Saturday, July 1, 2017

Uh, yeah, it's not about gardens.

I have Google Alerts set up for Mt. Lebanon and thought it was rather funny that these two alerts appeared at the same time.

Dave Brumfield is a liar. He told Barbara Sollenberger that he knows it is about gardens, not car accidents. Read why after twenty-five consecutive years, I quit going to the Garden Tour. Babs tarnishes the Garden Tour

Lebanon garden tour features exotic plants and an inherited garden

Kerry and Bill Boehner inherited an impressive garden and have worked to preserve it by a new pool. Both properties are featured on the MtLebanon ...
MtLebanon to resume archery hunt for deer
For the third year in a row, a controlled archery hunt for whitetail deer will be held in MtLebanon. Commissioners on Monday voted 4-1 to approve a ...


Anonymous said...

"It’s hard to believe but Ms. Delaney, a retired horticultural therapist, has two fig trees and an olive tree bearing fruit. The 4-year old potted fig tree is from Italy, and a 7-year-old fig planted in the garden is from Greece. The 13-year-old olive tree is also from Italy.
“I was abroad and couldn't leave without cutting from the trees, “ she said. “I’m lucky customs didn’t catch me.”

So now it's OK to flaunt the law?!

Bringing Agricultural Products Into the United States
If you’ve had food, plants or souvenirs taken away by an inspector at an international airport, border crossing, or seaport, we want you to understand the reasons.

Certain items brought into the United States from foreign countries are restricted according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations. Prohibited agricultural items can harbor plant pests and foreign animal diseases that could seriously damage America’s crops, livestock, and the environment – and a large sector of our country’s economy.

All travelers entering the United States are REQUIRED to DECLARE meats, fruits, vegetables, plants, seeds, soil, animals, as well as plant and animal products (including soup or soup products) they may be carrying. The declaration must cover all items carried in checked baggage, carry-on luggage, or in a vehicle.

Upon examination of plants, animal products, and associated items, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at the ports of entry will determine if these items meet the entry requirements of the United States. Always DECLARE agricultural items by checking “Yes” on Question 11 of the CBP Declaration Form 6059B.

Avoid Fines and Delays
Prohibited items that are not declared by passengers are confiscated and disposed of by CBP agriculture specialists. More importantly, civil penalties may be assessed for failure to declare prohibited agricultural products and may range up to $1,000 per first-time offense for non-commercial quantities.

General Guidelines:
Fruits, Vegetables, and Plants

Depending on the country of origin, some fruits, vegetables, and plants may be brought into the United States without advance permission, provided they are declared, inspected, and found free of pests. However, certain plants and ANY plant parts intended for growing (propagative) require a foreign phytosanitary certificate in advance. For information on certificates, contact the USDA/APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine Permit Unit at (301) 851-2046 or (877) 770-5990

Please - Do Your Part to Help Protect American Agriculture
When planning your trip, keep in mind that regulations change frequently around the world, depending on outbreaks of plant and animal diseases. So, whether or not the item in question seems to be one that is permitted, travelers are still responsible for declaring those items and presenting them for inspection upon returning to the United States.

DECLARE all agriculture-related products when entering the United States.

Jason Margolis said...

The Commissioners -- ALL the commissioners -- are only good off the record.

Weak, weak, weak leadership.

Anonymous said...

So I guess both the Garden Club AND the Environmental Sustainability Board due to their silence on sneaking plants past customs think such activity is OK?

Teach the children well.

Richard Gideon said...

What I'm having a hard time understanding is why Ms. Delaney, suspecting that she had done something illegal, would proclaim it in a major regional newspaper!

Anonymous said...

Possibly superciliousness Richard, or maybe braggadocio.

Anonymous said...

Somebody -- quick-- call customs. ;)

Anonymous said...

While Ms. Delaney will be harvesting figs this year, it would appear that this blog's readership will enjoy a bumper crop of sour grapes.

Tip your waitress!

Anonymous said...

Gee, I wonder why we have Customs rules!

