Thursday, February 23, 2017

What does State Sen. Fred Girod have against Western Meadowlarks and women? What's going on in Stayton?

"People and nature before profits!" our comrade sings.

Birders who are concerned about the armed militia takeover of the Federal Wildlife Refuge in Malheur last year, preserving public lands and space, environmentalism have a forum for discussing these issues. They are understandably alarmed by Republican State Sen. Fred Girod sponsoring a resolution to replace the Western Meadowlark as Oregon’s state bird with the osprey and his using the argument that the meadowlark is no longer commonly seen in Oregon.

Where does Girod's push on this come from, and why is the meadowlark no longer a common sight?

One birder/activist has said that this may be because the Stayton area has lots of farms -- monocultural grass seed for one --- that have destroyed the habitat of Western Meadowlarks. "Perhaps the people in the area who farm without regard to habitat for native species don't want people to think about how agribiz allows the loss of habitat for ground nesting and ground foraging birds that need grasslands. If the bird is no longer commonly seen then there is a problem with loss of habitat!" she said.

Another forum participant said, "That could be. But I suspect the main reason is that Frank Girod has figured out that this is a way to get his name in the papers once every couple of years. What surprises me most is that every time he's done this over the past 8 years, the Oregon media respond as if it's the first time." He went on to say, "The Oregon state legislature is gearing up for another session, which means that the Honorable State Senator from Stayton, Frank Girod, is renewing his biennial war on our state bird, first launched in 2009. Apparently this is a winning campaign issue in his district. Why does the sleepy town of Stayton harbor such hatred of Sturnellae? Who knew that such dark thoughts could be aimed at this bright and cheerful singer, so beloved by Oregon schoolchildren 90 years ago? We can't let this happen, folks. If the Staytonians have their way on this, it puts us on the slippery slope to no-telling-what as state mammal, state tree, state soil, etc."

Meanwhile, 25 Republicans in the Oregon Legislature signed on to HB 3017 that will restrict abortion access if it passes. It's an attempt to roll back constitutionally protected access to health care in Oregon, opens another front on the war against women and womens' rights and shows how out of touch and reactionary the Republicans are---and Girod is one of the bill's sponsors.

The birders really have a sophisticated analysis and they see the need to mobilize. Whether this is about a shift in agriculture and agribusiness or a cynical move at self-promotion, the point is that Girod and other Republicans look at nature as a means to create profits and move an agenda which is at once anti-nature and anti-woman. Beyond the deceptive push for one bill is a deceptive push for something else, a worldview which privileges profits over people, men over women, and industry over nature. If we give in on one, we lose both and Girod's career advances, paid for out of the deep pockets of the anti-nature and anti-women reactionaries.

Girod's phone number is 503-986-1709 and his e-mail is Tell him how you feel about his politics.

A womens' health lobby day and rally will be held on Tuesday, February 28. The lobby day will kick off at 9:00 AM and the rally is scheduled for noon. This is an opportunity for women, birders, people who care about people and the environment and everyone who wants to put people before profits to turn out and tell Girod what we think.


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