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From: plantnut plantnut at macconnect.com> on 2001.07.25 at 19:01:46(7132)
Early this morning I received a message from Dennis Cathcart informing me
of a situation regarding Pepe Portillo of Ecuador. Pepe is a friend of
mine and a darned nice fellow... Would do anything to help a friend and
help another 'plant person' get the plant of his hearts desire..... This
got him in trouble...

I do not know what can be done to help him... Dennis is checking into
this.. and I will keep you informed...

I have information from another friend that his arranignment will not be
until August 3rd..

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From: Susan Cooper coops at execpc.com> on 2001.07.25 at 22:34:03(7134)
At 09:01 PM 7/25/01 -0500, you wrote:
>Early this morning I received a message from Dennis Cathcart informing me
>of a situation regarding Pepe Portillo of Ecuador. Pepe is a friend of
>mine and a darned nice fellow... Would do anything to help a friend and
>help another 'plant person' get the plant of his hearts desire..... This
>got him in trouble...
(snippy)
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From: "newton" newton at coiinc.com> on 2001.07.25 at 22:35:05(7135)
If some of this story is true, what Pepe Portillo did was wrong, illegal and
he knew it. I have very little sympathy for Pepe. Laws, whether as
individuals we feel are just or unjust, modify our behavior, which is judged
to be in the local or international societies best interest at the time. If,
in fact, we feel the law is unjust or plainly wrong, there exists ways to go
about changing them with some effort. Sometimes we win, sometimes not. When
we don't win, perhaps we are not of the majority opinion or hold a
professional understanding of the nature of the problem that brought about
the law.

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From: Phil Bunch pbunch at cts.com> on 2001.07.26 at 23:16:52(7143)
Hear, hear. The illegal trade in wildlife (both flora and fauna) is a very
large problem. It must be controlled. If a person knowingly breaks the law
and profits by their acts they should not complain when apprehended. If
anyone feels that their country should not be a party to the CITES treaty
that is ok and they should take political action to change their
participation. Legally and morally I see little difference between
smuggling plants and smuggling drugs.

I would add that Mr. Portillo stands accused and not convicted if the
information at hand is correct. He should be considered innocent until
proven guilty. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service still has to prove their
case.

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From: Lewandjim at aol.com on 2001.07.26 at 23:17:03(7144)
In a message dated 7/26/2001 1:35:26 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
newton@coiinc.com writes:

<< I would appreciate some dialog on this topic to see if I am, in fact, of

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From: Regferns at aol.com on 2001.07.26 at 23:17:15(7145)
In a message dated 07/26/2001 1:35:26 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
newton@coiinc.com writes:

I would appreciate some dialog on this topic to see if I am, in fact, of the

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From: Paul Tyerman ptyerman at ozemail.com.au> on 2001.07.26 at 23:22:37(7151)
Howdy All,

I have to respond to this email, and I hope others do as well. I can't
believe that something like this has been allowed to happen.

I have responded below to various parts of the email......

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From: Neil Carroll zzamia at hargray.com> on 2001.07.27 at 14:01:39(7158)
Steve is VERY correct when he states that this topic can become a war zone.
I am also a member of the Cycad list and this topic easily takes up 25% or
more of our archives (much of it mine!!). Please be civil in this
discussion. It is without a doubt one of the most volitale topics because so
LITTLE is understood about it on all sides. Please consider some of the
following before you hit the send button.

I will spare you all my tirades on the subject but if you really want to
hear them just click here for an article I wrote during the CITES wars on
the cycad list.

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From: StellrJ at aol.com on 2001.07.27 at 17:40:55(7166)
In a message dated Thu, 26 Jul 2001 1:35:26 AM Eastern Daylight Time, "newton" writes:

> Laws, whether as
> individuals we feel are just or unjust, modify our behavior, which is judged
> to be in the local or international societies best interest at the time.

What I believe you are trying to say is, just because we disagree with a law, does not mean we should disregard it. This is true. After all, every criminal disagrees with the laws he breaks -- otherwise, he would not break them. And, with each of our individual talents and weaknesses, there is one thing in which we are all experts: we all excel at self-justification.

> Locally, we have several protected grasses, two of which are known to be the
> only locations in several states. Do I want them protected? You bet. Do I
> want some "damned nice fellow" to dig them up and sell them? Hell no. I can
> only imagine the ignorance of a person who would do so without regard.
>

This relates back to a comment I made about a month ago (or more), about my choice simply not to reveal the locations of sensitive species I find. The fewer people know they are there, the less likelihood someone will come after them. As I understand it, some of our State Departments of Natural Resources (or equivalent) withhold locations of the species they monitor, for exactly this reason.