"Europe orders Italians to cut down olive trees infected with bacteria"

"Xylella fastidiosa is “one of the most dangerous plant bacteria worldwide, causing a variety of diseases, with huge economic impact for agriculture,” according to the European Commission."

E. T. Gillen said...

Even though the PG reports of two gardens, there will be nine gardens, according to the library's website.

Anonymous said...

New olive disease in Italy concerns California researchers - Green Blog - ANR Blogs

Anonymous said...

Oh no! I hope that olive disease doesn't transmit to all of Mt. Lebanon's olive groves! So many of our local olive farmers would be devastated! Oh no!

E. T. Gillen said...

OMG, it is not about olive disease. Honestly, can we stay on topic? How about talking about our lying commissioner? Or that it is really about protecting gardens and not about reducing car accidents?

Anonymous said...

The repeated false claims by the handful of pro-kill elitist gardeners that a majority of Mt. Lebanon residents are pro-kill are based on nothing but lies. When asked for evidence to back up these claims, they present nothing. On the other hand, below is a link to a 2015 KDKA Poll which shows that 82.58% voted against the deer cull vs. 17.45% supporting it.

"Are You in Favor of The Mt. Lebanon Deer Culling Plan?""


NO - 82.58%
YES - 17.45%

Anonymous said...

The point isn't about protecting Mt. Lebanon's olive groves, but.its rather about engaging in an activity just because an individual or individuals WANT something because they feel entitled.
I wanted and olive tree so screw the rules I'm going to smuggle one into the country.
We gardeners don't want deer, so screw our neighbors if they don't feel safe with guns being discharged near their homes, we want it and we want them to foot the bill for it.

Anonymous said...

Below are some press quotes from ex-Commissioner Barbara Logan who started the push for a deer killing program back in 2006/07 time frame.

"My shouting and screaming at them does nothing," she said.

"My concern is that if, or when, this plan happens, many of us will be disappointed because our deer are not in an area where we can cull them," said Commissioner Barbara Logan.

"I'm afraid that once we start culling them, they'll lay low until it is over," added Logan

Ms. Logan said she understood that some people are upset at the thought of killing deer, but whether they die from old age, disease, hunger or hunting, "One way or another, the deer are going to die."

Commissioner Logan rejected a community safe and humane solution offer from Jay Kirkpatrick Ph.D., the Director of the Science and Conservation Center at Zoo Montana (, one of the leading wildlife contraception scientists, to help Mt. Lebanon implement a PZP deer contraception program. There are peer reviewed studies published in scientific journals showing suburban deer populations reduced over time by 35-50%.

So you can make your own assessment, but I believe these quotes give the impression that killing the deer was a personal agenda and about deer browsing. No mention of car-deer collisions.

Anonymous said...

I respectfully disagree with Commissioner Brumfield. BTW, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the same Commissioner Brumfield who promised his constituents that he'd never vote to approve rifle shooting in Mt. Lebanon, because of the serious safety threat it posed to his constituents, and who then voted for approve Wildlife Specialists LLC to use AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifles*, and then voted to approve DeNicola's bait-and-shoot program.

* Remember when one of Wildlife Specialists shooters posted an anonymous post on Elaine's blog apologizing to Mt. Lebanon residents, and revealed the terrifying truth about their shooting program, i.e. how unsafe and inhumane it was.

I don't know, but observations give the perception that the deer killing program was a personal agenda launched by Barbara Logan when she was a Commissioner back in 2006/07, and it always appeared to be about gardens. The handful of elitist gardeners just changed their strategy and made it about car-deer collisions to give the commissioners cover to vote for turning Mt. Lebanon into a private hunting preserve and shooting gallery. Everyone involved in this debate knows this to be true. The car-deer collision campaign was a total ruse by the elitist gardeners. They wanted deer slaughtered to protect their flowers, and some wanted their homes featured on the library garden tour. These elitist gardeners didn't attend the free deer proofing seminars and refused to plant deer resistent flowers. They didn't want a safe and humane population reduction, even with funding. There was something vengeful and heartless about the slaughter they demanded and got. I'd feel sorry for them if they weren't causing such needless slaughter, and turning Mt. Lebanon into dangerous hunting preserve and shooting gallery.

