Liberals vs. Hunters in California Mountain Lion 'Scandal'

Cam Edwards at NRANews.com pointed out to me that liberals in California (and "animal welfare" lobbyists across the country) are trying to demote the head of the California Game and Wildlife Commission for hunting and shooting a mountain lion in Idaho (where it's legal).

Dan Richards was pictured in a hunting newsletter smiling over his kill. Hunting mountain lions in California has been illegal for 40 years, first banned by Gov. Ronald Reagan and then by a statewide ballot initiative. The San Jose Mercury News reported:

More than 60 people turned out Wednesday at the California Fish and Game Commission meeting to speak in support of Dan Richards, whom state lawmakers could remove from the powerful body for shooting a mountain lion in a case that has drawn national attention.

But hours after the largely pro-hunting crowd left, in a little-noticed move, Richards' fellow commissioners sprung a parliamentary trap. By a 4-1 tally, they voted to change the way the commission -- which sets rules for hunting, fishing and endangered species in California -- chooses its president.

The vote placed an item on the commission's May 23 agenda that would repeal the current rules and allow the panel to remove Richards as president when it meets in Monterey that day.

If the rule change is successful, Richards would stay on the commission. But his influence as president -- a role that allows him to set the agenda, speak for the commission and run its meetings -- would be taken away.

Liberals, including the Humane Society, the Sierra Club, 40 Democratic members of the state Assembly and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, called on Richards to resign, arguing that he had ignored the will of a majority of Californians. Richards, a San Bernardino County Republican, lifetime NRA  member and real estate agent, has said he will not resign. He can be removed only by a majority vote in both houses of the Legislature. Appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2008, Richards will probably not be reappointed by Gov. Jerry Brown in January when his term expires.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis