The article “State board rejects jail funding request” in the Aug. 13-19, 2015 Moab Sun News was interesting in a number of respects. It’s no surprise that state-level twits have their tighty-whiteys in a knot at we heathens who had the temerity to opt out of the seven county frack-and-drill coalition. But the “disgust” that Grand County stands against hydrocarbon development . . . really? Seems to me there has been a huge increase in hydrocarbon development around here lately. So what does it mean to “play ball” anyway? Does anyone who lives here, even the most rabid oil and gas fan, want Grand County to become another spider webbed, ugly, toxin spewing, unhealthy, dead-end place like Uintah County?
The CIB apparently thinks its funds should be used solely for dumb and destructive energy development. Tar sands anyone? That’s like our own transient room taxes being devoted to further increasing tourism, which most of us neither need nor want. Why not use the money to help communities offset the adverse impacts of these industries?
Never mind that improvements to the jail would be a useful and necessary project. If you don’t kowtow to the state bullies, tough luck. That’s Utah for you, determined to march boldly backwards. It’s a touch ironic that the state will soon be spending a zillion dollars of our money to move the state prison into a swamp, so legislators and their pals can cash in on some prime real estate in their zeal to further overpopulate and pollute the Wasatch Front. But help Grand County improve its jail? Not gonna happen.
I loved CIB member Potter’s rhetoric: “Why are you so opposed to mineral extraction in the county – and yet here you are with an open hand saying help us now at this moment in time?” Newsflash, Commissioner Potter. That could very well be Utah’s state motto with regard to the evil federal gummint: “Get the heck out of our state, we’re perfectly capable of ruining ourselves – just keep sending the money.”
And then there’s our own Grand County Council member Lynn Jackson, pointing out that Grand County is evenly divided between “normal” people and “interesting characters.” Normal people tend to be compliant and well-acquainted with their navels. Interesting characters run around causing trouble. So there you have it, kids, always strive to be white-bread normal, because interesting characters make the powers-that-be extremely nervous.
Utah is a unique place, but it sure can be maddening to the point of demoralizing at times. So here’s an idea for you interesting characters out there to chew on: How about we trade Lynn Jackson to Box Elder County for jail funding and an interesting character to be named later (which, you see, will tip the scales!), and then start a petition drive to secede to Colorado?
Steve Russell is a local attorney, KZMU DJ and long-time resident of Moab. As an attorney, Steve lacks impulse control over rendering opinions on issues of local interest. These are offered for the edification and/ or amusement of the community.