BTW, out of all the commission meetings and special town hall meetings held about deer over the years I never counted more than about 13 residents, out of a population of 33,000+, who spoke at public comments to complain about the deer. As I remember, most of the complaints were about the deer eating their flowers.

Anonymous said...

July 1 @ 4:10, it's all about what you value isn't it!

Guess we know where your's lie.

Anonymous said...

4:10, we can afford to buy our figs and enjoy them in a garden we designed and cultivated with our own hands and in which we enjoy seeing deer and other wildlife occasionally visit.

Anonymous said...

Why does the cull have to have a more specific purpose (gardens, collisions, etc)? Why can't it simply be that the community (through its Commission) has determined - based on a totality of circumstances - that it is best to control the deer population in a suburban community that is not capable of supporting a robust deer population? I don't think you need to be a PhD to recognize that much of suburban Pittsburgh (and perhaps even Pittsburgh itself) has too many deer. Some may disagree, but I think the pro/anti cullers alike will often agree that some population control is necessary. Why do USC, Bethel, S. Fayette and Peters cull? To get rid of deer. Plain and simple. In those communities it's not specifically about reducing collisions, eliminating the risk of Lyme disease or preserving gardens. Instead, it's like snow removal or garbage pick up. Those communities don't even debate the subject any more. It just happens.

I personally think that our Commission, in attempting to do the right thing, has allowed itself to be boxed into corner. Instead of simply culling deer to reduce the deer population, they have felt the need (perhaps in response to anti-cull sentiment) to establish a subset of purpose for the cull when in reality a more general purpose would suffice. Culling doesn't have to be about ONE specific result. Just like the police dept doesn't exist to prevent one specific type of crime or just like the fire dept doesn't exist solely to put out fires. Culling deer in this type of community has a lot of beneficial outcomes. It doesn't have to be about just one.

And of course there are risks. But I haven't seen anything that even remotely suggests that the municipality has been lax on safety when eliminating deer. I've never seen an archer or a sharpshooter. Never heard a shot. Never seen a wounded deer as the result of a botched cull. Never found a dead deer. And yet, hundreds have been removed from our town during this process. If other residents have witnessed these things in any sort of critical mass, certainly there would be a lot more people speaking at Commission meetings, or sending emails, or calling the police, or calling KDKA. Truth is, they're not. So is there really anything left to debate?

E. T. Gillen said...

This is the only portion of the recently submitted comment that I will print.
"the last three election results in which pro kill candidates trounced anti kill candidates."
Please refresh my memory. I don't recall any anti- kill candidates, unless you mean me. I am flattered that you are even considering my write-in campaign as serious. I spent zero money. The last commission election had only pro-kill candidates in two of the three seats. Please list those anti-kill candidates who were "trounced."

E. T. Gillen said...

9:31 AM, you exhaust me.

There were people from Castle Shannon who wanted to speak about botched attempts, but Susan Morgans told them on the phone that only residents of Mt. Lebanon are permitted to speak at commission meetings. I have asked the commissioners to contact Castle Shannon police for the reports, but they ignored me.

I have published photos on my website. I have listed botched attempts on my website. All ignored. We had people calling the police to report the sounds of gunshots and the police would come back with something like "There is no deer culling activity in that area tonight." How comforting. So the gunshots heard were for other reasons.

The last "sharpshooting" resulted in disappointing results. We ended up spending over $800 per deer to be killed because there were no deer to kill. How much will that cost per deer be this winter?

As someone continues to point out, the archery programs in surrounding areas are at no cost to taxpayers, but Tony DeNicola has found four commissioners who would rather pay him $9000, so that he can sit in his recliner in Connecticut and do nothing.

You are right. There is nothing to debate. Nobody listens. The commissioners continue to waste money.

Anonymous said...


Getting "rid of deer" is an example of primal aggression. The human race, on a very basic level, finds it satisfying, if not entertaining.


Anonymous said...

