Dear Editor – Proposed LMU Coyote Study Expensive and Pointless

Dear Editor,

On September 26, 2018 LMU made a surprise proposal to the City Council to make a 3-year study and “manage” Culver City coyotes costing our taxpayers $210,00. Culver City has huge unfunded pension and storm water obligation. LMU’s timing could not have been worse. The intent of our City Council is to reduce the loss of pets allegedly killed by coyotes. Culver City has an excellent coyote management program that has not been fully publicized or implemented. It is very similar to programs used by neighboring cities. LMU failed to do any kind community outreach meetings. The discussion was unfocused (spoke of terns, for example), did not allow the audience to ask questions or fully participate, and did not show any benefit to the taxpayers…. The proposal of course had no audience support.

Then on March 13, 2018 LMU presented its one and only public meeting. Here it is was pointed out that trapping and killing misbehaving coyotes would not solve the pet problem because another coyote with the same behavior would simply be replaced. LMU dodged the question of what a “problem” coyote means. This is the heart of what LMU is supposed to manage. They said this was the community’s responsibility, not theirs. They did not explain why they could do a better job of coyote management, rather than the city’s…..The audience was polite.

Now next Monday, LMU is again trying to get the City Council to sign a 3-year contract for $210,000, again right before the annual budget consideration coming up. Here are the major flaws in the proposal:

1. It will not benefit and taxpayer or pet owner in Culver City. It will not reduce the number of pets killed by coyotes.

2. There is no required regular auditing or reporting of the proposed program.

3. “fix fence holes” is an absurd object of the program. Any coyote is smart enough to go around a fence or jump 6 feet over the fence.

4. “Collaborate with other coyote research.” Frankly, who cares?

5. LMU wants to “better understand public perceptions” This does not benefit Culver City in any way.

6. Make “informant interviews.” Interviews to what objective?

7. It still does not say what a “problem” coyote is. How can anyone manage a problem if they do not know what that means. The contract is way too vague.

8. LMU is required to change the curriculum in the middle and high schools, without asking or reaching out to Culver City Unified School District. LMU should know that CCUSD is an independent government. Contract 101: two parties cannot impose any contract provision to a third party. Duh.

9. The proposed contract deals exclusively with domestic cats only. The objective should have been to include pet dogs too. Oops.

10. If this proposal is “successful,” there is no funding for it after the third year.

11. Killing coyotes simply because many Culver City folks leave their trash barrels open, or because outdoors cats wander the neighborhood, is repulsive to many of our Culver City citizens.

12. Coyotes are permanent residents. Direct human contact is exceeding rare.

This high cost proposal is a poorly thought out concept in search of a problem. The City Council should make extra efforts to publicized further our well written program, including educating the public with general neighborhood meetings.

Please come to Monday night City Council meeting to voice your opinion.

Paul Ehrlich

The Actors' Gang

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