The public trust
The paramount mission of Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife is to act as a trustee in the management of our state’s wildlife for the benefit of Washington’s citizens. Protecting a public trust requires having the public’s trust.
On Dec. 20 a complaint was filed in the Ferry County District Court of Republic, Washington, accusing WDFW North Central Regional Director Brock Hoenes of unlawful hunting of big game. In short, in November, Director Hoenes shot an animal out of season in Ferry County. A WDFW regional director, entrusted with protecting our states wildlife, blatantly committed a wildlife crime. A wildlife crime is not a victimless crime. Per the Public Trust Doctrine, wildlife remains property of the people in their collective sovereignty, in this case the state of Washington. The victim of this crime is the trust of the citizens of Washington.
Director Hoenes served as the ungulate section manager for WDFW prior to his rise to regional director. In this role he was the lead biologist managing our state’s deer, elk and moose. His knowledge of deer hunting seasons and regulations should not be in question. His violation of these laws and regulations is a flagrant abuse of authority. A director entrusted with protecting our state’s wildlife not only violated the law, he proved himself unfit to hold a position that is tasked with upholding it.
While the filed complaint is not a conviction, the crime is not in question, Director Hoenes turned himself in.
Director Hoenes, and any WDFW official who violates or covers up violations of our wildlife protection laws, is not fit to serve the interests of the citizens and wildlife of Washington. Director Hoenes should resign from WDFW. If he fails to do so, he should be fired.
Wildlife and Wildlands Director
Kettle Range Conservation Group
Protect in-person learning
At the Citizens Advisory Committee meeting for Spokane Public Schools, Dr. Adam Swinyard described the district as a rubber band being stretched to a breaking point. When asked if the district was considering pausing extracurricular activities, the answer was no.
As the parent of three high school athletes, I understand the importance of sports and its benefits to students’ mental health. However if pausing extracurricular activities keeps in-person learning going, it’s needed.
A trip up Stevens after school displays a weight room packed with unmasked athletes. Our local high school nurse ran out of tests for students with known COVID-19 exposure, but the athletic department had adequate testing for three-times-per-week testing of dozens of teams. On Monday there were over 100 failed-to-fill teaching position in the district. Not teachers out, but teachers out with NO substitute. The disappointment that a pause to extracurriculars will cause is nothing compared to school closure or transition to online learning. This would be a negative for all students’ learning and mental health, it creates havoc for working parents scrambling to find child care (again), and disproportionately impacts those many students that depend on SPS for a safe, warm place to be during the day and for reliable food.
Make the tough choice SPS, pause extracurriculars and protect in-person learning first!
Significance not lost
From the opinion page in Sunday’s paper there were a lot of letters that referenced the date of Jan. 6, 2021, even Vice President Kamala Harris in her speech last week compared it to Dec. 7, 1941, and Sept. 11, 2001.
Jan. 6 was not a good day in our history, and I personally condemn it. But it was in no way it comparable to the attack on Pearl Harbor on the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
I’m curious to know if those whose letters were printed or Harris know the significance of another date in our recent history. That date would be Aug. 26, 2021, when 13 service members were killed after a suicide bomber detonated an explosive near Hamid Karzai International Airport. We as a collective should never forget what happened that day.