The City’s Open Space Management head, Elaine Polachek, told Animal Advocates that the City has spent $150,000 in man hours and vendor fees in attempting to comply with County Health’s repetitive orders to kill the squirrels in Palisades Park even while the City was researching non-lethal and cost-effective solutions.
This must be taken in the context that Michael Frood, County inspector, was saying the County would sue the City and also that he’d come in and poison the squirrels himself using broadcast baiting. At the same time, Gail Vangordon at the last minute, emailed Polachek that she had never used the term “emergency,” but had said the squirrel situation was a “condition that needed to be addressed.” She also stated the County could not and would not sue the City.
By this time, Ayers had already received $9,700 for his failed poison gassing in February (Gassing doesn't work if you can't plug all the holes, such as the ones coming out the side of the cliffs), and was then contracted for $19,000 more services for August/September of this year, both being short-term solutions.
On the other hand, the City gave Animal Advocates $4,200 for a five month pilot project that was successful according to criteria agreed upon by the County, namely a 30% reduction of active burrows at a 1/7 of what Ayers is getting for the County demanded, short term abatements.
Then the County changed its collective mind and reneged on their agreement with the City and Animal Advocates, and reverted to the old and impossible 2-3 visible squirrels per acre criteria, and it is here that Ayers re-enters with another $19,000 short-term solution.
Therefore, $13,900 had already been spent by the City to kill the squirrels to satisfy Vangordon by July 15, 2006, but a new round of poisoning was demanded by the County in its order to kill the squirrels “immediately.” (Second Notice, dated July 25, 2006 from Gail Vangordon to Elaine Polachek stated, “we must require that immediate steps be taken to suppress the existing ground squirrel and flea populations.”)
By the way, the use of broadcast poisoning in public areas is prohibited by the Federal Rodenticide Act (FIFRA, 1996). Not only was the County bluffing about a lawsuit as a means to scare Council and the City into complying with their ridiculous order, but they were also bluffing (lying) about their intent to invade Santa Monica to exert Vangordon’s will.
Ayers is getting $80/hr. (49 hours a week) for an estimated 4 weeks of work, and $5.50 for each squirrel killed. The estimated project length is 4 weeks, costing an estimated $19,182. However, if he hasn’t killed enough to satisfy Michael Frood, Ayers can stay on the job for an additional 3-4 weeks at an additional $3,900 per week plus killing fees until Frood is satisfied. Does Frood get a kickback from Ayers? Makes me wonder.
Man, is this costing the City big bucks!!!
AND, good old Lefty says this is going to happen every 18 months to 24 months. This is because no long term program has been implemented to permanently reduce the squirrel population over a time frame that the County has found acceptable.
Poisoning will never work as a long term solution. The population will always rebound just as it did after five rounds of poisoning since 1992. Each time an exterminator was called in to the tune of $7,400 to the $30,000 Ayers is getting this year.
AND the City appears to have spent much more than that, $150,000 in fees and man hours implementing these repetitive lethal solutions to comply with what appears to be County mendacity in the form of martinet Gail Vangordon and her henchman, Michael Frood, defended by County Health’s bumbling Jonathan Fielding.
Therefore, City Council was financially and morally justified in seeking a long-term, non-lethal approach to curbing the Palisades squirrel population.
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