Friday, March 8, 2013

Wanted: An Organization that supports me!

As a 30 year-old woman, it is hard to figure out where I belong in the overall hunting world so that I am taken seriously. Women, and my demographic specifically, are the fastest growing demographic in the hunting world right now. I have been hunting for 10 years and write a few different outdoor blogs about my experiences and in order to keep up with what is happening across the state, I belong to organizations that promote hunting and the outdoors.

One of those organizations is the Sportman's Alliance of Maine (SAM). I have been a member for about a year now. Their mission states that:

The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine is Maine’s largest sportsman’s organization with 10,000 members and a headquarters in Augusta, ME. SAM is considered the leader of Maine’s 300,000 sportsmen. SAM’s staff works at the legislature, state agencies and other forums on critical issues. SAM was organized in 1975 and is a 501 (c ) 3 non-profit membership organization to promote conservation of Maine’s wildlife resources and to be an advocate for hunters, anglers, trappers and gun owners throughout the state. SAM’s members have a real voice and impact on outdoor issues.

But with the recent emails I have received from SAM, I feel anything but supported by this organization.

On March 1st, the SAM February newsletter hit my inbox. It pushed for the passage of LD345 but then included an article entitled, "Journalists should focus on the bad guys" by SAM's Executive Director David Trahan. The write up infuriated me. Not only because Fox News was referenced as a reliable source (seriously???) but also because Mr. Trahan goes on to bring up the FOAA request for concealed permit holders by the BDN (which at this point is almost a month old) and then accuses journalists of requesting the information individually by saying,
could we surmise these latest FOAA requests for concealed permit holders are also press outlets attempting to avoid the same backlash as the Bangor Daily News? Does anyone else recognize the incredible hypocrisy of journalists using a loophole in the FOAA law to hide their identity and then claiming they support transparency and accountability for everyone else?

Those are some pretty big assumptions being made about the people requesting the information. While I am not a journalist, I have every right to request the same information. While I am at it, I can also request any birth/death/license information, property information, documents related to public business like minutes, email exchanges among board members of a public board, documents, and letters sent to public officials because it is all a part of FOAA and promotes transparency and accountability.

In a follow up email from SAM that I received on March 6th entitled. "SAM ALERT - EYE OPENER" the email starts off the same way, with a push for LD345 but then moves to articles from the Lewiston Sun Journal and from S.E. Robinson from www.mainewire.com. These articles are supposed to show how journalists and political parties (the Democrats...the article actually uses the word 'democrat' 11 times and "republican" once when referring to Mr. Trahan's former role as a State representative) are using the FOAA information for their own personal gain. In the last paragraph of the Robinson article, Mr. Trahan is quoted as saying the following,

Trahan said he believes political firms like Catalist use personal information acquired through FOAA requests to compile voter profile lists. He said records of concealed carry permit holders are likely combined with similar archives of data on Maine's hunters and fisherman in order to help political groups like the Maine Democrats target voters with tailored messages.

"Democratic groups have made firearm ownership a major component of their database, probably because they're weak with firearm owners," said Trahan.

Pot, meet Kettle.

And with that, with those two emails and the clear position that SAM is taking, I have been alienated. My thoughts and opinions are posted on a public forum... email #1 says I am a problem. I am a Democrat (a gun carrying one, but still a Democrat)... email #2 says I am on the wrong side of the argument.

SAM has proven itself to be a non-profit that I do not want to support. They are clearly not bipartisan and do not promote my thoughts and feelings on the outdoors.

9 comments:

  1. I'm a gun toting independent, that leans democrat.

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    1. Bonnie, do you notice more anti-D where you are?

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  2. For what it is worth you have my backing.

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  3. Why do anything at all, when you can just blame the other guy? I couldn't put it better myself, "pot calling the kettle an object without the power to obtain its own opinion" hits it right on the nose.
    It is getting tougher and tougher to find voices of reason, keep it up.
    Glad I found your blog on OBN.

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  4. Thank you Daniel! I have heard from a lot of people that they are happy that I wrote the blog because they feel the same way. I appreciate you reading and commenting. I hope you enjoy my other posts.

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  5. I just read this Erin and even though I have been a harsh critic of some of your past OBDN posts I have to say that this one has me looking up. Its nice to see someone speak out about SAM rather then just jump on their bandwagon. I don't claim to any party and feel a two party system does more injustice than anything. I could lean right on issues like gun control and left on issues like abortion or gay marriage. I don't necesarrily disagree with SAM's believe that is typically the left side attacking and going after gun rights or it is often the left that misuses the FOAA law to further their own agendas, political or non. I don't think that it is really hard to disprove SAM's believe. Many are true, but its ufortunate that SAM is diving in head first into this issue. If the same effort was put into our deer herd we all would be better off. The reason I responded was because you asked what does a 30 year old woman have to do to fit in. My believe for what its worth, if any, coming from a 30 year old guy is just be yourself and form your own opinions on issues. Not from what costituents may say but from your own experience. If you have limited experience than gain some more before you give a opinion. Don't become a sellout like many other sporting organizations or bloggers have become in Maine. I'll leave those specific organizations or bloggers anonymous, but its easy to see which ones have. Just go out and enjoy the outdoors and share your enjoyment and stories with us and I think most will agree that we will enjoy reading them. Avoid the political issues and get back to just plain old outdoor stories. If grow into a powerful sporting voice in maine don't take sponsorship that will just sponsor you to help out their own agenda like some bloggers currently do. Go out and enjoy hunting and the outdoors, come back and portray that appreciation and love that you have for it and I think that you will fit in just fine. I think its really that simple. Something that many forget nowadays.

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    1. Brian, I totally appreciate your comments. I might not agree but I think a good conversation is important to cured the causes that we care about. The BDN blog is mostly to draw readers and post some political stuff. Coffee is my first and more personal blog. Thank you for your comments and take on SAM. I wish Maine had an organization that could truly represent all and focus on things, like you said, building up the deer herd instead of playing politics.

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    2. Ron SecordMarch 29, 2013

      One thing is for sure Erin, there will never be an organization that will represent all. Simply because you just can't please everyone.

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