Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

California official who killed mountain lion fires back at critics, refuses to step down

Calif. Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom has publicly asked Richards to step down.
Calif. Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom has publicly asked Richards to step down.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The growing controversy around California Fish and Game Commission president Daniel Richards killing (and reportedly eating) a mountain lion in Idaho is reaching fever pitch. With even more politicians joining the chorus for him to step down from his post, Daniels has fired back at his critics in an unapologetic letter sent to a wide range of recipients including every member of the state legislature, Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Secretary of Natural Resources.

“Do you really think a California Commissioner is actually obligated to follow California laws across these United States? Really?” So begins the letter, which is excerpted in the Huffington Post. “While I respect our Fish and Game rules and regulation, my 100 percent legal activity outside of California, or anyone else's for that matter, is none of your business. … Under your standards all Californians who enjoy gaming in Nevada are somehow ethically challenged as true Californians and should be removed from any official position.” He goes on to say that “there is ZERO chance” he would consider relinquishing his post, despite politicians and the thousands of names signed to various petitions asking him to do so.

Richards is no stranger to run-ins with environmentalists. According to the L.A. Times, his track record includes voting against considering “several” species for protection and in opposition of implementing the Marine Life Protection Act.