Opinion » Mail

February 7 - February 14, 2007

Corrections

Freedy Johnston was incorrectly identified in last week's issue (BW, Noise, February 7).

Crying out wolves

Before Gov. C.L. Otter of Idaho jumps the gun and starts killing 80 percent of the wolves in the state of Idaho, he should update his portfolio on predatory prey relationship with real science, not ignorance.

He would learn that chronic wasting disease, (CWD is similar to mad cow disease and can affect humans) is spreading across the United States, affecting the deer and elk populations, except for the areas that have healthy wolf populations, Northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, Yellowstone National Park, Montana and Idaho. Since wolves tend to take the sick, the old and the less fit, their presence leads to stronger, healthier ungulate population (deer, elk, moose).

The Native Americans hunted side by side with the wolf, and as far as we can tell, the wolf never depleted their food resource. The Native Americans had a saying. "It is the caribou which feeds the wolf ... but it is the wolf which keeps the caribou strong." It may just turn out that the wolf may be the hunter's best friend. This decision to kill 80 percent of the wolves within the state of Idaho is not based on any real science. In fact, it's bad science. Hey, governor, "Wake up and smell the flowers." You may learn something new.

--Joseph S. Butera,

President and co-founder of The Northeast Ecological Recovery Society

Floral Park, New York

One of Gov. Otter's first actions in office is just downright ludicrous. To stand before the public and proclaim to want to be the first to shoot a wolf, and to suggest that the dairy industry is affected by an "exploding wolf population," is more than embarrassing--these actions are inflammatory, ignorant and irresponsible. Maybe he has not had the experience of watching the elk dash away when herds of motorized equipment access the massive number of roads around his camp. Maybe he has not seen the habitat changes that have occurred very prominently over the last 30 years or longer. Maybe he hasn't walked backwoods areas and found a plastic bag full of elk or deer bones dumped by some out-of-season hunter.

Others have. The scientific evidence has been mounting and passed the threshold of good, solid evidence. Until we respond to the health of the elk habitat, animal numbers will continue to oscillate exactly as they are. Increasing lion hunting has been tried; doubling black bear hunting has been tried. If we continue to make the same emotional decisions without scientific knowledge, we will get no different results. Does the state of Idaho have the guts to use solid evidence on elk and wolves to make solid decisions? I am afraid we're not off to a good start.

It is human overpopulation and unwise technological decisions that are killing other species and the planet. That is the issue that needs to be faced, not wolves or cougars or other dwindling predators.

Without man, the planet, nature and the herds and predators would be in balance.

--Dinda Evans,

Andong, S. Korea

BAD NEWS FOR IDAHO'S WORKING FAMILIES

On Monday, President Bush proposed a budget for fiscal year 2008 that would devastate vital public supports that working families depend on, including drastic cuts to the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Head Start, food stamps, childcare, job training, Medicare and Medicaid and many other vital services.

Then on Tuesday, the Idaho Community Action Network released the 2007 "Job Gap Study: Searching for Work that Pays," which shows that in Idaho, for every three job seekers, there is only one available job that pays a living wage for a single adult. And that ratio gets wider depending on household size. For a household of three, one adult and two children, the breadwinner would have to earn at least $22.23 an hour to meet their basic needs.

Here in Idaho, jobs paying over $20 an hour are few and far between. How can low-wage workers participate in what the president calls an ownership society when they can't even pay for the basics like food and rent? And then this week, too, the Idaho Legislature got into the act. Instead of supporting legislation to help working families, they refused to even print a bill to allow the minimum wage to increase with inflation, rejected the governor's grocery tax proposal to provide real tax relief to families making under $50,000 and decided to keep making it hard for local communities to develop community colleges, vital to creating a quality workforce that can compete for high-paying jobs.

Our government--local, state and federal--has an opportunity and a duty to ensure that American families live healthy, stable lives, while at the same time building and strengthening the economy. In partnership with business, labor and communities, our government can increase the number of jobs that pay a living wage. Furthermore, policy-makers at the state and federal levels need to ensure that social programs are fully funded so they can get the help they need. The President has shown time and time again that he would rather cut taxes for the rich than provide needed services for the poor.

It's up to us. Speak out. --Roger Sherman,Program Director, United Vision for Idaho, Boise

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