Friday, April 5, 2013

Wild Goose Chases in Mamaroneck -- and Lots of Smoke and Mirrors

Duck goose duck! USDA is coming to Mamaroneck!
 Much has been in the media of late about the goose situation in Mamaroneck, New York. 

The Village Manager (with support of the mayor) signed a contract with the USDA this past winter mandating that the geese in Mamaroneck be rounded up and killed this summer.

This was done without approval from the Board of Trustees (BOT) which has since expressed opposition to the kill portion of the contract (which also includes egg addling). 

Unfortunately, most of the press coverage on this issue has been misleading, murky or just plain wrong.

For example, CBS reported several weeks ago that there were "250,000 geese" in Mamaroneck.  That figure is actually for the entire state of New York. 

So far, neither politicians nor media has offered a documented figure on how many resident geese are actually in Mamaroneck. (One would think the first and most important, basic question to be researched and reported.)

Several media sources also quoted the mayor of Mamaroneck, Normal Rosenblum claiming that several years ago, geese were "relocated to one of the Carolinas, but flew back (to Marmaroneck) before the trucks."

No one in the press bothered to check the fact that molting geese are incapable of flight anywhere.  The mayor was either lying or is completely misinformed about geese, as is, apparently, the press.

But, these are not where the errant and deceptive coverage ends on this issue.  In fact, it continues to this day.

Most recent headlines (this week) have announced that Mamaroneck geese are getting a "stay of execution" or (as noted below) are "inching closer to freedom" because a couple of board members put forth a motion to cancel the contract with USDA.

But, there is little in actual evidence to support these inflated headlines and lofty, well intentioned promises.

On the contrary, according the actual goose kill contract between Mamaroneck and USDA any "termination" of contract would not take effect for "120 days."

By my math (which admittedly isn't very good) that means any cancellation of contract now would not take effect until some time in August -- long after the planned goose cull, which usually occur in late June or early July when geese are molting and flightless.

Of course, the contract could be amended and changed anytime before taking effect and that is what was ultimately promised at the last meeting on April 1st between USDA and BOT -- and what the media latched on to.

But, there are two mandates in the contract.  One to oil eggs to prevent them from hatching and the other to "remove" (i.e. kill) the geese, with the latter being the main one.

So, how is a contract "amended" to take out its primary objective (other than perhaps limiting the number of geese to be "removed" to two)?

The drama continues in Mamaroneck -- punctuated by wild goose chases and lots of smoke and mirrors.

Stay tuned.  -- PCA



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