewhat in between a whooping crane and a bald eagle. Boiled owl is kind of tough."

Oh goodness, but you know the thing is, people are tired of the insanity of what is going on in our country. And we have a movement going on. It is a very, very serious movement. People for the USA did a really in-depth analysis on what percentage of the vote we control as grassroots folks. Now hang on to your britches and hitch up your overalls because we people of the land that are resource-based represent 17 percent of the vote. If we work together, if we vote together, that is enough to change city government, county government, state government, and federal government. That is where it is all at — getting out there and stop whimpering and complaining and get out and vote. Get out and work. This is the major part of the movement, I think, right there — we have to realize we are very politically empowered. We have been told that we are not, but we are. The week before last ABC issued a report that says, well, the swing vote in the Presidential election is going to be the grassroots. That's us, folks. We are it. We constitute a powerful voting block if we work together.

And, of course, it is always a big problem getting everybody working together, to say the least, because we are all independent cusses. But you know I had never met Carol before, but we worked together, golly, a year and a half or two years now over the telephone and fax and stuff. I would like to share this with you. So we got New Mexico to New York, and from New York to New Mexico comes this:

We are facing the Forest Legacy program in New Mexico that you recently had here in New York. That's where the state government takes $50 million in taxpayers' money through the federal government, through the USDA, through the Forest Service, and they go out and they buy conservation easements. Okay? Well, we know, basically, if you have been reading Carol's stuff, you know conservation easements aren't generally a fair shake. So the first thing that happened when this came down, I called Carol. She sent me the [Congressional] legislation passed for New York to help protect the property owner. I got that in front of a bunch of legislators, who like that, and out in New Mexico it is probably going to be voted in.

Then she has a full disclosure statement that protects or at least totally advises the property owner what they are getting into. And so I got that in front of a bunch of elected officials, and they liked that, and her paper is probably going to be part of New Mexico law here before long. And congratulations on that. Isn't that wonderful? New York to New Mexico.

Well, then we got to digging around and Carol and I talked about this and I got up with some of my friends in the real estate business. You know, for the property rights movement the real estate industry is a natural ally. But what we did was I looked at the contract between the state, they are going to give a percentage of this $50 million federal money to The Nature Conservancy and the Alliance for Public Lands to go out and buy conservation easements. They get paid a percentage of the land they bring off the tax rolls. Okay? Ain't that a reverse! So I said, well, you know these folks are in the real estate business, right. And I went out and looked up New Mexico laws, and as best as I could figure them out, yeah. I ran them by attorneys and they thought it was, too. So I went up to see the Chief Investigator for the New Mexico Real Estate Commission, Leo McDonald. Loe and I sat down and went through this thing and he says, by golly, they are out here acting in violation of the real estate licensing laws. So now we are seeking an investigation against The Nature Conservancy. Okay?

What can we do if we all work together out here and share ideas and knowledge? We can turn this mule around. This is a big hard one to head because we have waited a long time to do it, but we are totally empowered if we cling together, work together, share unselfishly. We can turn things around totally.

I noticed Jody back here from New Mexico. Howdy, Jody. Jody is in the Navy out here, but he is originally a New Mexico cowboy.

You all might find interesting another little thing that just happened in New Mexico that shot across the United States rapidly. What happened was we got burned out, and we got burned out because an aspen tree fell across a power line and created a live short and set everything on fire. Why? Because the Forest Service had stopped the power company from clearing under the utility lines because the utility lines harbored this prey base for spotted owl called a vole mouse. So because of the vole mouse we lost 16,000 acres, 60 homes, and we had two people dead. Some of those people can get no insurance. After that our monsoon rains came in and the floods ran logs through the community center, just a mess. And we are in danger of more fires because the power company has 800 miles of power lines strung out through national forests.

