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The Wild

I have a simple rule of thumb to decide how to vote on the ever-more-complicated, ever-more numerous propositions that infest the ballot here in California come election time. It is this: Anything that is supported by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is something that I will enthusiastically vote against. The late Mr. Jarvis and a co-conspirator named Paul Gann managed to get a property tax measure passed in 1978 that ruined the public schools in our fair state and caused much other mischief that we still suffer from.

Sometimes, not often enough but sometimes, the bad guys get their just deserts. (And yes, that's deserts not desserts in case you wondered. But I digress.)

...the next 11 months promise to be even worse than the last 85!

By my oh-so-sophisticated calculations we have now endured 85 months of the Bush assault on our environmental laws, our environmental agencies, and our environment itself.

Since the 1930s—following decades of shooting, trapping, and poisoning—Colorado has been a wolf-free zone. There are two ways wolves can return to Colorado: with human help, or under their own power.  The Department of the Interior over the last few months made decisions calculated to block both avenues of return.

We've had a spate of stories here in northern California about the crash of the fall run of king salmon returning to spawn in the watershed of the Sacramento River. Historically, many hundreds of thousands of the fish would return annually; this year the count was around ninety thousand, which spells disaster for salmon fishermen up and down the coast. It is also one more indicator that the river system, and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in particular, is very sick, largely because of the enormous volume of water diverted via giant pumps for agricultural and domestic use.

Another domino has toppled from the ranks of the most virulently anti-environment members of Congress. The election of 2006 took out Richard Pombo, then chairman of the House Resources Committee. Last week came the news that his comrade-in-chainsaws, Rep. John Doolittle, will retire at the end of this congress. Mr. Doolittle, who represents northeastern California, is being investigated for ties to Jack Abramoff and has chosen not to seek reelection under heavy pressure from fellow Republicans, who feared losing the seat to a Democrat.

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