Successful Petition Drive Puts Monument Proposal on Nov. 5 Ballot
The Southeastern Utah OHV Club and the Castle Country Rural Alliance have been gathering signatures to have an initiative put on the Nov. 5 ballot.
In a letter sent to the petitioners, Emery County Commission and the Emery County Attorney; Clerk Bruce Funk states:
"I, Bruce Funk, Clerk/Auditor of Emery County hereby certify that sufficient signatures, in accordance with section 20A-5-501(1)(a)(iii), have been obtained on the following initiative petition for submitting the resolution to the vote of the people at the Nov. 5, 2002 general election. This initiative petition reads: The Emery County Commission shall by resolution endorse the establishment of 620,000 acres of public land in Emery County as the "San Rafael Western Heritage Monument."
Clerk Funk said, "They needed approximately 669 signatures to have it put on the ballot. This total is based on 15 percent of those who voted in the last governor's race. When we had verified 700 of the signatures we quit counting.
"This begins the process and locks the issue in. It now has to go to the people. There was a good sampling of the people in the county represented on the petition.
"This is how democracy works. This is the first time that I recall anything like this happening in the county and I find it exciting," said Funk.
Mark H. Williams, board member of the OHV club said, "We had no trouble getting enough people to support putting it on the ballot in November.
"It became evident early in our petition drive that not only were some Emery County residents unhappy with the way the monument was introduced, but also they did not have a basic understanding of the problems the designation of this monument would create Putting this on the ballot is the most accurate way to determine how the people of Emery County really feel about this proposal.
Commissioner Randy Johnson said, "We had planned to do an extensive poll of the citizens of Emery County. We were going to do this after an extensive public information process. I am not against having this on the ballot, but I think it would have been more appropriate to work through the process. They are forcing the button with this. I don't think it will be a problem though, I think most people will be in favor of the monument proposal. We are partnering with the Bureau of Land Management and will begin a good public process. The information meetings that we have been working on will begin next month."