We The People

A Daymare In the Forest

Submitted by AMAC Member George Spangler –

I hung up the phone.

I don’t know what facial contortions I was making … but the phone calls had left me shaken.

I needed to count to ten … my style … so I leaned back in my chair to think, cope, and rest my eyes.  I dozed off.  I had a dream.

I dreamt I was on the phone and no matter where I turned, someone was blocking my very next step and not answering any question.  Then I was at the local town hall. The gal doing the blocking there was a nice person with personality plus… but every time I asked a question I couldn’t get an answer from her either.  Finally she said that she had a horrible stack of paper on her desk … could I please ask my question via email and she would get back to me right away.

All I wanted was to get a burn permit.

My company just bought this new place.  Nice building on just under 3 acres of land.  We had to do a lot of renovation inside, but that was winding down.

Now we wanted to clean the jungle outside.  Our neighbor just north of us said that he didn’t think they had cleared much of anything in the last 20 years or so.

Dead trees.  Brush.  Vines … some maybe 2 inches diameter at the base, in tree after tree.  Six huge oak thought to be 200+ years old to be protected at any cost.

Somehow in my dream I had managed to get a young helper. Good kid.   Lousy dresser which included the youth uniform of the day … pants down to his ankles, you get the picture.

I used the chainsaw and we had at it.  I cut and he pulled stuff out and pretty soon we had 20 or so good-sized piles of brush.  We have a small dumpster we could use, but it would take us years if we tried to get rid of the debris that way.

I needed a burn permit.

Now somehow in my dream I did come up with the phone number at the state level in their Forestry department.  I called.  A young man answered.  I was impressed.   He asked a few questions.  Fair questions.

Then he asked a real simple one: “Residential or commercial?”

“Commercial”, I said.

At this point my dream got real confusing.  He kept saying over and over and always with anger on his face:  “ We don’t do commercial here.”  Suddenly all around him huge, dark ominous clouds began forming … any fool could see an awful storm was coming.

Then one final time he said:  “ We don’t do commercial here.”  He concluded with his voice now shaking:  “A few years ago they took that away from us up here. Let me give you a number.”  He did, but I didn’t write it down.

The EPA now issues burn permits to businesses in my state.

I broke out in a cold sweat. What if they did to me what they did to that couple who bought a lot on a lake, asked for a permit, were turned down, and subsequently sued, then fined millions because the EPA said they were treating the land improperly?

The EPA could put me out of business, if they wanted to. It is well-known that my staff and I are conservatives.  If EPA learned of this, no telling what they might do.  We know how much they hate and mistrust business types.  Greedy is what they think we are.

There was no way I was going to going to call the EPA. I’d sooner break the law and burn without a permit … but I didn’t do that.

Then in the strange way that dreams do, I was suddenly standing in the middle of a cleared area just south of our building.  This part of my dream had nothing do with burning.  The septic system had overflowed.  Raw sewage was all around me. I went to the County and the town and back and forth again and again.  Again no matter how I twisted and turned, I was blocked.   It took me two months to get the permit to replace the septic field.  All the time raw sewage was running out on top of the ground.

The guy who did my septic work told me that what I experienced was about the way it always happened these days.  The time of just going down to get a permit and getting it in a couple of visits were long gone.  I got the permit because I persevered.

As I waded out of the muck, I saw a huge County Inspector standing on dry ground, but he looked like he might try to prevent me from getting out.  I had more than a hint of fear.

“The water lines are too close to the septic system. You will have to move it.” he said and he vanished.  Back and forth county to town … town to county.  In the process, I learned that I would have to have a backflow valve because that is code now … this in addition to moving the line closer to the building.  And by the way I would also have to use a licensed plumber to do the work.

So I was wiser, but no closer to actually getting the permit.  Seems like I was caught up in a jurisdictional squabble between these two governmental giants … the town and the county.  Finally a fellow from the town came by and told us verbally:  “Just do it!”  We did.  Took two days to move the line and install the valve.  Our friend from the town … turns out he was just as frustrated with the town and the county as we were … came out and verbally said that we had “done good”.  We had water.  We had septic.

Somehow in my dream I had merged all of this plus some other stuff together.  I just couldn’t get it all sorted out.  My secretary bailed me out.

“Where did you leave the Anderson file?”  She belted out.  (She preferred direct communication through the office wall to the use of the intercom.)

“You left it on my desk.”  My own direct communication.

I am awake now.  Good gracious, I thought, what a daymare.  But it wasn’t a daymare.

It was real.

It was the truth.

It actually happened.

Thomas Jefferson is oft quoted and rightly so and he speaks directly to me now:

When the government fears the people, you have liberty.

When the people fear the government, you have tyranny.

Benghazi. IRS. Media suppression.  NSA.  Selective justice from the Attorney General, and so on.

 For me and my company, we fear the EPA.  That is why …

I will allow you to print this, but only if I can remain completely and 100% anonymous.

I close not with a dream, but with an extension of my fear.  I can just hear Clapper saying to someone:  “You want dirt on these guys!  They are conservatives.  At least one of them belongs to a tea party.  We’ve been following them for years.  I can have a report on your screen in 20 minutes if you like.”

Our solution.  We rented a chipper.  In two days every pile of limbs and brush was reduced to chips suitable for mulching.  No laws broken.  No permits needed.  No one in government telling me I couldn’t!

The locus.  It isn’t just federal.  It isn’t just state.  It is local.  The ”lust for power virus” grows here just as it does in Washington.  It thrives here in our own backyard.  What I went through was a display of power and control by elected officials and their hires.

I use and offer to you a simple approach to all this mess.  It sums as follows:

If it is to be, it is up to me.

All two letter words.  I am responsible.  Attend the council meetings.  Make sure the school board gets to know you real well.  Let your public servants know you have awakened from your dreams and you are watching them now.  Take business friends with you.  But …

The Ultimate Solution.  Vote.  We the people are never more than one or two election cycles from cleaning up the mess.  Citizens must vote.  Even more imperative, citizens also calling themselves Christian or Jew must vote.  Last election you voted by staying at home and thus, in effect, voted to keep the mess in Washington growing and festering at an alarming rate.  Vote.

It really is up to you and I.

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