Let me start by saying that any kid from Elko gets a point from me. Right out of the chute.
So when Neil Kornze was appointed the new director of the Bureau of Land Management by the U.S. Senate, he got no guff from me or anyone in Nevada that I know of.
Some senators thought he was too young. But he worked for Sen. Harry Reid and that was enough to gain confirmation.
“Neil is just perfect for this position,” Reid said. “Raised in Elko, NV, Neil really understands the role of public lands in rural America, and natural resources across the West.”
Less than 14 days later, Kornze led a spectacularly botched roundup of “undocumented” cattle in Bunkerville. He charged in all Gen. Custer-like to the rural Nevada community, trying to enforce a federal order to stop rancher Cliven Bundy from grazing his cattle in the area without paying grazing fees.
Knowing he would encounter protesters, he even created a First Amendment area, which was not only unconstitutional it served to only aggravate matters.
The bungled roundup, which almost came to gun play, rests entirely on Kornze. If indeed the newly minted BLM chief does understand the role of the BLM when it comes to private ranchers, he didn’t show it last weekend.
He mucked it up big time. He eventually took his armed federal agents away at the advice of just about every adult in the room.
The Bundy situation remains unresolved. The BLM and Kornze have fallen back into a bunker mentality (pardon the bad pun). It’s clear that Kornze lacks experience and judgment and contrary to Sen. Reid’s assessment Kornze is far from “perfect” for this position.
We may need to re-think his appointment (Elko roots notwithstanding).