Take it or Leave it: GETTING THE FACTS RIGHT, part 1… RE: MOAB’S RECENT POLITICAL PAST…by Jim Stiles



“For many, this is deja-vu. Grand County has been through this before. And, we know how to deal with it.”                          
—Chris Baird, candidate for Grand County Council  (explaining his recall petition to remove Lynn Jackson from office.)

Sometimes I miss Moab. I miss my friends and I miss the landscape. But this autumn, I feel relieved to be gone. When it comes to Grand County politics and its contentious nature, I don’t miss it at all. And perhaps, it can be argued, because I am no longer a resident of Grand County and subsequently don’t have a vote, I don’t have a right to express an opinion. Some have reminded me that I am no longer “in touch” with the town of Moab and I agree wholeheartedly; there are aspects of Moab and Grand County, and more specifically elements of its citizenry, that are so alien to me, I lack the ability to express my own astonishment. Yes, the town has changed and in some ways bears little resemblance to the place I knew and loved.

But I do have an ongoing interest in the community I called home for 32 years. While I know that my views on the ‘new’ Book Cliffs Highway proposal have not changed since I first opposed the project 25 years ago, it would be a mistake for me to offer an opinion on issues like the ‘Seven County Coalition.’  It’s far too complex and my understanding of it is too limited to contribute in any way to the discussion.  But although I may not fully understand the events that are occurring there now, I do have a comprehensive understanding of Moab’s past–especially the ‘Change of Government” referendum in 1992 and the subsequent recall efforts. Moabites should not confuse the two events.

A few months ago, as the reincarnation of the old Book Cliffs Highway project raised its head again, I read a comment from Castle Valley Mayor Dave Erley, who wrote, “I would like to add the irony of watching the 7 member council, we threw out the 3 member commission for proposing the same road, unanimously pass support for the feasibility study.”And when former councilman, and now candidate again, Chris Baird recently initiated a recall to remove Council chairman, Lynn Jackson, from office, he wrote, “For many, this is deja-vu. Grand County has been through this before. And, we know how to deal with it.”Well…that’s not quite right. Both Erley and Baird are invoking events of the past to explain their own actions; the problem is, their interpretation of Grand County’s history is not just inaccurate. It’s wrong. It isn’t what happened. Fortunately, there is an excellent record of the facts as they occurred between 1989 and 1993—from this publication. So let’s get the facts right…

BACK TO 1988-1993

In 1988, Grand County citizens voted in a referendum that would ban industrial applications like toxic waste incinerators, via a change in our zoning laws. The plan to bring the incinerator to Grand County was the brainchild of then-Commissioners Jimmy Walker, Dutch Zimmerman and David Knutson.

In retrospect, I can see that, while many of us disagreed strongly with the plan, they were simply looking for ways to boost an ever-shrinking tax base that had seen much of its population lose jobs after the uranium collapse and move away. The commissioners were all longtime Moabites and had seen the community prosper, via the energy industry. They thought they were doing the right thing, even if others didn’t.

Still almost 60% of the voters in 1988 opposed the idea, and the referendum to restrict the zoning uses passed. The incinerator was stopped and both Walker and Zimmerman, who were up for re-election, were defeated. Democrats Merv Lawton and Ferne Mullen became the new 4 year and 2 year commissioners, now joining Republican Knutson.

As lame duck commissioners, Walker, Zimmerman and Knutson established the “Grand County Roads Special Service District.” There was some logic to the creation of a service district. The Utah state legislature had allowed the establishment of these districts so that counties in Utah could receive federal mineral lease monies without jeopardizing PILT (payment in lieu of taxes) funds that were already being distributed. The idea however that the funds must be spent on roads, a notion pushed by the new road district, was simply wrong.

What made the creation of the district even more controversial was that the lame duck commissioners, in effect, installed themselves to run the new district. Walker became its paid administrator and Zimmerman sat on the board, as did Dave Knutson’s father, Ollie.

