Fish & Game head fires back at his critics

March 1, 2012 12:33:10 AM PST
The embattled president of the California Fish and Game Commission bluntly told his critics in the legislature there is zero chance of him resigning after online pictures of his legal kill of a mountain lion in Idaho prompted calls from Democrats for him to step down.

In a letter, Dan Richards said: "...my 100% legal activity outside of California, or anyone else's for that matter, is none of your business."

California voters banned the killing of mountain lions in 1990.

The Sierra Club thinks Richards, who was appointed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, exercised poor judgment by thumbing his nose at that law. They want him out.

"This is not about mountain lion hunting in Idaho. It's about who leads the Fish and Game Commission and sets the policy for protecting wildlife in California. The Sierra Club does not believe that this is a responsible person," said Jim Metropulos of the Sierra Club.

It would have been illegal to bring the dead mountain lion back to California. According to Richard's letter, the group went on to dine on the mountain lion for dinner.

Avid hunter and State Senator Tom Harman thinks the Democrats' call for Richards' resignation is a waste of time, considering the other problems the state faces.

The Orange County Republican says you can't expect state laws to dictate how people behave in other states and that California is wrong to ban mountain lion hunting, given the increased attacks on people.

"The mountain lion population has grown significantly and expanded. They are now more and more prevalent in urban areas," Harman said.

Only the legislature can remove Commissioner Richards with a majority vote. It's unclear what Democrats will do next, but they do not like his letter.

"It's one thing to follow the law and to hunt in the way he did. It's another thing to respond in sort of an 'I'll do what I want' kind of a manner," Sen. President Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said.

Richards is paid $100 per meeting as president of the Fish and Game Commission.


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