Letters to the editor for Aug. 15, 2013

Union Democrat staff /

Frog forum lacked fair presentation

To the Editor:

On Aug. 6, Representatives McClintock and Nunes chaired a forum at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds that was everything they could have wanted to support their political positions by steering the forum in one direction without equal time for opposite viewpoints and facts.

This forum invited several speakers, all of which, with the exception of a representative from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, were opposed to a proposal that would add nearly 2 million acres mostly within federal national forest lands in the state as critical habitat for endangered specific frogs and toads.

What was endangered in this meeting was the semblance of a fair presentation; missing the scientists and environmentalists who if allowed, would have presented the side not heard from, one that could have offered non-emotional fact-based science and clarification of the wording within the proposal.

The audience, overwhelmingly in opposition to the proposal were those who use the federal lands for cattle grazing, timber harvesting, mining, recreation activities such as off-road riding, etc. Some speakers believe the proposal would hurt tourism, and employment. The speakers, some obviously anti-government involvement followers, mixed personal feelings into the exchange and made some statements that were weak on facts or plainly incorrect.

Like sharks smelling blood in the water, McClintock and Nunes capitalized on the emotions in the audience and played to their fears by McClintock using terms like "Environmental Leftists", asking the Fish and Game Service, if "They give a damn?".

Mark Twain said, "A lie can travel halfway around the world before truth can get its boots on." The same holds for half-truths. Without opposite views and facts how are we to make an informed decision?

Wayne Kirkbride

Twain Harte

11905557
The Union Democrat
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