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Rats and Developers

July 09, 1989

While we believe that Jeanne Boyer's article on the Stephens' kangaroo rat ("Rat Race Gnaws at the Nerves of Riverside County Home Builders," June 18) fairly presented the issues involved, we think there are two areas of concern that deserve further attention.

First, the Stephens' kangaroo rat is a subspecies of kangaroo rat. Other subspecies, such as the Pacific kangaroo rat, are quite prevalent and not at all endangered. Also, the multiplication rate for the kangaroo rat is very high. Therefore, if the concern is losing part of the food chain or disrupting the environmental balance, it is doubtful that the loss of a particular subspecies would cause a problem. Also, since it multiplies so rapidly, we question the actual need to protect it.

Second, regardless of one's personal attitude toward the value of saving the Stephens' kangaroo rat or any other species, plants, etc., it is not fair to place the entire burden on the new home buyer. If our society, through the federal government, deems it appropriate to save the Stephens' kangaroo rat, then society as a whole, through the federal government, should pay. The burden should not just be on new-home buyers in Riverside County.

ALAN L. NEWMAN

Rancho Cucamonga

Friedman is vice president of Friedman Homes.

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