> In countries where plants are endangered, and misguided laws for their
> protection are inadvertently guaranteeing their ultimate destruction due to
> habitat changes, concerned people should use the international channels to
> influence a change.

Is there a place for "cloak-and-dagger conservation"? For example, a few years ago, in an area I know, some local boys (I never met them) accidentally started a wildfire in some brush. Some weeks later, I visited the spot, finding blackened remains of an invasive shrub, and bare, blackened soil. I knew the area had, prior to settlement, been a native prairie; and I had discovered a few seeds of native prairie species in my bag, which must have fallen there while I was gathering for the State DNR some weeks before. So, I sprinkled them about on the burned site, hoping they would grow -- and thus reestablish an extirpated population. Since the land was a right-of-way for electrical transmission wires, I figured the power company would not harbor any malevolence toward them. Was I doing wrong?

>
> And don't get me started on the comment "THESE 4 CYCADS ARE NOT HURTING
> ANYTHING".... There are many
> more than 4 cycads floating over our borders and disappearing from native
> soils to the greedy hands of private and public collections.
>

Exactly. This is one of the most common self-justifications. Someone bulldozes a tract of woods to build a house, and says, "It's just one small lot." But then the guy on the next lot over does the same, and the next and the next -- each individual clearing "just one small lot" until it all adds up to a large acreage. The fact is, there are so many humans in the world today, that even if everyone does just a tiny bit of damage, we will still destroy the environment.

Jason Hernandez

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From: "mjhatfield" mjhatfield at oneota.org> on 2001.07.28 at 13:52:24(7182)
I am very interested in the current subject. In Iowa, USA, we have a T&E
species List. I have growing at my farm a T&E species. It is a prairie
plant. By law I cannot have any part of this plant in my possession. I'm in
the process of reconstructing a prairie. It is against the law for me to
gather seeds of this plant, (growing on my property), propagate it and then
plant these plants into my reconstruction. Lucky for me, Iowa has zero
enforcement. Not that I would ever break a law, and certainly I always drive
the speed limit.

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From: StellrJ at aol.com on 2001.07.29 at 12:57:43(7186)
In a message dated Fri, 27 Jul 2001 2:23:04 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Paul Tyerman writes:

ANYONE who is caught in a sting operation is thrown into
> jail first, then has everything sorted out.

Okay. Let's suppose you, a law-abiding citizen, happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and get caught in a sting. You wind up in jail. Then what? Maybe you stay there awhile until they set bail, then you have to pay exhorbitant amounts of money to get out, even though you did nothing wrong. Or, perhaps there is no bail, and you must wait in jail until the case goes to trial. By the time you are acquitted, you have lost a number of days from your life, and perhaps money you could ill-afford. Do you get any of it back? If not, then no justice was done. I say, if they ever jail me for something I did not do, then they must return to me the days I spent in jail! Otherwise they are thieves -- they have stolen a portion of my life!

Jason Hernandez

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From: Lewandjim at aol.com on 2001.07.29 at 16:59:48(7188)
In a message dated 7/29/2001 3:58:03 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
StellrJ@aol.com writes:

<< ANYONE who is caught in a sting operation is thrown into

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From: plantnut plantnut at macconnect.com> on 2001.07.29 at 17:00:40(7189)
It has been very interesting to read the various view points on this
subject. I can appreciate all of them... A few years ago, I was walking
around with my head in the clouds thinking that all was right with the
world and that the Conservationists were doing a very good job. That
everyone that was caught doing something that they should not have been
doing deserved what they got no matter how it was found out and no matter
how severe the punishment was.

Then, would you believe I became a "Plant Policeman"? Not for the Feds.
but for the State of Florida... and then.... I found out what reality was
like. The whold thing is run on the regular burecratic system... points
for sucking up to the boss and making him/her look good. That is the
system. Logic and justice has nothing to do with anything. Just
punishment for an offense... no such thing... In this vein, I appreciate
the comments of Jason. He is right on... The wrong place at the wrong
time... I have seen it often... And as far as giving back the time...
Sure, "I'm sorry" does not cut it... I left the "Plant Police" in just
three years... couldn't take it anymore...

Mr. McNinch... I'm very glad you have seen reality. I feel that by
starting this line of thought, I have at least brought one person to
reality and that is a good thing. Many thanks for your last posting. I
appreciate it.

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From: "George R Stilwell, Jr." grsjr at juno.com> on 2001.07.29 at 20:02:32(7191)
Jim,

Right On! Enough "opinions" is more than enough!

Ray

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From: Susan Cooper coops at execpc.com> on 2001.07.29 at 20:02:42(7192)
Otherwise they are thieves -- they have stolen a portion of my life!

>Jason Hernandez

Just what I said when I saw the movie Planet of the Apes. Someone owes me
two hours!
Susan

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