To the Editor:

I have re-read the commentary by Thomas Mitchell and the letter to the editor by Byron George concerning the designation of the Great Basin area as a National Monument by President Obama. I am not a die-hard environmentalist nor a develop at any cost tycoon. However, Mr. George makes several good points regarding the actions of one Cliven Bundy. First of all, the federal lands are not “owned” by the people. They are held in stewardship by the people and we elect the people who oversee this stewardship, right or wrong. If we, the people, disagree with the decisions of this management, we can elect those representatives who will serve the will of the people (although with turn-out percentages of voters in elections, those who don’t cast their votes get what they deserve).  Cliven Bundy does not own this land, the people oversee it and when the people, through their appointed guardians, attempt to rectify an illegal possession of our land, are threatened with people who disregard the authority, the Constitution and are threaten armed conflict, democracy is lost. Yes, Mr. Mitchell, I did think we lived in a democracy.

The comments by our state “representatives” were purely anti-Obama rhetoric despite the fact that this authority was given in 1906. Perhaps the best comment was by Rep. Joe Heck who stated “It is beyond belief that an area “larger” than the state of Rhode Island is the smallest area – with proper care and management of this land”. According to national statistics, Rhode Island comprises 1,545 square miles. If Mr. Mitchell is correct (assumption), the Great Basin National Monument comprises 700,000 acres which equates to 1,094 square miles. I have not been educated in the new math but it would appear to me that 1,094 square miles is less than 1,545 square miles. Perhaps a refresher course in math is due.

Michael Stilley