Monday, May 07, 2012

Fish and Game president Dan Richards with his Idaho kill.
 Yes Bob, It's All About the Mountain Lions

By Diana L. Chapman

   "Here is the Sixty Four Thousand Dollar Question, is this about the hunting of mountain lions? or the fact that Mr. Richards doesn't give a s_it what you think?"
    That's what conservative blogger Bob Bishop wrote after reading my column  about  California Fish and Game president Dan Richards needing to step down.
   So let me answer your question Bob. I am not confident that this leader will protect our pumas, since we banned hunting them since 1972. And yes, Bob, it's all about the cougars. We don't care what Richards thinks. He already stated he doesn't care what we think, refuses to step down and he's supposed to be one of our leaders. Now, that is scary.
   Many City Watch readers agreed in an informal survey that Richard's must go.
   Here's how the origins of the the hunt went down.
   The commission president came under intense scrutiny in January for accepting a $6,800 guided hunt at an Idaho ranch where he appears happily in photos that went viral on the internet holding the dead, 3-year-old puma he shot. While legal in Idaho, it's not here. The very people Richard's works for prohibited these hunts.
   After the uproar, Richards paid the amount back -- later than the allowed 30 days -- and received a stern warning from the Fair Political Practices Commission, basically with a rebuke not to do so again.
   But many of us here are not happy about him getting off with no punishments because his ethics obviously don't match that of our state.
   Reader Lori Hamilton wrote: "What an idiot! This idiot needs to resign or get booted out of his position. You can't protect endangered wildlife in one state and run off killing wildlife while visiting another."
   Removing him seems to be favored by City Watch readers despite that our gutless state leaders -- who at once bumbled around demanding Richard's departure --  backed off trembling when gun and hunting lobbyists rallied their support for the hunter.
  The City Watch survey where 85 voters participated reflects that 58 voted for the commission president to depart and 27 did not agree. Or roughly 68 percent are against Richards staying and nearly 33 percent believed he should not leave because what he did was legal.
   However, as I've said before, this is not an issue about legality -- although that comes into play because one wonders if Richards would ever have paid that money back if all the commotion hadn't started.  This is about his ethics. And not having the wolf guarding the gates of the lambs.
   Wrote reader John  Coghlan, "How do we get him out? Start a web petition and latch into animal rights groups? Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy -- so many. We need to demonstrate that "mindless male machos are not wanted in this society.
   "I am going to call Brown's office and complain at least."
   Please do John!
   Wrote another Dan Carstens: "Thank you for the great story in City Watch on the shameful boasting about the shooting of a mountain lion. Lots of people see recent legislation, including SB 1221 to ban hounding of bears (and bob cats) as a response to the commission president's anachronistic attitude."
   The way Carstens explains it, the Fish and Game commission earlier wanted to explore the expanded use of hounds to hunt bruins and the smaller cats. We must not let that happen.
   State Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), calling the practice "cruel" which it is, wants a law that prohibits the use of this callous canine activity -- which not only leads to the deaths of the animals they are chasing -- but to the dogs.
   That's why the Humane Society of the United States is in full support of the bill.
   "Hounding is an inhumane and unsporting practice where trophy hunters use packs of radio-collared dogs to chase down bears and bobcats before the hunter shoots the terrified animals off a tree branch," the society said on its website. "It also leads to dog welfare problems and a drain on animal sheltering resources."
   On April 24, the bill passed the state's Natural Resources Committee on a 3-5 vote and today the California Senate Appropriations Committee approved it.
    California let's pass this bill.
   And let's not, for a moment, forget what Richards has done.