Not me

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, August 03, 2004

It's my understanding that the Juneau Empire recently published a review of a book written by James W. Brooks, former Alaska commissioner of Fish and Game, entitled "North to Wolf Country."

While I found the book to be well written and a valuable contribution to the literature of the north, I'd like to point out that on Page 303 Mr. Brooks wrote the following in connection with events occurring circa 1972 concerning me:

"Independent Journalist Joe LaRocca, whose writing appears mainly in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, filed suit, alleging I had no authority to permit export of the musk ox and claiming it amounted to unlawfully giving away state property."

This statement is a complete falsehood. Both Kent Sturgis, publisher at Epicenter Press, which published the book, and Mr. Brooks have acknowledged to me in writing that there is no basis in fact for that statement, which I believe compromises my integrity as a news journalist. It is wholly inconsistent with my standing as the first recipient of the Alaska Communications Conservationist of the Year Award presented to me jointly in 1970 by the Alaska Sportsmen's Council and the Alaska branch of the National Wildlife Federation.

In a written statement to me dated June 22, 2004, Mr. Brooks wrote the following:

Dear Joe:

I understand from Kent Sturgis that you feel offended by my reference to you in the book published by Epicenter. It is clear to me now that you were not the person who initiated court action regarding the export of musk ox to Wrangel Island.

Thanks, Jim.

I'd like any readers who may have been drawn to Mr. Brooks' book by the favorable review you published to know the true facts in this matter. Thank you.

Joe LaRocca

North East, Pa.

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