The quiet conspiracy to kill ravens is growing as
Ellen Johnson, a small Newberry Springs pistachio farmer and president of the Newberry
Springs/Harvard Property Owners Association, is pushing for county and state action
to open a holocaust of flying bullets against the highly intelligent birds.
Ellen Johnson has teamed with other county interests
in lobbying First District County Supervisor Robert Lovingood and State 33rd Assembly
District Assemblyman Jay Obernolte to have ravens removed from protection under the
California Migrating Bird list.
The population of ravens tend to fluxuate. A few years
ago ravens were nearly decimated in the Southwest as populations were nearly wiped-out
by the West Nile Disease. Today, the pendulum has swung the other way, and the raven
numbers are up. Ellen Johnson claims that some native birds in Newberry Springs are not
as plentiful as they were a few years ago; and she believes that the ravens are the cause.
Actually, over the last 30-years the human population in Newberry
Springs has dropped nearly in half, as the nature of the ever shifting desert constantly
evolves. For those placing heavy emphasis on climate change, some of the natural
habitat for the earlier bird species may not be as plentiful. With the exodus of
humans, hundreds of small ponds that dotted the community are gone.
Paula Deel, a director of the Newberry Community Services District,
and the Newberry Springs Chamber of Commerce, has voiced support for her friend, Ellen
Johnson. Robert Vasseur, also a director on the Newberry Community Services District,
supports the killing-off of Newberry's ravens.
News of the proposed raven killing were first published
in the Blotter on
June 21, 2015
and then on
The blogs being pro-raven are admittedly bias
against the killing of the magnificant birds. On July 9, 2015, a Blotter
co-editor e-mailed Ellen Johnson an invitation to balance the
Blotter's reporting by submitting to the Blotter her own views
in a written blog so that the community could better understand her position.
As of this posting date, Johnson has not responded.
However, on July 14, the co-editor received a response from a third-party individual
who lives well outside of the Mojave Valley who provided a reference to a biologist
who might supply support data for the killing of ravens. This e-mail was
followed-up the next day by a second e-mail from the same individual claiming that
Ellen Johnson and Paula Deel, due to the Blotter's two earlier news blogs,
felt "that certain folks are on a witch hunt and that it will not matter what
they say about ravens in a letter for the blog."
This responsive cop-out is rather cowardly in that Johnson (and Deel)
didn't have the courage to voice it themselves. Rather, the information was relayed by
a distant third-party. Johnson and Deel are major Newberry civic leaders
so it is shocking that they needed to hide behind an outside mouth-piece to speak
As a pistachio farmer, Ellen Johnson may have a financial
interest in the killing of any bird that may have an impact upon pistachios; so her motives
and unsubstantiated shifty claims of possible harm to some unidentified endangered wildlife
species is suspect; as is the degree of the impact.
It wouldn't be surprising if their associations, the property owners
association and the Chamber, are approached for endorsement of raven killing. The property
owners association in particular has a long history of being a front for the ruling president's
special interests. The most glaring example was the previous president Spike Lynch's use
of the property owners association to support the image of the community's endorsement of the
proposed placement of blantantly illegal
What is nutty is Newberry's leaders spending their time on the
lobbying and the promotion of the destruction of such spectacular birds; when the community
has so many deep needs that these leaders are refusing to address.
Some people are claiming that there is an ecological population
imbalance with the ravens; others believe that any imbalance is elsewhere.
If you don't want the ravens slaughtered, do your part now
to make a difference by letting these people know:
Supervisor Robert Lovingood (760) 995-8100
Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (760) 244-5277