There was some speculation that the new Democrat-controlled commission would stop the ‘road-only’ agenda in tracks early-on, but that did not happen. In the very first issue of The Zephyr, in the first interview with the new commission and, in fact, the first question, I asked Lawton, Mullen and Knutson about the highway proposal (and another road proposal being pushed by the BLM at Trough Springs). Knutson, of course, was 100% in favor. But so were Mullen and Lawton…

From March 14, 1989:

Ferne: Yes I support both of them. The Book Cliffs Road will provide a road from northern Utah and Yellowstone, where they can come directly through the Canyonlands…

Merv: On the Book Cliffs Road, it sounds like a sound scheme. I’ve been up in the Vernal area and it’s been an awful sweat to get down to here. It has good potential for tourism and there are a lot of gas and oil areas in that region that could benefit Grand County.

So, in the beginning, opposition to the Book Cliffs Highway was practically nil. The road district, with letters of support from both the Grand County Commission and the Moab City Council received a substantial loan from the CIB (the Community Impact Board) to begin the process of engineering a route and obtaining the necessary environmental clearances that such a project would require. The BLM spent the next four years preparing a massive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

In November 1990, David Knutson was re-elected and Manuel Torres handily defeated Democrat Craig Bigler. Now, with what they considered a mandate from the voters of Grand County, the Republican-controlled commission moved forward with the highway, convinced that opposition to the road was negligible. And because of a change in the state law, both Torres and Knutson were elected to four year terms. Previously, county commissions consisted of two 4-year terms and one 2-year. In this way, the balance of power could always shift after two years. Now, with the Torres seat converted to a four year term, both Republicans felt confident they could pursue their agenda without interference until 1994.

By 1992, attitudes toward the highway began to shift. However, it was not the Book Cliffs Highway that precipitated the plan to change Grand County’s form of government. In fact, it had nothing to do with the road or the road board at all.

In March 1992, the Grand County Travel Council presented its recommendations for a new executive director. Despite their choice, the commissioners picked their own, Moabite Robbie Swazey, who had previously served as a volunteer deputy director of the Moab Film Commission. The outrage this decision created for some members of the Travel Council board was fast and furious. Half the board resigned and it was after that meeting, when the idea of creating a new form of government in Grand County first surfaced.  The organizers were not Grand County citizens with an environmental agenda either; in fact, most of them were Main Street business owners who were likewise infuriated with the Travel Council ED choice.

As the summer turned to fall and the ‘change of government’ referendum drew closer, the issue of the Book Cliffs Highway finally became part of the discussion. In October 1992, the BLM released its EIS and did not support the highway as planned by the Road District. It did offer the alternative of paving the East Canyon road along its current alignment, a choice that made nobody happy.

It’s also important to remember that the political party leaders, particularly the Democrats, vigorously opposed the ‘change of government’ vote because a key part of the change called for non-partisan elections. Party affiliation had already been eliminated in municipal elections (ie, city votes); now county-wide elections would no longer be tied to party preferences either. Many prominent Grand County Democrats–including some who supported this year’s recall efforts—opposed the change and refused to actively campaign for the referendum. Consequently, these Democrats were willing to allow, albeit reluctantly, the current commission to continue its support of the road district and the highway.

Finally, in November, the change of government proposal was approved by the voters of Grand County. A new 7-person council was elected in February 1993 and in April, the council de-funded the road district, choosing instead to re-distribute the mineral lease funds to other special service districts, including the hospital and waste management districts. ‘The Book Cliffs Highway’ was dead.

But a part of Moab/Grand County felt that their community had, in effect, been robbed of its elected representation. The new form of government provided a ‘recall’ option. Because the previous commission-type government provided no option for removal, the framers of the new government wrote rules that made recall very easy. And so opponents of the newly created council collected enough signatures on petitions to force the entire council to a recall vote. But the recall election failed miserably, and each of the challenged councilpersons actually gained support over their first election by as much as 10%.

Some could argue that the re-callers had a point. Even I conceded to having some doubts in the November 1993  Zephyr. Just before the recall vote,  I complained that the recall was “utterly ridiculous..they’ve (the council) hardly had time to screw things up, and, obviously, it’s a tit for tat response to last year’s sweeping change.” But I also made a confession of sorts, thinking back to the original change of government vote, a year earlier. I wrote,” When I discovered that the two incumbents would not somehow be ‘grandfathered’ into the new government, I remember feeling vaguely troubled, though I never raised a word of protest…but I wish I had listened to my instincts. Whether I wanted them to serve the balance of their terms should not have been the issue. The fact was, they were elected by a majority of the citizens to serve a full four years.”

