Amador County

   Auburn, CA

   ESA Class 20131024

   ESA Class 20131026

   Fresno County

   Fresno County 20131023

   Josephine Cnty 20130921

   Kalispell, MT 20131216

   Merced County 20131109

   Plumas County 20130928

   Prather, CA 20130619

   San Joaquin County

   San Luis Obispo County

   Sonora 20131025

   Stanislaus County



Agenda 21

Big Government

Central Banking

Conservation Easements

Executive Order 13547



Public Lands

Scientific Misconduct




Drakes Bay Oyster Farm

Frogs and Toads


San Joaquin Valley

Siskiyou County











The Constitutional CountyTM



Grand Juries


Land Patents




Prather, CA 20130619 Townhall

Was A Resounding Success

Kirk MacKenzie


Defend Rural AmericaTM


Skype: kirkmack1

Defend Rural America, The Constitutional County, Constitutional County, and
Constitutional Counties are trademarks of Kirk F. MacKenzie.

Wow !   What A Great Turnout !

Defend Rural America hosted an extremely successful town hall meeting for Sheriff Margaret Mims on June 19, 2013 in Prather, CA, a small community in the foothills between Fresno and Yosemite, to discuss the emergency situation created by short notice of a proposed endangered species listing that threatens 14 more California’s rural counties, 2 million acres, and 9 state forests.

The turnout was exceptional. Concerned residents, farmers, ranchers, dairymen, foresters, miners, outdoor enthusiasts, and representatives filled every seat, every standing location, and even overflowed onto the lawn area outside.

Notable guests included Sheriff Margaret Mims and three of her deputies, county supervisor Phil Larson, Fresno City Councilman Steve Brandau, and the popular, well-known radio host Ray Appleton of KMJNow.

The event was covered by 4 local TV stations.

According to organizers Kay Errotabere, Carol Funkner, Ron and Amanda Arteno, Madeline Wise, Bill Allen, Jim Long, and Carole Jacoby: “We knew the attendance would be good, but could not have anticipated how great it turned out to be. Thanks go to Ray Appleton, Jim Long, and many, many others for making this the success that it was.”

Ron Arteno

The meeting was called to order by Kirk MacKenzie, the founder of Defend Rural America, who introduced Ron Arteno. Ron is a member of the DRA Fresno County Team. Despite crippling pain caused by cancer and related treatments, Ron inspires many by his positive attitude and unrelenting commitment to save Rural America. Ron opened the meeting with a moving and heartfelt prayer, and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Kirk MacKenzie

Kirk started off the presentations by making the following points:

  1. The proposed frogs & toads listing threatens 14 California counties. (See the frogs & toads page for more details.)

  2. None of the county boards of supervisors would have known of, or timely responded to, the proposed listings and habitat designation had it not been for the grassroots call-to-arms that went out.

  3. This lack of a proactive program is why 30% of America’s counties are at risk of failure, and we are perpetually on the defense, in reactive mode, trying to mobilize last-minute defenses against actions that have been years in development.

  4. June 10 was the deadline for submitting hearing requests. Only 5 of the 14 counties are known to have met that deadline.

  5. June 24 is the deadline for submitting substantive commentary. Only 1 or 2 of the counties reacted fast enough to be in a reasonable position to do so.

  6. More time is needed. Every person, organization, and elected representative was encouraged to file for an extension using the form extension request.

  7. To insure a professional response is timely submitted, a private coalition raised sufficient money to engage professional assistance to write one. However, this does not give the counties standing, only those named private individuals and organizations.

  8. Counties that do not submit substantive commentary on time defeat the health, safety, and welfare interests of their counties and county residents. They will have no standing. Their interests are defeated from the start.

  9. A 4-Point Action Plan was introduced and explained. It addresses the immediate issue of the frogs & toads listing, as well as the long-term interests of the county residents.

  10. Specific actions were laid out for attendees to take.

Steve Brink

Steve Brink, Vice President of the California Forestry Association, gave a highly informative presentation on the state of our forests, the consequences, and a vision of what they should be. Some of the points Steve made:

  1. The federal government’s “management” of our forests has resulted in no management. The trees continue to grow, but the federal government permits only less than 10% to be harvested.

  2. The increasingly dense forests consume an estimated 1-2 million acre feet of water that would otherwise go to agriculture. The excess trees consume more water, and the closed canopies capture snow that can evaporate back into the atmosphere before it melts.

  3. Overly dense forests result in small, weak, and disease ridden trees, and excessive ground vegetation and fallen logs.

  4. These conditions result in fires that leap into the canopies, producing towering infernos that scorch the earth, and the Forest Service no longer plants replacement trees.

  5. The resulting smoke and ash create more air pollution and violations of the Clean Air Act than all diesel-powered vehicles and equipment combined.

  6. Furthermore, scorched earth turns rain into massive mud flows that flow into the streams and rivers in violation of the Clean Water Act.

  7. Healthy forests require man’s management, something the Native American Indians understood and practiced.

Sheriff Margaret Mims

Sheriff Mims, a very popular elected figure in Fresno County, was the featured speaker of the night.

Ray Appleton offered a few of his own thoughts and stories, then introduced Sheriff Mims to a standing ovation.

Sheriff Mims introduced her deputy sheriffs, her husband, and acknowledged many others, including the private citizens that came to her office to educate her on the frogs and toads listing.

A few of the points made by Sheriff Mims:

  1. The concerns are real. Her research into the frogs and toads issue confirmed what she had been told.

  2. The frogs and toads are dying, but not for lack of habitat. The principal causes are a virus that is spreading worldwide that kills amphibians; and in the Yosemite area, frogs and toads that eat each other. Trout introductions and possibly herbicides, like Roundup, may be other contributors.

  3. The proposed closures of another 2 million acres of California’s forests―an area 30% larger than the state of Delaware―does not solve the problem.

  4. The proposed closures would, however, be very detrimental to the economic and recreational interests of the county budget, farmers, ranchers, dairymen, foresters, miners, hikers, campers, sports fishermen, and off roaders, to name  a few.

  5. There is no need for federal intervention. Local and state oversight of existing habitat is sufficient.

  6. She stands with the people in defense of their lands, property and mining rights, and forests.

  7. The Fresno County Board of Supervisors needs to take the actions recommended in the 4-Point Plan.

Open Town Hall Discussion

Sheriff Mims then opened up the meeting for public comment and questions in the best town hall tradition. which lasted for a good 45 minutes or more. The comments indicated a great deal of concern about the proposed listings and habitat designations, as well as support for the 4-Point Action Plan.

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