October 4, 2006
This morning’s Dallas Morning News carries a sad story. Dallas City Councilman Mitchell Rasansky’s campaign against an Eagle Scout project finally bore fruit for Rasansky — he persuaded the city’s parks department to remove three bat houses which had been installed in a city park.
Rasansky first complained last spring. Irrationally, against all evidence, he said he thought the bat houses were a menace. When a storm of public opinion overwhelmed him, he backed off. The 70,000 or so Scouts and Scouters of Circle 10 Council relaxed, happy to know that the Eagle’s project was at work, reducing mosquitoes and, thereby, reducing the risks of West Nile virus.
Is it unfair to suggest Rasansky hates Boy Scouts? Probably. Is it unfair to suggest he’s mean and doesn’t let rationality get in the way of good public policy? I doubt it. Consider: 11 North Texans have died from West Nile virus already this year —
16 24 people have died across Texas — and Rasansky’s evidence of danger from the bats is a story of a rabid bat in Houston. One bat? One of the deaths from West Nile virus was an otherwise healthy young man who lived within a few hundred yards of my son at the University of Texas at Dallas. West Nile is not a minor problem around here.
Worse, Rasansky kept his actions secret this time. He got the bat houses removed without notice to the Scout who put them up, nor notice to anyone else concerned.
Some people told me Mitch Rasansky is really a nice guy, when this flap first arose last spring. I gave him the benefit of the doubt then. Not now.
Any man who favors West Nile virus over the public service project of an Eagle Scout has his priorities wrong at best, and is a menace to public health at worst. I don’t want a person running my town who can’t figure out that West Nile virus is a greater health hazard than bats.
Who is running against Rasansky? Arm that woman (or man) with some facts, and let the race begin, even though we’re months away from the election.
More information: See the Organization for Bat Conservation for more information about bats and their benefits.