As much as I loathed the idea of a Book Cliffs Highway, and despite the fact that Commissioner David Knutson was one of its primary proponents, I was troubled by the fact that we’d revoked the will of the people and simply cancelled the mandate he (and fellow commissioner Manuel Torres) won in 1990.

But despite my reservations, you could not find a ‘liberal/progressive’ Moabite with a kind word to say about the recall effort. Words like “vindictive,” “mean-spirited,” and “petty” were bandied about to describe the folly of it all. I believe I used those words myself.

After the recall election, some Moabites discussed the idea of making the recall more difficult, by more than doubling the number of signatures on a petition required to initiate a vote. But nobody wanted to mess with a formula that had been in place less than a year.



Now jump ahead twenty years as Grand County’s ‘liberal/progressive’ constituency recently attempted to use the same strategy it once called ‘vindictive,’ to remove an elected official from office. Lynn Jackson  ran unopposed for the at-large seat on the Grand County Council in 2012. He was then elected its chair by his fellow councilpersons. Lynn has since infuriated many Grand County citizens and some have accused him of usurping power without authority.

It’s been suggested by his critics that being elected unopposed hardly gives him a mandate. But in fact, it does. If the opposition couldn’t find a single candidate to run against Jackson, it only has itself to blame. Either they didn’t find his candidacy a great enough threat to oppose, or were too apathetic to care. Even if they were sure to lose, a contested election might have at least raised some of the issues Jackson is now pursuing—issues that they now find so abhorrent.

I first heard about the recall idea back in March,  from the man who aggressively pushed it, former county councilman (and now running again) Chris Baird. He wrote to me in a March 27 email, “I am considering launching a recall election over this bookcliffs proposal, which would entail a campaign similar to the one run regarding changing the form of government back in the early 90s.  I haven’t decided on it yet, and am just trying to talk with as many people as possible to get their opinion on the issue.  If you’re ever interested in talking about it let me know, and if not then I understand. ”

This was BEFORE he had accumulated any of the major reasons he later cited to justify the recall. In a September 3 opinion essay in the Moab Sun News, Baird wrote, “ …this petition is premised on a series of potential violations of the bylaws of the Grand County Council, Utah Law, and the ethical expectations of his constituents.”

But the fact is, none of these “bylaw violations” had occurred when Baird first contemplated recall as a way to remove Jackson. At best, Baird decided Jackson should be recalled, then went looking for reasons. It sounds remarkably like the tactics Ken Starr employed to go after President Clinton, i.e., ‘the man is guilty of something…I just need to find out what it is.’

To be candid, my own relationship with Baird  had been so mutually antagonistic for so many years that I was at a loss why he would want my advice or opinion. We have clashed on just about every issue, from his proposed ordinance for a mini-Wal-Mart to his prized Colorado River Elevated Bikeway, and our email/message conversations (we’ve never met) have been heated at times.

At the core of our disagreement is not his assertion that a tourism/recreation economy will play a major role in Grand County’s future; rather it’s his refusal to acknowledge that such economies consume massive amounts of energy, just to exist, and that it’s the demand for and the consumption of natural resources that drives the extraction and production of those resources. Not the other way around. His refusal to even acknowledge the contradiction (NONE of his fellow “progressives” will either), much less to deal with them, has left me ambivalent about the issues that are now causing such a tempest in southeast Utah.

Tourism/recreation are not ‘clean/green’ industries, as its biggest boosters claim. Environmental impacts–short and long term–have even generated troubling reports from the United Nations (concerns posted previously in this publication). But to no avail. For me, ignoring the consumption component of this dilemma, while frothing furiously at the energy industry, is a contradiction that I can’t ignore. Consequently, it’s difficult for me to take my old environmentalist/progressive friends seriously.

I might have just stayed out of this brouhaha completely, had Baird not drawn me into the debate this past February.  Last winter, Grand County Council Chair Lynn Jackson surprised me when he contributed $100 to the Zephyr Backbone, I cartooned him for the next issue and thought nothing more of it. Soon after, I heard from Baird, who accused me of selling out. He asked, “Would you ever honestly criticize Lynn, or any of your other backbone members if their actions merited?”

