More than 60 people turned out Wednesday at the California Fish and Game Commission meeting to speak in support of Dan Richards, whom state lawmakers could remove from the powerful body for shooting a mountain lion in a case that has drawn national attention.
But hours after the largely pro-hunting crowd left, in a little-noticed move, Richards’ fellow commissioners sprung a parliamentary trap. By a 4-1 tally, they voted to change the way the commission — which sets rules for hunting, fishing and endangered species in California — chooses its president.
The vote placed an item on the commission’s May 23 agenda that would repeal the current rules and allow the panel to remove Richards as president when it meets in Monterey that day.
If the rule change is successful, Richards would stay on the commission. But his influence as president — a role that allows him to set the agenda, speak for the commission and run its meetings — would be taken away.