Sunday, June 03, 2007

Squirrels gone wild in Balboa Park?

I'll admit right up front that I pretty much gave up on reading Chris Reed's "America's Finest Blog" because, it's really bad. Embarrassingly bad. I wish they would change the name of the blog bad.

So how I stumbled into this, I'm not sure, but I ended up reading an article entitled Top Aguirre aide: Rodents are people, too. And then I read it again. And again.

It suddenly became a twisted compulsion for me to figure out what the hell Reed was talking about because it didn't seem to make a lick of sense.

Since his reference to the squirrel issue is vague and there was no link, I searched and found an article that said people had contacted Michael Aguirre's office about a "wave of furry carcasses in the park, catching the attention of passers-by and animal activists". Last week someone reported two dozen dead and dying squirrels on the bowling lawn. Eww.

There has been a squirrel population explosion at Balboa Park, and in response the park department has been "baiting" ie: poisoning them. When Aguirre's office was contacted he asked the parks and rec department to "pause" and check on the appropriateness and the legality of the long time practice. That is what the City Attorney's Public Integrity Office is supposed to do. Under the direction of deputy DA Kimberly Urie, the Public Integrity Office fields citizen complaints about city actions and investigate the merits of the complaint. Personally, I think that's a good thing. It's a democracy thing. I don't know why anyone would have a problem with that unless there's some kind of unwritten rule within the county of San Diego that says people can't ask questions or demand that the law be followed? Have they taken advantage of an escape clause from the democratic process that hasn't been mentioned to the general public?

That would explain a lot.

Personally, I think it's worth asking about the poison they're using. Zinc phosphide. It's a commonly used rodentcide. It can cause secondary poisoning in cats and dogs, so it seems worth noting that if a public agency is going to use poison over a widespread area and it could kill your pet, at the very least there should be a little public notice in the neighborhood. If there were dead squirrels all over the ground in my neighborhood park, I'd be asking questions too.

So all in all, it's a routine matter and says NOTHING about Aguirre except that he takes citizen concerns seriously. Mr Reed, there's no there there.

Ya know, sometimes Michael Aguirre seems to have a knack for controversy and he really doesn't need any additional "help" from the UT. This looks like they use their blog to help the mayor's office lob tomatoes at Aquirre in the name of keeping his name in the news in a negative manner. I'm surprised they haven't published an article that mentions that he doesn't put the seat down after he uses the john.

So back to Reed's premise in his vague and confusing blog post. He obviously intended it to be snarky, but snark without context or substance is such a disappointment. Of course Ms Urie never said nor implied that rodents are people too, and Mr Reed's ridiculous headline was apparently thought up after he read an open peer commentary she took part in writing that was published in a 2003 edition of the American Journal of Bioethics about cross species scientific experimentation that was in response to a journal article about the ethics of crossing species boundaries in areas such as genomics and stem cell reseach. (Crossing Species Boundaries). Really now. Ethical considerations are an extremely important part of scientific discussion and debate. So she wasn't talking about the creation of a "fringe" vermin rights organization afterall.

Some people these days just don't seem to even understand the concept of open discussion and scientific thought. I think it's sad and scary to find them so prevelant in the mainstream media.

America's Finest Blog took a pretty big logical leap, which leads me to believe that Mr Reed is being intellectually dishonest, because he's made a false correlation here in a extremely lame attempt to smear Aguirre. Or maybe he just doesn't understand all that high falutin' science talk and is content being a cog in the dumbing down of public discourse.

Personally, I'm kind of tired of petty, contrived political mockery AND the trend toward anti-intellectualism, and America's Finest Blog just happened to hit on both those pet peeve issues in one itty bit post.

Crossing Species Boundaries
By Fran├žoise Baylis and Jason Scott Robert

The Humane Imperative: A Moral Opportunity
Kimberly A. Urie; Alison Stanley; Jerold D. Friedman

Primer on Ethics and Crossing Species Boundaries
By Fran├žoise Baylis and Jason Scott Robert


Blogger nunya said...

I tangled with that asshole once. Here's the background with link. It's the only time I EVER published an email exchange.

This is available through the SD library system . Some interesting info on Richardson in it (Copyright 2000).

6/04/2007 09:17:00 AM  

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