I advised Baird that I probably could be bought…but not for a hundred bucks. In fact, I recently returned a contribution to The Zephyr of a thousand dollars, because I feared it created a much more worrisome conflict. Subsequent to the announcement of the new Book Cliffs road, and despite Baird’s insinuations, I have written extensively on the subject. Here are the links:





But there’s a reason why Baird is so defensive and hyper-sensitive to the issue of “selling out.” His non-profit, the Canyonlands Watershed Council, is substantially funded by the mega-billionaire David Bonderman–the venture capitalist who recently built the 15,000 square foot palace by the Colorado River sloughs. He is the founding partner of TPG Capital, which manages a remarkable portfolio of companies around the world.  Luminant Energy in Texas, is home to some of the dirtiest coal plants in America and recently sued by the EPA. TPG owns oil and gas exploration companies across America…one caused the biggest brine spill in North Dakota history during a fracking operation in 2012. TPG is invested all over the planet, in these kinds of industries, but Baird has no problem with taking substantial sums from Mr. Bonderman (though he refuses to disclose the amount). He insists there are “no strings attached.”

Apparently, as long as the environmental damage happens somewhere else, Baird isn’t concerned. When it comes to water quality, what happens in North Dakota, stays in North Dakota. Or Texas. Or Indonesia. Just leave Moab alone.

Knowing that Baird has ties to the oil and gas and coal industry, via his benefactor Mr. Bonderman, may, in fact, be reassuring to the more conservative elements in Grand County, who support increased extraction and production of natural resources in southeast Utah. But others could find the inconsistencies troubling.

It’s also important to note that the Utah Recreational Land Exchange Act of 2009, a law actively pursued and promoted by Utah environmentalists, including the Grand Canyon Trust and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, poured fuel on the tar sands extraction debate Grand County is having now. In that act, recreational state lands in the Moab area were traded to the BLM, in exchange for a block of BLM lands in the Book Cliffs with mineral potential. Included were some 31,000 acres rich with tar sands. Yet, the same progressive Moabites who oppose tar sands extraction, have failed to register anything resembling disapproval of the exchange.

For more: http://www.canyoncountryzephyr.com/2013/06/02/the-land-exchange-bill-that-went-oops-by-jim-stiles/

Regardless of our own differences, the fact that he and other members of the ‘progressive’ constituency have tried to compare the current recall effort to the ‘change of government’ referendum 20 years ago indicates how little they understand Grand County’s past. Hopefully, the information I’ve offered here will encourage Grand County’s residents—especially its recent new ‘progressive’ arrivals— to at least cite Grand County’s recent history more accurately, when the need arises.

Toning down the vitriol and the witch hunts wouldn’t be a bad idea either.


Jim Stiles is Founder and Co-Publisher of the Canyon Country Zephyr.

Click Here for more articles about DAVID BONDERMAN


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5 comments for “Take it or Leave it: GETTING THE FACTS RIGHT, part 1… RE: MOAB’S RECENT POLITICAL PAST…by Jim Stiles

  1. Lynn Jackson
    October 1, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Stiles, thanks for the history lesson. One of the miseries of humanity is that we never seem to learn from history. Or even worse as your story suggests, many like to create their own history. Let me provide a couple of recent updates for you and your readers regarding Baird’s “campaign” against me, and the current Book Cliffs road discussion.

    First, Baird’s recall election petition failed. He could not get the 596 signatures required, and according to him (which I take with a large grain of salt) he was only able to get 400-500 by the September 2nd deadline (I’m guessing he really only got half that amount). The deadline of September 2nd is imposed by Utah statute on the requirement for election judges to have their ballots printed 65 days berore an election in order to get them to overseas absentee voters. In Grand County’s form of government he needed signatures from registered voters amounting to 15% of the total elections cast in the last gubernatorial election (there had been about 3900 votes cast). Grand County has approximately 6700 registered voters. So we’ve created a recall provision in Grand County where as few as 8% of its registered voters can constantly keep their elected officials “in line” with the threat of this recall provision. How great’s that! There is no such provision in the other 28 counties in Utah or in State statute, but of course lots of our progressive friends know and will tell us how “special” we are in Grand County, so we got to have special provisions in our special form of government.

