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Letter: A yes vote on fees without a quorum

January 22, 2014

On the rear window of my little Honda I have an American flag decal with “I love my country, but” written above, and with “our government is the problem, not the solution” written below.

Last week I had my belief corroborated at a California Recreation Resource Advisory Committee meeting sponsored and held by the U.S. Forest Service. The purpose of this committee is to review the Forest Service’s fees to be charged to visitors to the Angeles Forest above La Cañada and then to vote their approval or disapproval of these fees.

The committee is made up of 11 citizen volunteers, non-Forest Service employees. The Forest Service committee regulations require a quorum of eight committee members to vote on any fee issue.

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And here’s the “but”: All of the committee members have been appointed to the committee by the Forest Service with many appointees having a vested or financial interest in making sure the Forest Service is “happy” with their decisions! It’s a clear case of “the foxes guarding the henhouse.”

In addition, of the 11 members who were supposed at be at the meeting, one didn’t show up, there’s one committee vacancy and three members’ terms had expired last July with no replacements. That meant there was no required quorum to vote on anything.

Did the lack of quorum matter to the Forest Service? Not at all! And all the fees that you and I will have to pay to visit our Angeles Forest were approved.

I love my country, but our government is the problem, not the solution.

Trent Sanders
La Cañada Flintridge

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