War of words, Bibb counters Oliver letter

Photo By Eric Burk: A war of words is brewing between two contributing columnists.

Dear Editor:

Seems Mr. Dexter K. Oliver has taken umbrage with my editorial “Of Fires and Horses,” Gila Valley Central, July 6, in which I cite his editorial “A Travesty of Justice,” Gila Valley Central, July 4, relating to the deaths of two horses and one mule while in the care of the U.S. Forest Service in Greenlee County, Clifton District.

Oliver asserts I took liberty with certain facts within his article pertaining to the conduct of two USFS employees and the manner in which their legal case proceeded through both the Greenlee County Attorney’s Office and the Federal District Court in Tucson.

Actually, he places me in the same league with “Kellyann Conway, counselor to President Trump and ardent supporter of such twisting of the truth, has nothing on local editorialist Mike Bibb.”

Well, there is at least one major difference – Mrs. Conway gets paid more for her efforts.

Mr. Oliver wrote in his rebuttal “Writer Of Forest Service Animal Cruelty Piece Takes Issue With Bibb Editorial,” GVC, July 7, that I had written that the “USFS petitioned to have the case removed from the Greenlee court to the federal court in Tucson. This is blatantly false and anyone reading my article closely would see that.”

I read the article – several times. Oliver wrote “The (USFS) range management specialist had hired a well-known lawyer from Tucson who told the court, via telephone, that he was filing a ‘notice of removal action’ because his client was a federal employee.”

Oliver goes on to say “The Greenlee County Attorney’s Office felt compelled to dismiss the case, so it could go to the federal district court in Tucson, and they signed those papers on June 7, 2017. They also dismissed the second range employee’s case, assuming it too would end up in federal court.”

I’m a little confused in Oliver’s objection to my assessment of the situation. He plainly said a lawyer for the USFS employee filed a motion to move the case from Greenlee County to Tucson because his client was a federal employee, which is almost exactly what I said.

I wrote in my July 5 piece “the USFS petitioned to have the case removed from Greenlee County and placed into federal jurisdiction because the defendants were federal employees of the Forest Service.” The lawyer for the USFS employee filed the motion for his client. Who else would do it? Where’s the discrepancy?

Oliver then disputes my take on the USFS worker claiming immunity from prosecution under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution because of his claim of being a USFS law enforcement officer.

Again, there seems to be a little confusion. Oliver wrote in his July 4 article that he “was amazed to find that the range management specialist was now claiming, to the court, to be a ‘federal law enforcement officer’ who was ‘immune from prosecution pursuant to the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.’ This removal action was signed and dated May 16, 2017 by his attorney.”

In his own words, Oliver admits the Forest Service employee said he was a USFS law enforcement officer and his attorney signed the documents affirming such statements. Whether or not those statements were true is another matter to be hashed-out later.

Nevertheless, Mr. Oliver insists I’ve used “alternative facts” in my July 5 GVC article “to further his own agenda pertaining to the incompetency of the Forest Service.”  

I don’t believe alternative facts are required to establish the incompetency of the Forest Service, particularly in this case.  They did quite well without my assistance. Two dehydrated dead horses and a mule is all the evidence needed.

Mike Bibb

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