    Regarding Baird’s complaint of possible criminal actions on my part I was just informed yesterday that on September 24th, the Utah Attorney General’s office determined there would no action against me based on Baird’s complaint. From the Attorney General’s memo, forwarded to me on September 30th:

    “Two supervising prosecuting attorney’s agreed independently and collaboratively, the allegations against Mr. Jackson lack a reasonable likelihood of conviction. Based on aforementioned, the Justice Division within the Utah Attorney General’s office is declining any further action at this time”.

    Based on the wording, it appears there was no evidence to support Baird’s claim, as he had promised to deliver. I knew from the outset that what Baird alleged in his complaint was untrue, but you never know what’s going to happen in politics. Baird actually called me on September 5, after he had filed his complaint, asking me point blank for an honest answer if I had done any of these alleged dirty deeds. When I told him in fact the actions his allegations had suggested had never occurred, he indicated he had apparently been misled by someone, told me their name, and hung up. I’m not expecting a public apology of course, because that would be like admitting he made a mistake, wouldn’t be in character.

    A broader point I would make in regard to Baird’s recent campaign against me is that even in good old Grand County we have those who resort to the dirty political tactics we often see on our national political stage. I think that’s unfortunate. One would think at a local level we’d be able to work respectfully together since we all live in the same community. In this case mudslinging politics didn’t work for Mr. Baird, and from what I hear from many people in Grand County, even those who have told me they don’t agree politically with me, is that as Grand County citizens they were troubled and embarrassed by Baird’s and Grand County “progressives” attacks on me.

    Your article continues to strike the old proverbial nail on the head regarding the disconnect progressives in Grand County, and elsewhere, have between consumption and production. Two nights ago, after a political candidate’s forum was over I mentioned in a conversation that I agreed with your observed contradiction in this regard. A couple of your old progressive friends started flinching, quivering and hissing. I’ve actually become quite entertained by dropping your name around these types of folks just to see this reaction! Even though we disagree on the value or need for a road through the Book Cliffs, we’re both public enemy #1 for determinedly bringing this incongruity to their attention. To paraphrase a quote from Bill Murray in Caddy Shack, “at least we got that going for us.”

    Baird and his group of progressive activists aren’t going anywhere. The Boomer retirement in the last 5 to 10 years has brought scads of them to Grand County to help save us from ourselves. I do suspect however he’s so damaged his reputation that he may be unelectable. Even with our special form of government in Grand County, hardcore conservationists and mean people have had a hard time getting elected. But with Baird at the helm of the righteous crusade, generously endowed with full time financial support from Bonderman and the Grand Canyon Trust, and as the Executive Directorship of the one person Canyonlands Watershed Council, the progressives can still raise hell from the outside. And I doubt he’s not done with me personally….

    In closing, one more observation and a piece of information regarding the Bookcliffs road. Stiles I keep telling you a road connection through the Book Cliffs has been considered many times in the past, not just 20 years ago. I suspect it’s been considered ever since Moab and towns in the Uinta Basin were settled in the late 1800’s. The Moab Times Independent has a feature every week where one full page is a copy of an old edition front page. In the TI’s recent August 6th edition, the old cover page feature was from the January 24, 1935 edition. Among the front page stories was a report on consideration of a Moab to Vernal connecting route through the Book Cliffs from Thompson (quite likely the Sego Canyon route since Thompson is at the mouth of that canyon). It was being pushed by the Moab Lion’s Club among others! Reading it is like déjà vu all over again, tourism and economic prosperity. So I’m not sure the concept will ever go away. Irrespective of what may happen in the next few years regarding this road, many people still feel a need to be connected, and many will still feel the need to fight it. So you got that going for you!

