[Disclaimer: I am not one to stereotype and I certainly mean no disrespect to Chihuahuas, Chihuahua owners or the state of Chihuahua in Mexico with this title or post content, but Chihuahuas are notoriously high-strung, territorial and quick to bark even when the threat level is minimal or non-existent (see here).]
I will occasionally watch zombie movies like “Shaun of the Dead” and find them entertaining. Usually in one of the scenes there is a time when you were certain that the zombie was dead and then it pops up again surviving extraordinary damage and well-deserved mayhem. This is pretty predictable in this type of movie and might bring a scare or a smile, but in real life it is unexpected and unwelcomed.
The zombie on my mind is the Oregon Outdoor Council that seems to keep trundling along spreading vitriol and shovelfuls of misinformation on predators and other issues in spite numerous scandals and missteps including losing their executive director. My sense is that it really is hard to walk a straight and reasonable line when your main activity seems to gravitate so thoroughly towards shooting yourself in the foot.
Rather than writing yet another voluminous criticism of this group, perhaps it is simply more instructive to play an easy game (i.e., matching the numbers at left with the lettered missteps at right). Healthy organizations go to great lengths to attract quality board members of integrity with standing in the community. They also check out backgrounds and make sure that their board members will not only add value and diversity to the organization but not become liabilities if the public learns details about their past or current activities. I am not sure whether OOC got that memo.
Let’s Play Match the Misstep—Oregon Outdoor Council Version (see Answers Below)
|Board Member||Issue that Should have Been Raised or Discovered During Board Member Vetting|
|1-Stan Steele – Chairman||A. Currently being sued for sexual harassment.|
|2-Dominic Aiello – President||B. Once burned a 4-foot cross on the lawn of an opponent as a “joke.”|
|3-Asha Aiello – Secretary/Treasurer||C. Misappropriated food from a food bank and was dismissed as a volunteer manager for that food bank.|
|4-Wayne Endicott – Board Member||D. Was publicly ruled out as candidate for Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission by Governor’s office.|
|5-Mike Vallery – Board Member||E. Seriously obsessed trophy hunter who fired warning shots in the air when a suspect appeared on his property during a party and the suspect was leaving.|
|6-Duane Bernard – Board Member||F. Lost an election to the Oregon Hunter’s Association board by an embarrassing margin.|
|7-Wendell Locke – Board Member||G. Wife of other board member.|
|8-Norm McLaren – Board Member|
|9-Ross Day – Legal Counsel|
It is truly hard to imagine a legitimate board having a greater density of "red flag" issues associated with their standing membership. In OOC's defense, I have seen a few, highly respected organizations with problem boards. It is rare, but it does happen. That said, those few organizations survive and thrive because their program efforts are so remarkable and valued. This is where OOC's Chihuahua nature drags them down and they become not only a zombie but a Chihuahua zombie.
Although I am sure that I am going to get cards and letters from loyal Chihuahua owners and their allies, the Chihuahua and the vacuum analogy portrayed in the above video works so very well for OOC when we look at their irrational and often vicious responses to predators. A case in point is a predator forum they have organized for June 14th in Albany, Oregon (see below promotion).
In their promotion of this event, OOC has made a big deal out of the fact that they are flying experts in to talk about predators. I wonder if they understand the excruciating irony of flying in predator experts from Alaska and Idaho and not inviting or featuring anyone from a university chockfull of world-renown predator biologists that sits 11 miles from their meeting.
Heck, Oregon State University is an easy bike ride from Albany. The answer of course is that they had to go to great lengths to find folks willing to speak at a forum entitled “How Predator and Current Predator Management are Impacting Your Hunting Opportunities.”
Had they really wanted an expert panel I wonder how Cristina Eisenberg escaped their notice. She has written two critically acclaimed books on wolves and other predators, The Wolf’s Tooth and The Carnivore Way and is a hunter and a research fellow with the Boone and Crockett Club. And she is currently located less than a dozen miles away from this “educational event.”
Seems if they really wanted facts or even a balanced, pro and con discussion, pulling a few PhD level researchers from OSU would have been a logical first step instead of importing anti-predator folks dealing with different issues under different social and environmental conditions than we have in Oregon.
Who knows when this OOC zombie will finally fade away and stop biting the ankles of all us—hunters, anglers, environmentalists and conservationists—working so hard on all sides of every aisle for conservation? Many of us would welcome relief from the constant barking over non-threats and the distractive nature of the “vacuum cleaner” issues raised by OOC that sap our energies, block meaningful collaborations and are generally annoying.
The Oregon Outdoor Council has far too many fatal flaws as an organization to be sustainable. Therefore, we hope they gain the sense of their true import in the grand equation of conservation and wildlife benefit soon and elect to finally and rightfully call it a day.