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A bad idea

ED­I­TOR: Our Men­do­cino Board of Su­per­vi­sors is con­sid­er­ing ap­proval of a $170,000 con­tract with USDA Wildlife Ser­vices to in­dis­crim­i­nately shoot, poi­son, and trap wildlife preda­tors that might hurt ranch­ing and agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion. I think it’s a bad idea.

County im­pacts from the COVID cri­sis has made our fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion much tighter than usual. Spend­ing $170,000 of county money for this un­pop­u­lar, short-sighted, un­nec­es­sary pro­gram needs to be dis­con­tin­ued at this time of bud­get short­falls.

Preda­tors are a le­git­i­mate is­sue for ranch­ers, and th­ese landown­ers al­ready have the le­gal right to shoot wild an­i­mals en­coun­tered in the act of mo­lest­ing or in­jur­ing their live­stock, they can also get depre­da­tion per­mits from CDFW. Per­haps a por­tion of the county money saved from not re­new­ing the USDA Wildlife Ser­vices con­tract could as­sist ranch­ers with al­ter­na­tive hu­mane ap­proaches to limit live­stock depre­da­tion. Neigh­bor­ing Sonoma and Marin coun­ties have tried this ap­proach with pos­i­tive out­comes. Tak­ing sci­ence based non-lethal ap­proaches can get good re­sults.

Wildlife be­longs to the State of Cal­i­for­nia, they are not landowner prop­erty. With­out a per­mit you don’t have the right to kill wild an­i­mals liv­ing on or pass­ing through your land. Wildlife has an in­trin­sic value that should be re­spected. Sub­si­diz­ing ir­re­spon­si­ble ranch­ing tech­niques with county fund­ing for; shoot­ing, poi­sons, and traps, isn’t the only way of pro­tect­ing live­stock from preda­tors.

Isn’t there some other county pri­or­ity that would ben­e­fit from sav­ing this $170,000 for more vi­tal ex­pen­di­tures in our county?

Am­a­teur his­to­rian of the West

ED­I­TOR: I write as an am­a­teur his­to­rian of the West. I have grown up in Utah, Mon­tana, Wy­oming and Cal­i­for­nia. As the for­mer Na­tional Di­rec­tor of the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment, I trav­eled weekly to the West. One of my higher aims was to find ways of unit­ing our di­verse pop­u­la­tion around a com­mon theme of shared pub­lic lands. Fre­quently I would dis­cover “his­toric names” that re­flected se­ri­ous and dan­ger­ous racism. As an ex­am­ple, Ne­gro Bill Canyon in Grand Canyon was a rem­nant from the 1870s. We changed the name to avoid the con­no­ta­tion, clearly meant, of su­pe­rior-in­fe­rior. Gen. Bragg was an out-and­out racist. The lingering racist name at­tached to your beau­ti­ful city needs to be changed, so all are wel­come and com­fort­able. I hope you will ful­fill your lead­er­ship du­ties and move your city into the unit­ing, 21st cen­tury.

In­de­pen­dence Day thoughts

ED­I­TOR: “God Bless Amer­ica,” on this an­niver­sary of our coun­try, I am think­ing of the year 1775, when the 13 Amer­i­can colonies, fought a war for in­de­pen­dence from Bri­tish rule. The ruler of Great Bri­tain, King Ge­orge, the third, im­posed taxes on the colonies with­out any rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Par­lia­ment. A tax on tea was the fi­nal in­sult to the newly formed na­tion, and re­sulted in the “Bos­ton Tea Party.”

The colonists were sub­ject to many hard­ships on their jour­ney to Amer­ica and once on land faced un­fa­mil­iar wilder­ness, wildlife, and na­tive In­di­ans. “Tax­a­tion with­out rep­re­sen­ta­tion” was the de­cid­ing fac­tor for the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War. Congress chose Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton as Com­man­der in Chief of Amer­ica’s armed forces. He led them to vic­tory through eight years of bloody, freez­ing con­flict.

King Ge­orge the third presided over the loss of the Amer­i­can Revo­lu­tion in 1783.

Th­ese are my thoughts to­day. Peace is not al­ways pos­si­ble and en­gage­ment in hos­til­i­ties is at times the only so­lu­tion. My free­dom to­day is the re­sult of the Revo­lu­tion in 1775. Our free­dom through the years was of­ten been pro­tected by other hos­til­i­ties, and by the many stal­wart cit­i­zens, that paid the ul­ti­mate price to main­tain free­dom. This is our his­tory, we must never for­get, we must be vig­i­lant and pro­tect this pre­cious legacy for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. Th­ese are my thoughts to­day.

Our Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence

ED­I­TOR: We watched “Hamil­ton” last night. Rec­om­mend sign­ing up for Dis­ney+, if only to see this amaz­ing work (And you couldn’t get th­ese seats for $1,000). See­ing peo­ple of color as our found­ing fathers is es­pe­cially mov­ing in this time. What kind of na­tion might we have if we hadn’t built it on the backs of en­slaved peo­ple?

Hadn’t no­ticed in the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence, we ac­cuse King Ge­orge thusly: “He has ex­cited do­mes­tic in­sur­rec­tions amongst us, and has en­deav­oured to bring on the in­hab­i­tants of our fron­tiers, the mer­ci­less In­dian Sav­ages, whose known rule of war­fare, is an undis­tin­guished de­struc­tion of all ages, sexes and con­di­tions.”

The real in­hab­i­tants of “our fron­tiers” were, of course, those In­di­ans. And we too might get mer­ci­less if our land, lives and cul­ture were stolen.

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