    And lastly, one other thing you may be interested in. On September 16th, our County Council formally voted to drop any future consideration of a road through Sego Canyon. A report from the initial feasibility study indicated unreasonably high construction costs and significant environmental impacts from the road going from Thompson, through Sego Canyon, and across the large state owned block you reference in the article. We decided why waste further time looking at that route. We’re still going to conduct a detailed economic analysis of the Hay/East Canyon alternative, and see what that tells us before we have any meaningful and informed discussion among the Council and the citizens in Grand County of whether or not to proceed with the idea. Those alternatives are half the cost, with much less environmental disruption. Additionally both routes already exists as County Class B roads, and they don’t bifurcate two BLM Wilderness Study Areas as Sego Canyon does, or require new construction. The Hay and East Canyon roads were built in the 1950’s and 60’s to access 350-400 oil and gas wells currently producing in that area.

    So stayed tuned Stiles, politics in Grand County is one continuous Three Ring Circus, and don’t we all love a good circus!

  2. Carrie Bailey
    October 2, 2014 at 9:58 am

    “Two supervising prosecuting attorney’s agreed independently and collaboratively, the allegations against Mr. Jackson lack a reasonable likelihood of conviction. Based on aforementioned, the Justice Division within the Utah Attorney General’s office is declining any further action at this time”.

    This is hardly a validation of Mr. Jackson’s behavior. Let’s be clear, Chris sent his complaint to the Grand County Council and cc’d the County Attorney and it was the County Attorney who saw the merit in the complaint and sent it to the Attorney General.

  3. Kelly Mike Green
    October 3, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Attorneys will always cover their backside as ours has done in this heated matter. I attended the meeting regarding the 7 county coalition and heard words like, might be sued, or there could be a potential law suit. That is typical lawyer speak. There is evidence or there is not. The Attorney Generals office has determined there is a lack of evidence. The progressives have no trouble using legal terrorism to obstruct as they have always done. Whether we join the coalition or not the lawyers will be circling like buzzards as there is money to be made no matter who wins in this travesty. One mean spirited call that’s all!

  4. Amy Tendick
    October 7, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    While I agree with you most of the time, Mr. Stiles, and while I did appreciate the history lesson you presented here, I take issue with two points you made in this article. #1 is this quote, and the bandwagon you seem to be on, “it’s the demand for and the consumption of natural resources that drives the extraction and production of those resources.” Really? So we’re all just hypocrites and should throw in the towel and “drill baby drill?” No, demand is only part of the problem; the larger problem that you don’t seem to acknowledge is the systemic problem. This article, http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/09/23/3570840/climate-march-trash-news/, sums this problem up nicely right here: “A 2008 study by an MIT professor and his class found that, in America, even the homeless and itinerant Buddhist monks have a per capita energy usage that’s twice the global average, and a comparative carbon footprint to match. (For the well-off in the U.S., it gets up around 10 times as big.) That’s because even homeless people and monks rely on the fabric of our society — the military, the police, public transit, electrical utilities, public buildings, roads, water, sewage — for their daily needs. And right now, that fabric is shot through with fossil fuels, energy inefficiency, waste, and unsustainable resource use. By contrast, even the well-off in Europe lead far more sustainable lives. That’s not because they’re any more virtuous, but because the social and economic fabric in which they are embedded is more sustainable.”
    Of course, our tourist economy here is resource intensive and not at all virtuous; but what economy is in this country? What is the alternative you propose for Moab? The balanced approach Mr. Jackson calls for is more drilling, more resource extraction, when we need to be calling for more alternative sources of energy development here in Moab and around the country and world. Tar sands are a disastrous idea and should not even be on the table. This is why it is so important for people to vote and vote for candidates who are looking at how we can transition to a future that looks quite a bit different than the status quo. Because while the status quo is comfortable (heck lovely) for many of us, it is not sustainable! We need a strong, functioning government supported by a nation of people who understand that our government is there to serve our best interests, even if that means sometimes telling us what we can and can’t do. For a start, we need to support putting solar panels on every roof, developing more efficient vehicles, making tighter pollution standards, creating carbon taxes, and ending all dirty energy subsidies and putting that money towards renewable energy subsidies. We need to pay for the things we do that have negative impacts and be rewarded for those with positive impacts (i.e. subsidies for solar panels, paying for garbage based on the quantity we throw away). If we count on people doing this on their own, without rewards or consequences, we will never get there (yes you can see I have a lot of faith in my fellow man).
    #2 issue I take with you in this article is your broad generalizations about the “liberals/progressives” of Moab. I am a liberal thinker with quite a few progressive viewpoints who lives in Moab and I am able to see and acknowledge the contradictions of being pro-tourist industry and anti-drilling. I actually think the greater contradiction is between being pro-growth of the tourist economy and anti-drilling, which I see as something different. The environmental movement is full of contradictions. However, unless we all go live in a cave, we are all guilty of these kinds of contradictions in our daily lives. Again this is more of a systemic problem that can best be tackled by bigger picture solutions than just by encouraging individuals to recycle, reduce their waste, and drive less. If we really want to cut down on driving and promote walking or biking to work, there needs to be a restructuring of the work day (i.e. partial commuting-time pay or shorter hours worked in the office). When it’s left to the individual to choose something because they know it’s “better,” the cost-benefit analysis in one’s own head almost always comes up with greater costs than benefits and these can be offset with paid commuting time or something of that sort.
    I will end with this: I did not sign the petition to recall Lynn Jackson. Mainly because I didn’t see or hear of an offense he committed great enough to merit a recall. I know he has pissed off a lot of people with his actions since being on the council, but I didn’t think that was enough to kick him off. Our problem in this town (and country) is too many people far too willing to divide into camps, especially these “old-timers” vs. “newcomers” camps. If “old-timers” really know better since they have been here longer, then we should be giving greater voice and credence to the real old-timers (the Navajos and Utes). I respect an opinion based on the thought put into it not based on that person’s genealogy. I know many others like me in this town (liberals/progressives included) who don’t feel comfortable aligning with one camp or another and will not blindly follow whatever any camp espouses. There are many of us who can see the merits and/or contradictions/inconsistencies coming from both sides of the spectrum and who think for ourselves not for an ideology that fits with those we consider most like us.