9:31, sure USC, Bethel and many communities cull, but you fail to mention that a significant number do not. You write: "Why do USC, Bethel, S. Fayette and Peters cull? To get rid of deer. Plain and simple. In those communities it's not specifically about reducing collisions, eliminating the risk of Lyme disease or preserving gardens. Instead, it's like snow removal or garbage pick up. Those communities don't even debate the subject any more. It just happens."

Really?! You're comparing firing bullets in residential neighborhoods and killing something to snow removal. Please tell me that you're not serious?

Also, you fail to mention that Bethel and the county use FREE service to manage their deer population. Why must we spend upwards of $800/deer to run our culling. Why should we pay that absurd price?

We have two separate debates here.
1. Do we really need to cull?
2. How much should we pay for it?

For me and I believe many others #2 is relatively easy to solve. Go with FREE if you must cull. #1 is going to take a little more debate. Please tell me what an acceptable number of deer is for you? 100? 50? 10? How about zero, we should wipe them off the face of the earth?

Anonymous said...

9:31, if you will since I'm not a PhD why is there such an explosion of "Drive like your kids live here" signs and the municipality feels a need to wage a "Look Up Lebo" campaign.

Could we be our own worst enemies? I just don't see a lot of those signs in other areas.

Perhaps we could solve the deer vehicle problem by getting off our cell phones, obeying traffic laws and slowing down.

Anonymous said...

Why Killing Deer Doesn't Work

While it may seem counter intuitive, killing deer actually triggers an increase in deer reproduction and population. This phenomena is called compensatory reproduction (rebound) and is a well documented population dynamic in deer and other mammals. When the deer herd density is temporarily reduced through hunting, culling, or trapping, there is reduced competition for food, and the number of twins and triplets born actually increases. Studies have shown that after a hunt surviving females produced enough offspring to not only replace those killed, but enough to actually increase the size of the herd. This phenomenon explains why hunting as a management tool has resulted in an ever-increasing number of deer in this country. For example, a study conducted by the Dept of Wildlife and Range Sciences, School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida sampled deer from five separate sites: three hunted and two nonhunted. The study found that the incidence of twins being born to a pregnant doe was higher on hunted land than on non hunted land. The study found the incidence of twinning was 38% on hunted sites and 14% on nonhunted sites. No twinning was observed among pregnant fawns or yearlings from nonhunted areas, whereas...18% of the pregnant yearlings and...33% of the pregnant fawns from hunted areas carried twins." (Reproductive Dynamics Among Disjunct White-tailed Deer Herds in Florida", Journal of Wildlife Management [1985]).

Laura Simon, The Humane Society of the United States's (HSUS) wildlife biologist writes: "One of the main problems with trying to manage deer through any kind of hunting or culling – as repeatedly cited during a Smithsonian Institute conference on Deer Overabundance (McShea et. al 1997) – is that deer are highly prolific, and their high reproductive rate can quickly compensate for declines in their population. They exhibit higher productivity (i.e. more twins and triplets are born, have higher survival rates, etc.) as their numbers lessen and more food becomes available for the remaining deer. In other words, they 'bounce back'. ... We do not see any evidence that hunting or culling works over the long-term or is an answer for suburban deer conflicts."

Killing deer is not a solution to a problem, but a commitment to a permanent problem.

Anonymous said...

9:31, can't comprehend that kinda of info, even though your information is generated by educated people.

Here's a thought, Dan Miller our state rep argues that our special ed programs are lacking in our school district. As a taxpayer I rather see our money going to that instead of killing deer which can be culled for free (if we decided that is really, really necessary).

Anonymous said...


Point well made. Unfortunately, the Mt. Lebo commission denies scientific facts. What's the well-educated to do when their leaders are morons?

Anonymous said...

9:31 AM Makes the same lame argument that turning Mt. Lebanon into a private hunting preserve and dangerous shooting gallery, for no specific reason or justification, is no big deal and that should be quietly accepted - USC does it. BTW, USC has been doing it for years on end because it doesn't resolve their deer-human conflicts.

