Dear Animal Lovers:
Martin Austermuhle of DCIst.com writes, below, to quarrel with
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s problems with DC’s house
vermin protection law, which I wrote about in the last issue of themail.
Cuccinelli reads the DC law as it is written He believes that it covers
some kinds of rats and mice, and requires that they be live-trapped and
relocated, the same as it requires for raccoons, squirrels, bats,
snakes, and other species.
Austermuhle claims that the law doesn’t cover mice and rats. That's
how Councilmember Mary Cheh explained it when she introduced it, and how
I understood it. But read the article that I quoted in the last issue (http://cnsnews.com/news/article/va-ag-fears-dc-law-may-relocate-rehabilitated-rat-families-virginia-0).
Only some types of rats and mice — “commensal rodents,” species
that commonly share living quarters and food with humans — are
exempted, and can be legally exterminated. Cuccinelli's communications
director is quoted as saying, “While certain commensal rodents are
exempted from the law, the rice rat and the deer mouse are species that
wildlife control experts note are within the District that are NOT
defined as commensal rodents, so they would appear not to be exempt from
the law.” An exterminator would have to identify which species of rats
and mice were in a house before he determined whether he could kill them
or had to live-trap and relocate them, and if he identified rice rats or
deer mice, he could not use poison or fatal traps. They and other
household pests — again, such as raccoons, squirrels, bats, snakes,
etc. — would have to be relocated as intact family groups, either
released into the wild or given to licensed wildlife rehabilitators.
WTOP’s Mark Segraves has written a “fact check” of Cuccinelli’s
but the “fact check” just discounts Cuccinelli’s plain reading of
the law and accepts at face value the claims of the original sponsors of
the law — the Washington Humane Society (which drafted the law for
Cheh); City Wildlife (which is seeking DC funds to establish a wildlife
rehabilitation center); and John Hadidian, who runs a for-profit pest
control company as a subsidiary of the Humane Society. The Cheh law
privileges Hadidian’s company and its methods, and disadvantages all
of his competitors, so Hadidian naturally thinks the law is a good one.
Segraves argues that while the Cheh bill says that only commensal
rodents are exempted from the law, the law won’t be enforced against
homeowners or pest control companies who attempt to exterminate any mice
or rats because “commensal” isn’t defined in DC law and the
current director of the District’s Department of the Environment,
Christophe Tulou, says he won’t distinguish among types of rats. For
me, that’s putting too much faith and trust in the good sense of DC
government. If the government says, “Don’t worry about the way the
law is actually written, we won’t enforce it that way,” I wouldn’t
believe it for a minute. The absence of a definition in the law worries
me; it doesn’t reassure me. This and other shortcomings in the law
were brought to the attention of councilmembers when they were
considering the bill, and they passed it anyway. They’re not
accidental oversights; they’re traps lying in wait for residents.
I am disappointed and disgusted by what Thomas did. He has admitted
that he robbed little children. The fact that he was willing to steal
from underprivileged children keeps one from feeling any sympathy for
him at all.
However, I don't believe that he thought up and implemented this
scheme on his own. Who did and who else may have benefited will probably
remain hidden from the public forever. Consequently, these individuals
will most likely go unpunished. The brazenness of this scheme was
probably due to a combination of Thomas' ignorance and naivete.
The fact that he was willing to steal from underprivileged children
keeps one from feeling any sympathy for him at all. Question: has there
been any talk of making the victims (the children) whole by ensuring
that they receive the benefits that Thomas stole from them?
Statehood Road Show Is a Return to Marion
Bryce A. Suderow, email@example.com
Friday's DC Examiner features an article on the DC council's
plan to visit all fifty states this election year to lobby for statehood
(Liz Farmer, "DC to Spend Thousands on Statehood Road Show," http://tinyurl.com/6sj7jod).
Who said there's nothing new under the sun?
Back in the good old days, whenever he got caught breaking the law
Marion Barry always played the race card, attacking the plantation
masters on the Hill for denying DC statehood. His idea was to divert
attention from his wrongdoing, and he usually succeeded. With half the
city council, the chairman of the council, and the mayor under
investigation, it looks like they're trying to divert attention in the
old Barry style.
