Saturday, March 25, 2006

Dick Pombo - Lies, Lies, Damned Lies

The AP put out an interesting story about Representative Dick Pombo today. The story is a pitiful fluff piece that goes out of its way to be kind to Pombo. In fact, the story goes out of its way to insure that one of Pombo's most obvious lies goes unchallenged.

According to the AP story, little Dicky Pombo decided to go after the endangered species act because of the economic impact of the law on local development in Northern California.

In the early 1980s, he was upset when the presence of the endangered San Joaquin kit fox contributed to stopping development of a proposed town outside Tracy. After serving on the Tracy City Council from 1990 to 1992, Pombo won a congressional seat by pledging to revise the legislation.

Opponents "were able to use an endangered species that no one had ever seen or heard of in order to stop that project from going forward," said Pombo, co-author of the 1996 book, "This Land is Our Land: How to End the War on Private Property."

Unfortunately, this story is much different than the story Pombo told a congressional committee in 1994. According to the Los Angeles Times:

In 1994 he told a Senate subcommittee that he ran for Congress after the ranch was declared critical habitat for the endangered San Joaquin kit fox, stripping his land of its value and forcing his family to run the ranch "with an unwanted, unneeded, un-silent partner — the federal government."

But, as the Times notes, Pombo's 1994 story wasn't actually true.

The tale turns out to have been embroidered. Pombo's ranch is a corridor for the kit fox, the smallest fox in North America. But it is not critical habitat, which the government has never designated anywhere for the tiny fox. Pombo paid $5,137 into a regional habitat conservation plan to compensate for houses he and relatives were building on the ranch. But that was years after his congressional testimony.

Today, Pombo concedes his characterization was "mistaken" and says having kit fox habitat on his land "didn't prevent me from doing anything."

I'm sure that the AP did all sorts of fact checking before it decided to promote one of Dick Pombo's more egregious lies.