Governor Terminates New Fish and
SACRAMENTO - Michael Sutsos of Sonoma is the most recent
sporstsman to fall victim to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wrath. Sutsos, so
briefly a member of the Fish and Game Commission that his photo never made it
onto the official commission webpage, was summarily terminated on Monday
September 28 when the governor rescinded his appointment.
No replacement was named, but
sportsmen can be sure the new commissioner will toe the governor’s aggressively
anti-fishing line on the MLPA. Sutsos didn’t, voting with commissioners Dan
Richards and Jim Kellogg merely to consider extending the South Coast
environmental review period from a too-brief 45 days. The matter will be deliberated
at a special session this Wednesday in McClellan, a Sacramento suburb.
Prospects for an extension, necessary due to the complexity of the 545 page
document, are now questionable.
The timing brings to mind another
of the governor’s brazen MLPA power plays. Then commissioner Cindy Gustafson
mysteriously resigned days prior to the implementation hearing for the MLPA’s
north-central coast study region. Career politico Don Benninghoven was plucked
from the head of the Blue Ribbon Task Force to hand deliver the decisive,
Ironically, Sutsos took
Benninghoven’s commission seat when the state Senate chose to let the clock
expire on his confirmation – largely at the behest of outraged fishermen. Fish
and Game commissioners may serve up to a year without senate endorsement. Prior
to that stamp of approval, commission appointees serve at the whim of the
Sutsos’ commission term was snuffed
after just 18 historically short days and a single two-day meeting. “I didn’t
ask the right questions. Or maybe I did,” Sutsos said when reached at the Black
Point Sports Club to explain his removal for hinting that he thinks for himself.
Commissioner Dan Richards was
outraged by the governor’s maneuvers. “This just shows how corrupt this process
is. This process, the Marine Life Protection Act, is so corrupt, so offensive
it’s unimaginable. Gov. Schwarzenegger is a forked-tongue devil,” Richards told
the Union-Tribune’s Ed Zieralski.
Richards went on to predict the
move will come to haunt the governor, further taint his legacy, and expose the
MLPA railroad job to legal challenge.
Calls to the governor’s office were