The following are excerpts from Forest Service supervisor Gloria Flora in a Nov. 8 ”open letter to employees of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest” announcing her resignation:
”There is no easy way to say goodbye to a group of hard-working, dedicated employees and friends …
”I have become increasingly troubled by the difficult conditions that so many of us face in the state of Nevada. We now accept as commonplace unwarranted criticisms of and verbal attacks on federal employees.
”Officials at all levels of government in Nevada participate in this irresponsible fed-bashing. The public is largely silent, watching as if this were a spectator sport. This level of anti-federal fervor is simply not acceptable.
”It is not like this in other places. As you know, I’ve worked throughout the Intermountain West: Montana, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. Yes, there are arguments and strong disagreements over land-use policy, but they usually stay within the bounds of reason. … Things may get heated, but all people have a voice.
”The attitude toward federal employees and federal laws in Nevada is pitiful. People in rural communities who do respect the law and accept responsibility for complying with it are often rebuked or ridiculed.
”They are compared to collaborators with the Vichy government in Nazi-controlled France. People who support the federal government or conservation of natural resources ask that they not be identified for fear of retaliation.
”When I speak against the half-truths of the Sagebrush Rebellion, I am labeled a liar and personally vilified in an attempt to silence me. When I express concerns for Forest Service employees’ safety, I am accused of inciting violence.”
”This is the United States of America. All people have a right to speak and all people have a right to protection from discrimination. However, I learned that in Nevada as a federal employee, you have no right to speak, no right to do your job and certainly no right to be treated with respect.
”I could go on and on with examples of those of you who have been castigated in public, shunned in your communities, refused service in restaurants, kicked out of motels … just because of who you work for.
”And we cannot forget those who have been harassed, called before kangaroo courts, or had their very lives threatened.
”It disturbs me that two million people in this state watch silently, or worse, in amusement, as a small percentage of their number break laws and trounce the rights of others with impunity.
”Worse yet, there are elected officials who actively support these offenders. …
”When a member of the United States Congress joins forces with them, using the power of the office to stage a public inquisition of federal employees followed by a political fund-raiser, I must protest. …
”We as an agency believe that it is best to keep turning the other cheek. Enough is enough … It is time to speak up. …
”But speaking up and continuing to work here are not compatible. By speaking out, I cannot provide you, my employees, with a safe working environment. And to date, I have not been able to convince others that the current atmosphere is unacceptable and requires a proactive response. I refuse to continue to participate in this charade of normalcy. …”
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