The question is: will the DC voters let them get away with it this
I recently wrote about Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's comments
about the District's wildlife protection laws (http://dcist.com/2012/01/_cuccinelli_well_i_saw.php).
Needless to say, Cuccinelli is wrong — rats and mice are explicitly
exempted under the provisions of the law.
Gary, I think that DC law requiring pest control folks to catch and
release is a wonderful, humane idea. If I were a pest control person
working in DC, I would follow it to the letter: get with my fellow
controllers, collect every rat, raccoon, squirrel, and for that matter
every roach, termite, and fire ant colony within reach then humanely
release them as near as possible to the property of the responsible
politicians, to say nothing of the kook activists who support this law.
Incidentally, a generous supply to the Occupy DC locations could produce
positive odoriferous changes.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Virgin Hall: The
Culture of Women in the US Pre- and Post Roe v. Wade, January 24
Patricia Bitondo, firstname.lastname@example.org
At a luncheon at the National Women’s Democratic Club, Janet
Taliaferro, WNDC member, will read from and discuss her novel Virgin
Hall, the story of four women college friends from the “silent
generation” who bridged a culture their mothers had discovered. At
that time many went to college, only to hang their framed diplomas in
the family kitchen. These four women lived the bridge into the new
culture which came of age after Roe v. Wade and the pill. The
main character, Sheila O’Connor, Brooklyn born and convent educated,
leaves the east coast for her freshman year at Southern Methodist
University. She becomes the victim of incest and pregnancy from a rape,
and her college suite mates are drawn into this trauma.
The program is cosponsored by Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan
Washington. PPMW President and CEO Laura Meyers will be on the stage
with Janet to discuss the culture for women since Roe and the ongoing
abortion fight. It is part of a celebration of the 39th anniversary of
the passage of Roe v. Wade on January 22, 1973.
Janet Taliaferro is a novelist, writer, and poet, a graduate of
Southern Methodist University with a Master’s from the University of
Central Oklahoma. She had a long career in Democratic politics and has
managed several campaigns. She is a past president of Planned Parenthood
of Central Oklahoma, and past board member of Planned Parenthood of
Metropolitan Washington. She has been a leader in the Civil Rights
movement. A book sale and signing will follow the program. The National
Women’s Democratic Club is at 1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW. The bar
for the luncheon opens at 11:30 a.m.; lunch is at 12:15 p.m.; and the
lecture, presentation, and question and answer period will be from 1:00
to 2:00 p.m. The cost for members is $25, for nonmembers is $30, and it
is $10 for the lecture only. For reservations, call 232-7363 or E-mail email@example.com.
One City Summit, February 11
Vincent C. Gray, firstname.lastname@example.org
I invite all DC residents to join me on Saturday, February 11, from
9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for
the “One City Summit” — a frank and open conversation about what
needs to be done to create Washington, DC, as One City. At the event,
you will have the opportunity to learn about current efforts to grow our
economy, improve our schools, create more jobs, and other initiatives
underway to move our city forward; discuss some of the biggest
challenges that prevent Washington from becoming truly One City; share
your views in small group discussions and listen to neighbors from every
part of the District; vote on specific priorities for action in the
coming year; and identify ways you can be more involved in future
efforts to create a more unified city that works for everyone.
Along with other top city officials, I will be present all day long
to listen to your concerns and hear your ideas. A free lunch will be
served to everyone who attends. One City is not just a logo or a slogan.
It is the recognition that all District residents, no matter their
differences, are bound together by a common destiny and a shared desire
to make the city even better for the people who live here. Regardless of
race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, ward, or
neighborhood, we all want a vibrant, sustainable city, where all
residents have an opportunity to provide for themselves and their
families, where every neighborhood is safe, where every student goes to
a good school, where every tax dollar is spent wisely on a government
that works, and where citizens’ voices really count.
In order to create such a city, we need your help. The One City
Summit will offer residents from all parts of the District the chance to
talk together, learn from each other, and help find solutions to the
challenges we face. It will help Washington, DC, become a more livable,
vibrant, and inclusive city for everyone. Join a thousand of your fellow
District residents at this informative, interactive, high tech meeting
to help identify priorities for the future. I encourage you to register
today at http://www.onecitysummit.dc.gov
or by calling 709-5132. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to let your
voice be heard. I look forward to seeing you on February 11.
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