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Sheriff draws crowd at Basin Tea Party meeting

M. Kate West
Chester Editor

Plumas County Sheriff Greg Hagwood was the keynote speaker at the Almanor Tea Party meeting May 4 at the Chester Memorial Hall.

During this presentation he took his message beyond access to the forests to the balance of power between the people and the federal government.

“The framers of our Constitution, when considered in the context of their time in history, crafted one of the most phenomenal living documents every produced anywhere at any time,” he said. “That our Constitution is as relevant today as the day it was signed is a testament to the foresight the framers were blessed with and those framers, I assure you, are looking upon us this very night and collectively are saying, ‘We told you so.’”

He issued a message of caution about those that quietly tip the balance of power. To emphasize his message he offered two quotes, one from James Madison and the second from Thomas Jefferson.

“I believe there are more instances of abridgement of freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations,” Madison said.

He said Thomas Jefferson cautioned, “A government big enough to give you everything is as well big enough to take everything away.”

Continuing, Hagwood said, “Our republic was formed very deliberately and afforded the federal government with very limited and specifically enumerated responsibilities and powers creating a relationship between the stated and the federal government.

“But, like any relationship, balance can be lost. One partner can, over time, assume, take or be given a disproportional role.”

He said, in his opinion, this can happen out of convenience, a loss of focus or even complacency.

“When this happens you find the tipping point. My sense is we are at or very near that tipping point. We never should have allowed ourselves to be in this position but here we are,” Hagwood said.

He again spoke about the intent of the framers and role of the federal government and said, “The government, as our partner in the relationship, is going to have to listen and make some changes so balance is returned.”

He advocated for citizens and local and state governments to be more involved in what he terms “self determination” rather than “central government determination.”

“This must happen and it must begin to happen now. If the situation with the U.S. Forest Service serves as a catalyst for the movement back to balance, so much the better. The sooner we recognize our responsibilities as a county and state the sooner we can fix the problem,” Hagwood said.

He suggested a plan of action to correct what he calls a “completely lopsided relationship.”

“First we meet together and become educated on the issue. Secondly we take our voice beyond these four walls — we talk to our neighbors, we take it to our county officials, our state officials and then our federal officials.”

He said other outreach efforts would include writing letters, travel to other counties to attend meetings and the development of alliances with those other counties.

He also encouraged the meeting attendees to review and sign the letters provided by the Almanor Tea Party.

He especially encouraged everyone to remember that local Forest Service employees are not the problem.

“I know many Forest Service employees. They are our neighbors, our friends, our family members and they are not responsible for the rule change or the Travel Management Plan,” Hagwood said.

He said he had met with a Forest Service engineer May 3 who had “expressed a growing fear for their own personal safety due to the controversy over these issues.”

“This is unacceptable,” Hagwood said. “A measured, reasoned civil and intelligent presentation of our position must be the order of the day.”

He said it was important that local efforts not be distinguished as unruly, uncivil or lacking legitimacy due to poor behavior.

This is what I tell my staff, he said: “Be reasonable, be honest, be polite and professional; any representation to the contrary will erase your credibility and make the work to be done just that much more difficult.”


Our constitution expressly addresses our right to drive off road on public lands even when starting fires with catalytic converters, destroying fragile habitats, and causing erosion. I can't find it in the Constitution, but it must be there somewhere.
pretty soon they are going to tell us we cant swim in lakes or use boats because it damages the water or fly planes or drive cars because it damages the air. this is just the beginning. and its ridiculous.
would you rather not be able to use the land for camping, hunting fishing etc? if you cant drive twenty feet in on PUBLIC land how do you suppose that will work out? pretty soon you will be saying people shouldnt be able to swim in lakes because it damages the water or fly planes because of the air.
There is a difference between protecting the land "for the people" or "from the people". Keeping roads and trails open is not driving through a wet meadow.
Tired Citizen Sunday, 15 May 2011
What right is the sheriff protecting? To preserve our right to drive where we want across the Forest? The FS is trying to balance the management of public lands for "all" people. Not only for those that want to drive through wet meadows. Its not "your" right to damage public lands.
I support the Sheriff's position. The federal government has and continues to overstep its prescribed boundaries and I'm not sure why people are OK with this. That's the root of the problem and the one we need to address. It's a matter of true freedom (or not)for the people, nothing more.
Sheriff was elected to protect our rights guaranteed by the Constitution. In his County, his authority is higher than that of the Federal or State Government. What he did was not only his job but a sworn duty. He is exactly the kind of Sheriff I want protecting my rights.
Concerned citizen Saturday, 14 May 2011
He CAN have an opinion. Using his position of power to support a particular segment of society only is a violation of his position. He is not being law enforcement when speaking for a political group.
so elected law enforcment cant have political views? he is doing his job. trying to protect you and everyone in the county from what the greedy higher ups are trying to strip you of and make money off of. open your eyes!
Concerned citizen Friday, 13 May 2011
If the Sheriff wants to excercise his rights as a citizen then let him address the crowd as such. To use his office to advance a political agenda is abuse.
Oh. If the Sheriff is doing this off duty as in on his own free time he has the right to go to any event he wishes.<br /><br />Even to the county fair.
Then when the Sheriff does go back to busting Meth Labs people will whine. <br /><br />"Those poor druggies are being treated unfair as they aren't harming anyone!*<br /><br /> Get a grip on yourselves!
The bigger the goverment the more freedom they will take away to promise you their savior and once you signed your souls they will keep all the spoils of victory knowing no one will compete and then we have a bloody civil war 2.0<br /><br />*points towards users above* "Typical Liberal response*
However, to advocate a greater influence by local, let's say County government, is to ignore the stupidity and self serving interests of bodies like the Lassen Board of Supervisors for instance.
Sheriff is an ELECTED official and therefore, unavoidably, a political position subject to political considerations.
Concerned citizen Thursday, 12 May 2011
I think the Sheriff should be more concerned with cleaning up the meth labs and general crime instead of politics. After, he was elected as a "Law Enforcement Officer" not a Tea Party Booster.




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