But we have a good county commission. Our county commissioner said, how do we protect our citizens? Well, first of all, to do this, two levels of government have to fill the bill, federal and state. Obviously the federal end has already kind of fell apart pretty good. They have failed to perform to protect the citizens, so we went to the state of New Mexico and asked the governor to take charge. We are still awaiting an answer from that. If the governor does not take charge of the situation as they are clearing that forest so our citizens are protected, our county is taking over the public land in our county. It is called the "Otero Resolution," after Otero County, New Mexico. You have the Paragon Powerhouse there on your desk. If you would like a copy of that resolution, drop us a call at the toll-free number and we will be happy to send you one. We are finding that is one way that we empower our people.

Well, it goes back to one thing. All of this starts with county government, wherever you are. You got to take your county back first. You got people to work with you, work for you, you give them everything you got. If they work against you, do everything you can to destroy them.

We have done various things. In Colorado, for instance, we have a newspaper up there that is kind of to the left, and they refused to print our side of the story. They are putting a monument in and taking 164,000 acres with this monument. So what did we do? We got our crew up there, everybody in that group — it was huge — went to the advertisers of that newspaper and said, we are not going to advertise with you and we are not going to buy your product anymore, because you are advertising in this newspaper. It didn't take very long till the advertisers then fell off on the newspaper. When the advertising started dropping, they started printing both sides of the story.

We are fighting the German Air Force in New Mexico, also. They are skimming across the roof tops. We had a newspaper that wouldn't print that side of the story. So I called the editor up and I said, "Rick," I said, "You got a choice. Day after tomorrow I am going to have 100 gray-haired ladies in front of your newspaper demonstrating or you can print our side of the story." And I said, "Oh, by the way, Fox News has agreed to come. Which one do you want to do?"

What do you think he did?

So we are all empowered to go out here and influence the media, we are all empowered to go out here and influence state government, but you can't do it sitting at home. You got to get out and work, and work hard. You know, it becomes a lifestyle, and at first it is kind of tiring and boring, but after a while you start meeting so many nice people it starts to be a new hobby. What do you do in your spare time? Oh well, I am a political activist, you know.

New Mexico to New York...New York to New Mexico. We have proven right here that this thing works. By the way, Paragon is here to help you all out, if we can in any way. I mean we all work together. There is no profit motive in this. I don't think that our movement has been infected with the greed mongrels yet. I think everybody is pretty much out here simply because they believe and care and would like to pass a good America on to our children and grandchildren. In the movement, I have yet to see anybody make a penny out of it. I see a lot of people spending a lot of money out of their pockets to keep it going, and I think it is going to take that for a while. But as the mule turns, I think that perhaps we will start getting funding from the majors, and we pray for that and work toward that.

As Carol mentioned, I put the Darby rally together. But I didn't, actually. I mean I worked with a lot of people and did it. It took a lot of people to do that darn thing, but I was staying at Del Ralph's farm. In Range Magazine there is an article called "Spitting in George Washington's Eye" that we did under Darby before the rally came off. I will give you some background of what really occurred in the Darby.

But, you know, Del Ralph and I had been working till 2:30 in the morning and get back up at 6 and going again, because the phone is ringing, we are doing a radio interview, doing television things. We had Fox News down, and, boy, things were just busy. A night or two before the rally, a contingent of cowboys and loggers showed up from Montana and Idaho. And they had drove straight through across America to get to the Darby rally. When these guys showed up, all of a sudden we get the Darby farmers there, and we got all these loggers and cowboys and miners. So I see the farmers here and the folks from out West here and with the farmers we got Carl Yoder who is an Amish guy there and our Mennonite guy there, so I am looking at these two different factions meeting. I just kind of laid back and I watched those people there, and within 30 minutes there were bound just like that. Because everyone had a common problem. And I know that they are still communicating.

What happened is those folks from out West came back East to stand up for the property rights back here. Was that a touching moment? You would have cried. That rally at the Darby was one of the most high-energy things that you could imagine. It was an absolute joy to attend.

How many people made it down to the Darby? How did you enjoy it? Yeah, 37 states were there. So when we have got a situation like that, you know, we pull together and we can help each other.

