Opinion Readers React
Readers React

The shoddy science behind developers' push to delist the California gnatcatcher

To the editor: The idea to delist the California gnatcatcher, pushed by developers, is based on second-rate science. ("Developers seek end to federal protections for California gnatcatcher," June 29)

I was a reviewer for the developer-funded paper saying the California bird is not a distinct population when it was originally submitted to another journal. As a biologist who studies bird genetics and taxonomy, I can attest to the fact that the study did not use modern methods.

In my review, I was critical of the genetic markers and environmental characteristics the authors chose to assess whether the gnatcatchers were different from other populations. Their choices made it a foregone conclusion that the authors would find no evidence for distinctiveness. Instead of addressing my criticism, they apparently chose to resubmit their study to another journal in hopes of finding more sympathetic reviewers.

There are modern genetic and ecological techniques that could provide the final word on the controversy, if only there were time and money to carry them out.

John McCormack, Los Angeles

The writer, an assistant professor of biology at Occidental College, is director of the school's Moore Laboratory of Zoology.

..

To the editor: It's not really about the DNA in a little gnatcatcher, is it? As usual, it's all about developers and builders hoping to line their pockets at the expense of our beautiful planet — in this case, bulldozing many of the 197,000 protected acres of coastal land so human beings can live in homes with a view of the sea.

My husband, son and I moved to Southern California last summer and discovered the Palos Verdes Peninsula just recently. It's the prettiest place we've seen since moving here.

We hope the environmental groups can save it.

Alison Rood, Long Beach

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Japan is honest on history and 'comfort women'

    To the editor: The notion that the Japanese government denies or downplays history is misleading. Following the stance of the past administrations, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed his sincere commitment to face history with humility on numerous occasions. ("Japanese nationalists attempt...

  • Judge a charity by impact, not overhead

    To the editor: Dean Karlan is right: When it comes to charities, at the end of the day, it is the results that matter. ("Here's how to determine if that charity is worth your dollars," Op-Ed, Dec. 17)

  • Little comfort for the terminally ill and their caregivers

    To the editor: I wish to thank The Times and Steve Lopez for bringing to light a part of this society that no one wants to talk about. I was a caregiver to my mother for more than two years. I was abandoned by family and friends in the most difficult and stressful time in my life and my...

  • Sony doesn't need Obama's advice on 'The Interview'
    Sony doesn't need Obama's advice on 'The Interview'

    To the editor: Unless President Obama has all the facts and commits to indemnify and defend Sony Pictures (and theater owners) against lawsuits in the wake of an act of terror tied to the showing of "The Interview," then Sony made the right decision to cancel the movie's Christmas Day...

  • Dig more on pay for L.A.'s injured city workers

    To the editor: What a depressing article about the impotence of the Los Angeles City Council to deal with municipal employees on disability leave who make more money sitting at home than working. Some of the claims cited in the article are suspect. ("L.A. to review 'flawed and expensive'...

  • Torture isn't a left-right issue

    To the editor: While the idea of complete transparency on torture is admirable, the real problem our country faces is how facts are now deconstructed and placed on one side of an opinion spectrum. ("The need for radical transparency on U.S. torture," Op-Ed, Dec. 18)

Comments
Loading