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By Steve Maviglio
Gov. Brown, Legislature Should Remove New California Fish & Game Commission President Dan Richards and Change the Law
Something's fishy at the Fish & Game Commission, and the California legislature and Governor Brown ought to do something about it. Now.
A few weeks ago, Schwarzenegger appointee Dan Richards was elected president of the Fish & Game Commission. He got two votes -- his and fellow commissioner Jim Kellogg, while two other members abstained. (There is a vacancy on the Commission that Gov. Brown has not filled).
The reason for his becoming president despite not having a majority of commission members behind him is that the law requires a rotation that automatically put Richards in the president's chair. That's a law that needs to be changed.
Why? Richards is an embarrassment to the State of California and the fishing and hunting community. And the Commission ought to be able to deny its presidency to someone like Richards who is unqualified to lead this important body.
Richards as been an outspoken opponent of the pioneering Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA). That legislation, which received bipartisan support in the legislature, was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and implemented under Republican Gov. Schwarzenegger. Yet Richard last year called Schwarzenegger “a forked-tongue devil" because of his support of this pioneering ocean protection law -- despite being the Republican governor's appointee. He's also thumbed his nose at the state's financial reporting requirements after an FPPC investigation. And he is an unindicted co-conspirator in an Inland Empire land case, according to the Riverside Press Enterprise.
If that wasn't outrageous enough, Richards has again gone over the line. As the photo here shows, Richards took great pride in bagging a beautiful mountain lion in Idaho. It's illegal to do that in California. But that didn't stop Richards from providing the photo to the Western Outdoor News and sarcastically slamming California law. Here's the caption for it: "Asked about California’s mountain lion moratorium, Richards didn’t hesitate. 'I’m glad it’s legal in Idaho.'"
It is time for Governor Brown to make an appointment to the Fish & Game Commission that respects California law and the implementation of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA). And it's time for the Legislature to remove Dan Richards from the Commission and change the law to eliminate the automatic rise of a commission member to the commission's presidency.
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