On the trail

 

If you're looking for a little financial help with your off-the-grid dream home, don't look to vice-presidential candidate Dick Cheney. At an Oct. 10 campaign stop at a recreational-vehicle plant in Yakima, Wash., Cheney said, "You have a solar panel on your house, you get tax relief. If you drive a solar-powered car, you get tax relief. That's goofy."

Reform Party presidential candidate Pat Buchanan had even stronger words for the 147 protesters arrested at Denver's Columbus Day parade, accusing them of "neo-fascist tactics" during his brief campaign stop in the city. The demonstrators, who say Christopher Columbus was an instigator of genocide against Native Americans, had called for the explorer's name to be removed from the parade. Though parade organizers initially agreed, they reneged on the deal. A Rocky Mountain News editorial dismissed Buchanan's comments as "cultural stupidity."

Another culture clash is under way in the Pacific Northwest, where rural and urban voters are split over anti-trapping ballot initiatives. Backers of the Washington and Oregon proposals describe trapping as a cruel practice. Agricultural groups and some wildlife managers say trapping predators is necessary to control damage to farms and ranches.

If Arizona's Proposition 102 passes in November, anti-trapping proposals and other wildlife welfare measures will be much harder to pass in the state. The proposal says that any future initiative related to the killing of wild animals would require a two-thirds majority to become law. Supporters, including Republican Gov. Jane Hull, say previous initiatives have hampered wildlife management practices in Arizona.

Voters in northern Arizona's Coconino County will weigh in on another hot topic: a $330 million development on the rim of the Grand Canyon (HCN, 8/30/99: Grand Canyon development spakrs debate). The Canyon Forest Village proposal has the blessing of the Forest Service, the Park Service and many environmental groups, who say it's a "smart-growth" alternative to gateway community sprawl. Opponents, including the local chapter of the Sierra Club, have adopted the slogan "It's Just Too Much." They're pushing a countywide referendum, Proposition 400, that would overturn the county board of supervisors' approval of the development.

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