I guess in her opinion, residents who fear for their family's safety when their neighbor invites shooters to bait-and-shoot deer in their back yard should just move into their basements or out of Mt. Lebanon. Or residents, who don't want their children to be traumatized by seeing sentient animals wounded or killed and suffering, should just toughen their children up. And the residents with PTSD who appealed to the commissioners not to allow lethal weapons into the community should just do something - I don't know what she wants them to do.

Why do pro-kill people like 9:31 AM refuse to plant deer resistant flowers and deer proof their yards, i.e. stop planting a smorgasbord of irresistible deer food that attracts deer from all over the region into Mt. Lebanon to browse?

Why do pro-kill people like 9:31 AM reject safe, humane, and even funded, non-lethal deer mgt solutions?

Why do pro-kill people like 9:31 AM seem to have absolutely no concern for animal cruelty, killing pregnant doe or killing fawns? I thought Mt. Lebanon was supposed to be a "Community with Character".

Why do pro-kill people like 9:31 AM not care how shooting and hunting negatively affects the quality of life for many Mt. Lebanon residents?

Anonymous said...

12:31, because 9:31 thinks it's just like plowing snow.

E. T. Gillen said...

Another unapproved comment made by Anonymous claims that there are two readers who are anti-cull. Again, very specific data. I would love for you to cite your sources. I need to get in on that data!

Anonymous said...

I don't suppose that anonymous commenter told you exactly how many deer living in MTL they'd find acceptable.

E. T. Gillen said...

I have decided to only publish anti-kill comments since the anonymous comments from the deer haters has gotten out of control.

Anonymous said...

Below is a 2015 letter published in the Post-Gazette by Laura Simon, the Humane Society of the United States' (HSUS) wildlife ecologist and deer expert. All of Laura Simon's expert advice was ignored ongoing by the Mt. Lebanon Commissioners in favor of pro-kill vendors recommendations who had obvious bias and conflicts of interest. Laura Simon's HSUS letter which was sent directly to the Mt. Lebanon Commission opposing the hunting and culling programs was hidden from residents, and was never published or listed on Mt. Lebanon's deer management website. Another example of bias and "transparent" governing. That's likely why Ms. Simon felt that she had to submit a letter to the Post-Gazette, i.e. it was the only way HSUS could get its message out to the residents in Mt. Lebanon.


Ms. Simon submitted a Letter to the Editor to the PG which appears in today's newspaper. Shooting deer won't solve the problem

January 23, 2015 12:00 AM

Although an archery deer kill was called off recently, Mt. Lebanon’s decision to pursue other lethal options is a big mistake. Simply put, killing deer won’t resolve Mt. Lebanon’s deer issues, but it will waste taxpayer dollars and result in an endless cycle of killing.

As long as the community maintains dozens of floral islands that entice deer onto the streets and as long as residents don’t utilize preventative gardening strategies, the problems will continue. Killed deer will be soon replaced by those wandering in from the surrounding deer-rich habitat.

Deer confound efforts to control their numbers in other ways. Where they’re hunted, deer numbers bounce back. When deer have better nutrition, they breed at a younger age and have higher fawn survival. The net result is a population surge after any hunting decline.

And, as science shows us, killing some deer won’t reduce human risk of Lyme disease — there are too many hosts that the tick will take advantage of. Nor is it assured that deer-car collisions will lessen once some deer are removed.

The deer-killing methods to be used are understandably controversial: Bow-hunting incurs a high crippling rate, and it’s hard to fire a metal bolt into the brain of a struggling deer with enough precision to ensure a humane death.

The Humane Society of the United States urges the Mt. Lebanon community to show true leadership and invest in an innovative, effective, humane and long-term solution. That is, one that utilizes deer-resistant gardening strategies, state-of-the-art fertility control options and successful collision reduction strategies already in operation elsewhere.

Laura Simon
Wildlife ecologist
The Humane Society of the United States
Washington, D.C.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Laura Simon gets the last word.


Anonymous said...

It is your blog Elaine to do with as you wish, but why not unblushing the deer-haters comments to show what kind of people they really are.

Anonymous said...

Correction @ 6:52
publish not unblushing

E. T. Gillen said...

No thanks. They are doing a splendid job of showing their true colors without more help from me..