C’mon people — everyone knows we have a tourist/housing/infrastructure problem. Thankfully, the solution is obvious.
Let’s start with reality. The Moab Area Travel Council believes itself obligated to continue to pour the majority of its money into promotion of yet more and more tourism, even though we all know, and I suspect the travel council knows, that is the worst way to use those resources.
Who wants even more tourism? Business owners, hotels, motels, restaurants, etc.
Who doesn’t? The now increasingly less-than-silent majority of people who are just trying to live here sustainably, who love this place, and who don’t want to see it irrevocably trashed.
Think about it. While we cater to the tourists and their dollars, what does Jane Q. Public get? Ridiculous traffic, lines at the grocery store, restaurants and everywhere else, noise, congestion, increased prices of everything, unaffordable housing assuming you can find any, crappy jobs at minimum wage and you need two or three of them just to get by, B&Bs and overnight rentals everywhere, and a steady transformation of formerly quiet and peaceful neighborhoods into a Mad Max Movie nightmare.
The people who decided that allowing those idiotic Razors and similar vehicles (I call them “skeeters”) to buzz around wherever and whenever they want deserve a special place in purgatory.
Enough carping. This is about a solution, and as I said at the outset, it should be easy. The travel council, many of its members whom I know and like, just need to grab the bull by the horns. Rather than being pilloried and abused by the public, they should be encouraged, as a group, to go to the state and proclaim that the current Transient Room Tax (TRT) system, at least for Grand County, is broken. They should advocate for a change in the law, or, failing that, an exception or exemption for Grand County.
Think of all the good, positive, productive and beneficial uses that money could be put to if it were not shackled to needless and destructive promotion of tourism. Put the TRT funds, the majority of it, back into positive and productive uses in and for the community. Local control! Step up travel council. If the state will not agree, thumb your noses at them, and do it anyway. What are they going to do? Sue us? For what? It’s our money. You could be heroes.
And here’s the kicker for all you business and tourism people who are rolling their eyes and saying this is just so much progressive/socialist crap. You are killing the Golden Goose. You might get yours in the short run, and maybe that’s all you care about, but sooner or later, and I think sooner, potential visitors are going to look at Moab and say, nah … too crowded, too expensive, too commercial, too trashed, too just like every other tourist trap we’ve been to and hated. Let’s try Monticello, or Fruita, or Boulder/Escalante or anywhere else that still is a legitimate town with an identity and soul of its own.
It’s counter-intuitive, I know, to turn down the heat — though we could all use that, literally and figuratively. But what the heck — put a moratorium on everything, including a major muzzle on northern San Juan County, the development of which alone could double our population.
We have a serious problem folks, while the hotels continue to be built, while the “solution” for the rabble is higher density (where? The NIMBY crowd will riot), and the prevailing motto is more, more, more of everything. What could go wrong?
Does anyone think about water? I’ve lived at my place on Bartlett Circle for over 20 years. I take my dog out in the “back forty” which abuts Mill Creek every morning. For the first time in memory, it is bone dry.
I wish there were some Anasazi around. They might have some wisdom about how to live in a harsh, arid environment that we could use. On the other hand, think about what happened to them the last time it got overcrowded around here.
Steve Russell is a practicing attorney, notorious grump, and enjoys trying to speak truth to power. Get to know him, if you like, by joining the Moab Pickle-Ball group.
“This is about a solution, and as I said at the outset, it should be easy. The travel council, many of its members whom I know and like, just need to grab the bull by the horns.”