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Thursday, September 30, 2010
Thursday: Update on MLPA Commission debacle

New commissioner gets axed

Governor Terminates New Fish and Game Commissioner


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never made it onto the official commission webpage, was summarily terminated on Monday September 28 when the governor rescinded his appointment.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, anti-angler vote.


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 governor.


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 not returned.

Reader Comments
thats to bad the governor gave him the axe, i wonder if the senate can help us out, whats the governor motive? (no more fishing) thank you paul for all of your help. ill pray for that governor of ours! and for you paul thanks bro love you! donald harris anaheim. ca.
donald harris
It just goes to show you how curripted this stae and this MLPA process has become ! I think I am about ready to take my family and my tax dollars to another state ! The first sign of it being curripted was when they puched cindy out of office now this guy. Gee Arine trying to make your green legacy ! last ! go back to Austira and do it !
matt mattison
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