They Did Not Have to Kill the Squirrels After All

I did a request for documents from the City of Santa Monica. Interesting to note there is a mean-hearted woman from LA County Health Services, named Gail Vangordon (626-430-5450, also: who just loves to ridicule others behind their backs in emails. Anyway, she is the County lead regarding killing squirrels in Palisades Park.

In her many emails to the City regarding its needs to kill them, she basically says it is at their (Vector Management) discretion alone to make that determination, based on 25 years experience followed by her usual bogus logic about plague. She also says she just does not have the time to look at each situation separately, so, it is one size fits all.

Of course, instead she sends dozens of emails and many hours on the phone, telling the public and Santa Monica why the squirrels have to die now. She spent 3 hours alone writing one response to one professor, whom she ridicules in an email to the City.

Yet, In an August 2, 2006 e-mail to Elaine Polachek from the City’s Open Air Management she states:

"Furthermore, it is not our responsibility to assess risk before a notice to abate is issued, nor have we at any time referred to the situation in Palisades Park as an "emergency." It is quite clearly a condition that needs to be addressed in a timely fashion…"

In a January 17, 2006 e-mail sent to Elaine Polochek, Vangordon wrote:

"As for penalties (Ed's comment: Of the California health and safety code), there are none, as such, for a municipality. We can’t (or won’t) prepare a court case against the city of Santa Monica. What we can, and will, do is charge the city for every re-inspection we conduct until compliance is met. In other words, every two weeks, when Michael goes out to conduct a compliance inspection, we will charge the city a re-inspection fee of $263. Two inspections per month will result in $526 each month until the park is in compliance. Quite frankly, since the immuno-contraceptive alternative will require several years to reduce the number of squirrels in the park, I don't see a logical end to the fees in the near future.”

Well, well, well, well!!

The City was never threatened by lawsuit by the County if they did not kill the squirrels. Imagine that! This is what the City Manager and a whole bunch of City staffers told the public, the media, its own councilmembers, and Park Commissioners: It’s a public health emergency, and the County will sue us and do it themselves.

The only liability would be service charges f $526 a month. Let’s see, that’s $6,312 per year. Therefore, in order to get the squirrel populations down to the ridiculous levels demanded by Vangordon in the three years she said it would take, the City would have to pay $18,936 in inspection fees.

I get the logic. Pay Ayers $19,182 to kill 400 ground squirrels in three weeks during August and September, as well as pay him $9,736 for his four days of killing in February--which did not work, that is why the City gave him a new $19,000 contract. Who is to say Ayers will be able to kill as many as the County wants this time? Maybe Ayers (who both the City and County refer to him as "Lefty.") will get another $19,000 contract a year from now.

That is, we are paying Ayers $30,004 dollars over eight months to kill 800 squirrels (400 were estimated in Ayers' contract for this kill), while the non-lethal contraceptive and flea project would have cost $13,000 and $19,000 in re-inspection fees. Of course, we may still end up paying Ayers another $20,000.

I can see the logic in that. Spend $30,000 up front to kill nearly a thousand squirrels, or $32,000 over three years and kill none, which could also set a national precedent for non-lethal control of ground squirrels.

This sure makes financial, legal and moral sense.

More about Vangordon in the future, including what she says about others in her emails, as well the relation between the City, the County and "Lefty."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm keeping up with this and wonder where this info will go. Any reporters interested in this story? What can I do as one person?