Dan Richards was appointed to California’s Fish and Game Commission by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in February of 2008. A few weeks ago, he was elected the Commission’s president by two votes, his own and that of fellow Commission member Jim Kellogg. The two other members, Michael Sutton and Richard E. Rogers, abstained and, as The California Majority Report notes, there’s something a bit “fishy” about this.
Richards became president simply because the “law requires a rotation that automatically put Richards in the president’s chair.” A commercial real estate developer and the CEO of the Coldwell Banker Commercial-Inland Empire, Richards is a questionable choice to serve in such a role for California’s Fish and Game Commission. As his biography notes, Richards is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association.
Even more, Richards is opposed to the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), which requires the state to evaluate all Marine Protection Areas to conserve marine life and biodiversity. While the MLPA has bipartisan support — it was signed into law by former Democratic Governor Gray Davis and implemented under former Republican Governor Schwarzenegger — Richards has not been shy at expressing his objections to it on the grounds that it imposes a “huge economic burden” on businesses and the state. Due to failing to disclose potential conflicts of interest — namely, his ties to two major land development firms — the Los Angeles-based Endangered Habitats League filed a Fair Political Practices Commission investigation against Richards in October of 2010; the complaint was dismissed.
But Richards has really “gone over the line,” says The California Majority Report, after shooting a mountain lion in Idaho; it is illegal to do this in California. A photo of him with the dead animal appeared in Western Outdoor News with the following caption:
Asked about California’s mountain lion moratorium, Richards didn’t hesitate. ‘I’m glad it’s legal in Idaho.’
The California Majority Report notes that it is high time that Governor Jerry Brown appoint someone to the California Fish & Game Commission who respects the MLPA and California law and remove Richards. How in the world did someone who is opposed to the state’s efforts to protect wildlife end up heading the California Fish & Game Commission which is supposed to be “involved in the management and wise use of California’s fish and wildlife resources”?
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