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Governor Parnell, show some respect for wildlife, and Alaskans

Posted: March 19, 2012 - 12:03am

Former of Fish & Game Conservation Director Corey Rossi’s wildlife violations are an embarrassment to Alaska, a disgrace to the Parnell administration, an insult to the good people who work at Fish & Game and an affront to all Alaskans. Unfortunately, Rossi was not the only individual in Alaska’s wildlife management who should resign.

Cliff Judkins, the current chair of the Board of Game, was with Corey Rossi and former BoG member Bob Bell on a musk ox hunt during which they were caught with trophy horns that were supposed to have been destroyed as a condition of their subsistence hunt. Nevertheless, Governor Parnell did not ask Judkins to step down from the BoG or even from his position as chair.

Members of Advisory Committees (local volunteer groups statewide that send recommendations on proposals to the Board of Game and the Board of Fish) are not currently vetted. While most AC members are dedicated, knowledgeable citizens, some recent and/or current AC members in our state have wildlife violations, sex violations; and even though the Juneau-Douglas Advisory Committee is a deservedly well respected group, one of its former members was a convicted felon. (Note that the JDAC now asks each applicant about his/her record, even though the state does not require such vetting.)

The Joint Boards (Board of Game and Board of Fish) is currently addressing this AC vetting problem, however some members of the Board of Game and the Board of Fish have wildlife violations themselves, including Parnell’s most recently confirmed appointee. Parnell knew of this appointee’s wildlife violations when he appointed him, but chose not to tell our legislators during the confirmation process.

And Parnell’s most recent appointee, Lynn Keogh, Jr., who is currently in the process of being confirmed by the state Legislature, has a fairly lengthy civil court record (http://www.courtrecords.alaska.gov/pa/pa.urd/PAMW6500) including listings in Anchorage, Glennallen, Homer, Kenai, and Palmer. Additionally, despite the state mandate for diversity in the Board of Game, Mr. Keogh’s resume clearly shows that he brings nothing new to the BoG.

Predator control in Alaska is out of control because many of those who manage Alaska’s wildlife are out of control. Governor Parnell, stop letting underqualified and disreputable people manage Alaska’s wildlife. Clean up your house: Replace Mr. Rossi with someone who has the professional qualifications, education, experience, and personal integrity necessary for the position; reform wildlife management in the last frontier, and appoint reputable people with diverse backgrounds to our Board of Game. Alaska’s wildlife belongs to all Alaskans. Start treating it — and the Alaskans whom you represent — with respect.

• Brown is a resident of Juneau.

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