Bush’s War on Civil Servants: Marlene Braun

November 28, 2005

Bush’s War On Civil Servants

Nick Turse has been putting together a list of those who have resigned or lost their job under the Bush administration because they disagreed with or refused to carry out a bankrupt Bush policy. Soon, he and Tom Englehardt plan to have an online Wall to honor those who have tried to stop the onslaught.

Here’s the story of one who found the battle with the Bush administration more than she could bear:

Marlene Braun: A 13-year veteran of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), she was appointed manager of Carrizo Plain National Monument — 250,000 acres of native grasses and Native American sacred sites, located about 120 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Once the Bush administration came to power, the BLM, under Interior Secretary Gale Norton, “began crafting a grazing policy that lifted protections for wildlife and habitat across 161 million acres of public lands in the West, including the Carrizo.” In an August 2005 article, the Los Angeles Times wrote, that Braun “was torn between the demands of a new boss who she felt favored the region’s ranchers, and conservation policies adopted nearly a decade ago to protecting the austere swath of prairie she shared with pronghorn antelope and peregrine falcons, the California condor and the California jewelflower.” That boss, said Braun, stripped her of “almost all my influence on the Plain,” transferring it to those she deemed to be “pro-grazing.” She repeatedly clashed with him and wrote to colleagues, “I … can’t keep fighting indefinitely, I don’t think… [but m]aybe fighting is better than capitulating…. The Carrizo could lose a lot if I give up…. But hell, you only live, and die, once!!!!” When Braun contacted other officials at the Department of Fish and Game as well as the Nature Conservancy about “several public misstatements she believed [her boss] had made about federal grazing law,” he found out and suspended her. Braun appealed the suspension, but on February 15, 2005, her appeal was denied. Braun remained in touch with Bureau of Land Management officials concerning issues related to management of the Carrizo Plain and was repeatedly reprimanded for it. As a result, she told friends, she was certain she would be fired from the Bureau. Braun forwarded the disciplinary memos she continued to receive to officials at the Department of Fish and Game and the Nature Conservancy. She wrote, “I will no longer be participating in this mess…. I will not take being treated like a whipping girl…” The next day she put a .38 caliber pistol to her head and pulled the trigger. Committed Suicide, May 2, 2005.

The Carrizo Plain is an incredible, but very fragile area in central California – the last natural home of the California Kit Fox, wintering Sand Hill Cranes, and native California prairie grass. I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised that the Bush Interior Department would decide that it must be destroyed.

Go read and reflect on the rest of the people Nick has added to his list. It will be a very long list of those who spent decades trying to protect and serve the citizens of the United States but found that the Mogol hordes that have taken over our government are only interested in looting and trashing the place.

Posted by Mary at November 28, 2005 01:00 AM


One Response

  1. I fear the next Interior department under Ken Salazar might not be better. The damage done to Interior in the Bush administration is extensive and it would take a person of extreme passion and drive for reform to turn it around. Salazar is a rancher, the very people who had the BLM in their pocket on the Carrizo. Sad.

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