I was visiting with John back here, the Amish gentleman, and I remarked to him, I said, "I spent some time with the Amish Mennonite folks down in Ohio and I found out that cowboys and Amish Mennonites are a whole lot alike." He said, "What do you mean?" I said, "Well, you know, we both like to be left alone, we like to do things where we like a lot of room and we wear funny hats." I had never realized that before but that, really, that is the truth. So at any rate the Darby was just incredible.

Now what happens after the Darby? We have a problem in Colorado with several families being pushed off their land because of a national monument. We have problems occurring everywhere, so what did we do? We picked out two leaders up there. They were pretty natural and they had the time. You know, to constitute good leaders, you get time and a good computer. But we took two people out of Colorado, put them in contact with their counterparts in Ohio. Del Ralph, the farmer, and Julie Smithson, who is a truck driver, we call "the Viking" because she comes up swinging with a broad sword. We hooked the people in Colorado up with them. So what is happening is folks in Ohio are now giving their "Ten Point Action Plan" to Colorado because it was successful. You see, we backed Congress off from funding the Darby, so we had a success story there. Rare, uh? A success story! What we do is we hook those people up with the people in Colorado who didn't know how to fight back yet and that multiplies the effort.

Anytime you put a rally together you got a hard bunch of work in front of you. The most successful thing we can do, though, as far as getting what we need out in the major media is to put a rally on. Because when you get a thousand people in the streets singing songs and carrying signs, the media will show up and they will get your story.

How many folks here saw "Vanishing Freedoms"? The first one? Did you see the second one under Darby? You see the third one on "Sisters of the River"? Yeah, it just aired night before last, I think, but what happened is we have a great ally in Fox News. And, you know, these guys, they told me that 17 percent figure. They said 17 percent of the population has been neglected and we got to reply to them — and they have. You watch news and buy things from advertisers. Stand by Fox because those folks sure do stand by us, without a selfish bone in their body. They are good people. But that is kind of what is happening across the nation.

We have this movement. You know Carol has helped me a lot. We can work together and pull all of us together. I am not talking about an umbrella organization, because everyone is too independent for that. But if we all communicate and work together — and that is a job in itself to pull this. What is 17 percent of the population? That is a lot of people. Educate our friends and neighbors and relatives. We can take this country back. We will take it back one county at a time, one city at a time, one state at a time. In New Mexico we got so much federal land it is an ongoing battle, but we are getting closer all the time. We just can't give up. We've been fighting this in New Mexico since 1963.

The old boys that sit on the Paragon Foundation board of directors are real fancy. When the board meets, five cowboy hats hit the rack, and when the attorneys come in, two more cowboy hats hit the rack, so everybody is a working rancher. They have just fought it so long that they know a lot about it. That is why they put together Paragon Foundation, to help people fight this back.

We also provide litigation grants for folks who have to fight for their property rights. One that affects you here in New York and Pennsylvania and other states out East we are working on right now that we funded through Wyoming is a law suit against the Clean Water Action Plan. And of course that is the one with the minimum daily loading TMDL that is putting so many people in forestry and agriculture out of business. We financed the lawsuit on that. We have about ten cases in federal court now. But what we do is we don't file them ourselves. We file them through organizations that need help, when we can afford to. But we are always in a fund-raising mode, also. We are very lucky in the fact that we have a gentleman who sits quietly in the background. For every dollar anybody chips in, he throws two in the pot. And he is 90 years old and don't have any children; so he figures people who own the land are his kinfolks. A very generous man. And he is just an old rancher. He grew up on a Johnson Grass farm in west Texas and went to work running an elevator in the petroleum building in Midland, Texas, — up and down for four years. He walked out of there in four years and said, I got my college degree, because he hit leaders and shakers in the petroleum industry in that elevator and he worked them over. He came out of there and he married into a good family and they had some oil on their land and from that he exploded. He has got 370 square miles of Texas ranchland now and a couple of oil wells, but he did it from nothing, from being broke during the Depression, like we all can if we work hard.

Well, I won't take up any more of your time. I think I have used about all of mine up here. Thank you again for having me out here, folks. I really appreciate it. God bless you.

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