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Commissioners facing realities of governance with Gopher issue

Photo by Ty Smedes

– Editor’s Note:
During last Fall’s campaign, I contacted county and state representatives to get input on comments by then-candidates Edwards & Hutchings which I thought were mostly a bunch of campaign hot-air. One of the topics on which I queried was the pocket gopher issue. I was told if elected, there would be little they could do about this issue due to federal law. While the “gopher” became yet another highly partisan issue to stir emotions and votes during the campaign, this too, became another political pawn by omitting key facts and sensationalizing the narrative. Then-Thurston County Commissioner Romero penned an outstanding letter summarizing the gopher situation, published here June 11, 2016. The newly-elected Commissioners are now being tempered in their job experiences of governance, something far different than unsubstantiated campaign bluster. This quote from Aeschylus also pertains to the battle of a campaign for public office, as well:
In war, truth is the first casualty.”

– “Gopher realities sinking in for commissioners”
“Thurston County commissioners are finally starting to grasp the hard realities posed by a threatened species of pocket gopher. The challenge is harder to shoo away than some believed.

South county residents’ anger about protections for gopher habitat helped elect Gary Edwards and John Hutchings last fall. The two political independents joined the three-member commission in late December, replacing two Democrats who strongly supported environmental protections for air, water and land.

Edwards, a former Republican sheriff with a shoot-from-the-hip style, threatened as a candidate to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to halt the gopher rules.

Hutchings was also very critical of the county’s land-use actions, which have slowed a handful of projects or added environmental study costs.

After the November election, Edwards and Hutchings backed away from any idea of a lawsuit.”

Unfortunately, Edwards is still trying to put up roadblocks to taking any sensible action.

He’s been sensationalizing the impacts that wise land stewardship requires. Eager to spread fear, he’s suggested gopher protections now threaten salmon and claims that only rich people will be able to live in rural areas,” quoting The Olympian Editorial Board. [This blogger concurs.]
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Posted by Steve on April 18, 2017 at 12:01 am | Permalink

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