  5. Jean West
    March 15, 2015 at 8:38 am

    Mr. Stiles, thank you for information on this subject I had forgotten. In Moab as in any small town where cultures collide we have disputes. My father Leo Burr was at one time a commissioner too. His project was the loop road, My father was born in Moab as well as his mother Eliza Burr. Both were active in Moab political issues. Both loved Moab a great deal. When I was a child our visits to Moab to visit grandparents was the highlight of my life. I loved the smell of the air, loved the hot sand under my feet, loved my family that lived here back then .( My father brought us back to live here in 1961) My uncle Bob Burr was a sheriff for a time, he had a business here, as did dad. The boom came and our family had a decent life, others had to move when the bust came they could not make a living then. I left for a time maybe three years then came back married and had three children here, they graduated from high school here as I did and my husband John West. Now beyond that, Moab, living here is awesome, I love this place, it is in my blood so the saying goes, good people live here, we all want what is best for “us” but I see the future from a different aspect,” religion”, the creation of man to inhabit the earth, to care for the earth to use the earth and to protect this planet, But… man ….. not the ground we walk on was the reason GOD created the world, IF we treat (each other) with the same respect that those (that protect the environment ) treat the land and the creatures what would society look like? Exist in mutual respect for people as we respect all life, Look for the beauty in people as we look t the beauty of the earth, Provide habitat for man, as well as the animal population. But put man in his proper place a stewards of the earth, we are here to populate, to reproduce, to continue the human in body and spirit That spiritual side of man is more often as not considered much any more, instead we have karma and other such terms to explain the heart of mankind, that good in man that desires to live and to have families, to be good, kind, honest, contributing members of society. Things do not matter as much as people matter, people , different cultures, languages, skin tones, all matter, the earth matters too, water air ,food , jobs, fun, All matter. We have forgotten or in some cases wish to eliminate the reason for all of the good that life gives us here in Moab and America. IN GOG WE TRUST, GOD BLESS AMERICA, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, GOD OF OUR FATHERS WHO’S ALMIGHTY HAND. if We sustain the environment w and we lose God in the equation we loose everything, The existence of man and the environment depend on mankind depending on God for direction. The world is ours, to be enjoyed, explored visited, cultivated and respected revered and not visa versa, we can do all of it when we respect people above political aspirations, and mindless fairy tales that man can be the savior of man.

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