Archive for January 17th, 2012
Former New York Times columnist Timothy Egan has an opinion piece in Sunday’s Times which heats up the usually staid Grey Lady and shreds the Teabaggers. Sample quote:
Thus far, the Worst Congress Ever has done nothing but show that the United States can be a nonfunctioning democracy when it wants to, like Italy but with all-you-can-eat buffets. In a single demi-term, it nearly shut down the government, fouled a fledgling economic recovery with a pointless fight over the debt ceiling, and then threatened to withhold spending money for 160 million working Americans by raising the payroll tax. Brinkmanship is its only game.
Calling Ron Paul a “daft, grandfatherly skinflint” scores some points, too. Worth a read.
Alaskans may remember that Mr. Rossi was originally hired in January 2009 as assistant commissioner of “abundance management” – a newly invented position at Fish and Game – as a Palin family favor. Mr. Rossi’s credentials seem to consist largely of close family ties to Palin’s family. And a willingness to kill an unlimited number of wolves, of course.
In a classic instance of The Peter Principle, Governor Parnell subsequently made Mr. Rossi chief of the Alaska Department of Fish & Game Wildlife Division. That’s the agency manages that wildlife and habitat across the state. A key part of the Division’s duties involve working with the Board of Game to adopt hunting regulations. Mr. Rossi had no obvious professional qualifications for this job, either – 39 former Fish & Game supervisors and biologists signed a letter calling for Rossi to be ousted. The letter pointed out that Mr. Rossi, who does not have a college degree, lacked the education and scientific training to head the Division. Then-Commissioner Denby Lloyd defended Mr. Rossi:
I am confident that his professional experience, administrative abilities, and familiarity with wildlife issues in Alaska will ably serve the resources and the division as well as the people of Alaska.
So while Mr. Rossi is innocent until proven guilty, on the evidence, former Commissioner Lloyd was correct only for a very, very narrow definition of “ably serve.”
Of course, former Commissioner Lloyd turned out to be no prize, either. He plead guilty to DUI back in June after blowing nearly twice the legal maximum on his Breathalyzer test. And
was fired retired shortly thereafter.
WC is not persuaded that Lloyd’s successor, Cora Campbell, has the chops to do the job. It’s not that she is young – as William Pitt said, when he became Prime Minister of Britain at age 24,”The atrocious crime of being young.” It’s that her limited experience is in fisheries, not game management. And it takes some very good people skills to influence a Board of Game that can’t see past next year’s moose hunt. On the evidence, Commissioner Campbell is not succeeding.
In the absence of adult supervision, the Board of Game is running amuck, killing any predator that might kill a moose. Never mind that there is no competent science to support this kind of game mismanagement.The Board of Game is seriously entertaining the use of bear snares, such an indiscriminate killing device that even former Governor Tony Knowles is outraged. There’s talk of aerial hunting of both black and brown bears. All this in the absence of any data that bear populations are elevated, or somehow suddenly constitute a greater risk to moose populations.
In the meantime, according to WC’s contacts at ADF&G, morale among the staff is at an all-time low. Sound principles of biology are being ignored; big game is being mis-managed for short-term gains.
The Alaska Constitution requires game be managed for sustainability. It doesn’t say, for example, “Moose, nothing but the moose, so help me, God.” The science is difficult enough without politics entering into it. And when the politically-appointed leadership at ADF&G can’t even obey the laws of Alaska, there’s little hope for predator species in Alaska.